Protect Your Health with Immune-Boosting Nutrition

Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, which offers protection from seasonal illness such as the flu and other health problems including arthritis, allergies, abnormal cell development and cancers. Help protect yourself against infection and boost your immunity by including these nutrients in your eating plan.

Protein is part of the body’s defense mechanism. Eat a variety of protein foods, including lentil, seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.


Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protects from infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get this immune-boosting vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, papayas, mangos, cantaloupe, spinach, red bell peppers, eggs or foods labeled “Vitamin A fortified,” such as milk or cereal.


Vitamin C protects you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity. Include more of this healthy vitamin in your diet with citrus fruits such as oranges and tangerines, guavaor red and green bell pepper, papaya, tomato or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some cereals.


Vitamin E works as an antioxidant which neutralizes free radicals and improves immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with peanuts, avocado, green leafy vegetables, (such as spinach and broccoli) shrimp and peanut butter.


Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help heal wounds. Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.


Other nutrientsincluding vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as probiotics and prebiotics, also may influence the immune response.


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