Few things are worse than being cooped up in bed with a cold or sleeping on the bathroom floor during a particularly rough case of tummy troubles. Being under the weather is just the pits. And while there isn’t a foolproof way to avoid being sick ever again — please let us know if you’ve found one! — there are things you can do to shift the odds in your favor.
One easy and delicious way to avoid future yuckiness is to support your immune system with food. Chow down on some of these immune boosters to help you and your family stay healthy.
You knew this was coming, didn’t you, smarty pants? Vitamin C is a well-known immune booster because it supports cellular functions and helps repair and replenish tissue. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means it protects our cells from damage.
Foods rich in vitamin C:
- Red and green peppers
- Brussels sprouts
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E helps fend off infection and plays a role in regulating the immune system. This nutrient can also help control inflammation in the body.
Foods rich in vitamin E:
- Soybean oil
- Peanuts and peanut butter
Most people know vitamin D is a key factor for strong bones, but it also supports the immune system. Vitamin D helps balance our immune cells and regulate our immune responses.
Foods and drinks rich in vitamin D:
The importance of iron for immune systems has been recognized for a while, but the specific relationship between the two is still a little murky. While we can’t explain the correlation, we can tell you healthy iron levels promote innate immunity — your body’s initial response to an intruder — and adaptive immunity — your body’s ability to fight off a virus once it gets past the first line of defense.
Foods rich in iron:
We don’t know about you, but we think eating our way to a healthier immune system sounds more like a reward than a chore! Enjoy digging in and giving your body a boost at the same time. And, as always, remember the most important part of any diet is variety — fruits, veggies, whole grains, meats and more all work together to keep you up and at ‘em.