In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we as professional nutritionists are fielding many questions centered around what foods and nutrients best support our immunity. As we’ve discussed, there is no cure-all fad or substitute for a well-rounded, wholesome diet or other recommended public health guidelines. That being said, there are a number of specific foods and nutrients that can target and support your immune system to help you fight off infection:
Vitamins A & D
- A great way to get added A & D is with cod liver oil, typically around 1-2 tablespoons per day. You will receive an immunity boost not only from vitamins A & D, but also the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Food sources rich in vitamin A include orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, pumpkins, mangoes, and cantaloupes, but also broccoli and spinach.
- Food sources rich in vitamin D include fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, or salmon, as well as cheese and egg yolks. But, the quickest and easiest way to flood your body with Vitamin D is to spend 15 minutes in sunlight, preferably before 11am or after 4pm to avoid sunburn. This is all thanks to a skin enzyme that converts sunlight into vitamin D!
- Lozenges with 10mg zinc. You can take 3-4 lozenges per day, in addition to a multivitamin, to help prevent viral replication in the mouth and throat.
- Food sources rich in zinc include beans; green vegetables, such as asparagus and spinach; shitake, crimini, and certain white mushrooms; nuts, such as the nuts found in ZIng bars; and animal proteins like beef, lamb, poultry, shrimp, scallops, and oysters. Just one oyster provides 100% of your daily zinc needs!
Other Immunity Boosts
- Medicinal Mushrooms, such as Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, Maitake, and Lion’s Mane have been shown to bolster immune activity.
- A quality multivitamin can cover your bases on the nutrients key to a strong immune system, such as Vitamins A and D, B Vitamins, zinc, and selenium.
- A healthy diet! Fruits and vegetables, most especially beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains, are all high in vitamins and minerals, which can enhance your immunity. Additionally, eggs, fish, and lean meats are great sources of these same essential nutrients.
Of course, diet and nutrition are only part of a healthy lifestyle. But, adding more of these nutrients to your everyday life can help fortify your immune system as you face uncertain times and rising health risks.
Be well. Take great care of yourself and your loved ones.
David Ingalls, MS, RD
CEO and Co-Founder of Zing Bars