Friday, January 25, 2013

Foods to help support a healthy Immune System

Filling your diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and lean proteins will ensure that you are getting essential vitamins and nutrients that help your immune system work effectively. Our diet provides essential nutrients our immune cells need to fight off bacteria and viruses. Eat a colorful diet rich in fresh fruit, fiber, and plant based products. Teach your children to eat a rainbow of foods each day.  Vitamins, anti-oxidants and bacteria are natural ways to maintain this balance.  Vitamins are organic compounds our bodies need in limited amounts.  We get some vitamins only through our diet and bacteria manufacture others in our systems.  Critical vitamins involved in the immune reaction are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D,  Vitamin E and Zinc. 

Shoot for a goal of at least 500 mg of Vitamin every day to help prevent infections with cold and flu viruses.  Rose hip (the fruit of the rose plant) tea, orange juice and fresh fruits like mango are excellent sources of Vitamin C.

Orange colored vegetables like pumpkin, acorn and butternut squash, and carrots are rich sources of Vitamin A another key player in the immune system.  Milk and eggs are other great sources.

Don’t forget to get some sun to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D.  Not able to make it out?  Dairy products are fortified with vitamin D.  Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale also pack a punch of vitamin D and calcium.

Order up a salad filled with spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, chickpeas, and mushrooms to get your daily zinc, another key player in the immune system.  Oysters are fantastic sources of Zinc and just 5 oysters provides your daily dose.  

Vitamin E is a natural anti-oxidant, compounds that protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, found in nuts, seeds and vegetables oils.  Toss one ounce of sunflowers onto your spinach salad and your halfway towards your goal of 15 mg a day of Vitamin E.   


  1. Drink all the milk you want but I always laugh when it's sunny out and say I am activating my vitamin D. Some friends don't know what I am talking about.

  2. Thanks for you comment! Hope you enjoy the blog. Dr. Collins