What to eat to boost your immune system


Allen J. Schaben

Tangerines and citrus fruits are an amazing source of Vitamin C.

Michelle Armas, News Editor

The coronavirus is indeed spreading. There’s no doubt about that. And what the media is mostly talking about is how to improve your hygiene and isolate yourself in order to slow the virus. While those precautions are necessary, it is also imperative to know that the virus is airborne and highly contagious so it is very important to prepare your body to fight off the virus if you do happen to get it. 

The immune system is going to help this by defending or removing any pathogens that enter your body. Fortunately, nutrient-dense foods can enhance the immune system in order to be more equipped to fight off any foreign viruses. 

Getting your daily dose of vitamin C is often what you hear about when you get sick. And while it is a must to get essential vitamins and minerals, what many do not know is that our gut health is actually the first place we should be going. In fact, a registered dietician and Author of “Naturally Nourished: Food-as-Medicine for Optimal Health,” Ali Miller says that about, “80% of your immune system resides in the gut,”  and later goes on to say in one of her videos that, “3-5 pounds of each person is comprised of bacteria. This can work for us in a symbiotic state or it can work against us in a dysbiotic state. When we are under high stress we tend to be sterilized in our microbiome.”

Stress can create a chaotic environment in our immune system and gut. In order to create an environment in the gut where vitamins and minerals can properly be absorbed, it is vital that we have probiotics. Probiotics are a substance which helps the growth of non harmful microorganisms. In other words they are healthy bacteria to keep the gut healthy and ready for battle. 

Probiotic-rich foods are foods that are cultured or fermented. Yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut all fall into this category. It is also recommended by Ali Miller to take probiotic supplements to have extra immune support. 

Besides probiotics, it is vital to eat fruits and vegetables in order to maintain a healthy body function overall. Fruits and veggies have vital minerals and vitamins to support immunity. As Cathy Wong suggests on the health website, “Verywell Health,” in an article entitled “5 Ways to Supercharge Your Immune System,” some good foods to have in your daily diet include: citrus, broccoli, red and green bell peppers, strawberries, kale, carrots, or any foods high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. It is also stated by WebMD that elderberry is a good superfood to help your immune system. Elderberry is packed with essential antioxidants to create harmony and help the overall function of your body. Elderberry helps decrease stress and inflammation as well. 

All in all, eating all different varieties of fruits and vegetables is the best way to get every vitamin and mineral your body needs in order to defend any virus or infection. Supplements are good, but your body absorbs the most nutrients with real, whole foods. It is best to get sleep, stay hydrated, and stay away from refined sugars. 

But most importantly, don’t stress! Stress will weaken your immune system. So if you are bombarding your mind with news articles and considering not going outside for the next few months; take a deep breath, maybe a bubble bath, and relax.