An immunity-boosting diet can be both a proactive and reactive approach to health and wellness. Many foods support your body in reversing oxidation and flushing out toxins. Even with a clean diet, there is no way to avoid oxidants, which is why we all need antioxidants. Here are the foods to prioritize, but keep in mind that what you eat is not the only way to keep your immunity high.
We all have favorite fruits and vegetables, but the best strategy is to “eat the rainbow”. Eating produce of a variety of colors delivers the widest range of antioxidant-rich vitamins. The top vitamins for immunity are vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin D, vitamin E, and zinc. Try to buy your produce organic to avoid herbicides and pesticides.
You can also take supplements to boost your immunity. Some of the most antioxidant-rich produce includes:
• Sweet potatoes
Nuts and seeds are protein-rich and high in antioxidants. Sprinkle them on your vegetables or salad or eat a serving as part of your menu plan. Walnuts have about twice the number of antioxidants as all other nuts. Pecans are also an excellent choice, but any nut or seed you add to your diet will increase your nutrient intake. Feel free to add a bit of dark chocolate to your snack as it is also high in antioxidants!
Staying hydrated is essential for naturally flushing toxins out of your body, so aim for half your body weight in ounces. To kick the flavor profile and antioxidants up a notch, some of your water intake can be unsweetened herbal tea. White, green, jasmine, hibiscus, and matcha are some of the top antioxidant teas, but find a tea that you enjoy, and you will be more likely to drink more.
Knowing what not to eat is as important as knowing what to eat. All whole foods contain more vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants than processed foods—so keep your diet as clean as possible. In particular, you want to minimize:
• Food and beverages with processed sugars
• Refined carbohydrates
• Processed foods
• Alcoholic beverages
In addition to what you eat, you must be mindful of other factors that can decrease your immunity. The top 3 factors that can have the most positive, or negative, impact include:
Sleep—sleep is when your body heals and repairs so aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night.
Exercise—exercise flushes toxins from your body, minimizes internal inflammation, and keeps your body balanced from the inside out.
Stress—stress decreases your natural immunity, can increase internal inflammation, and disrupt the quality of your sleep.
There are other factors that contribute to your immunity, but making the changes above is a proactive approach to your health!