The food we eat plays a huge role in our health, not only to fuel our bodies, but also to help prevent and manage certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
“We must do our part, nutritionally, to help our immune system thrive, especially during flu season,” said Zoë Schroeder, a registered dietitian at Tucson Medical Center. “A healthy immune system helps fight sickness, reduce inflammation and recover efficiently.”
Don’t wait until you’re feeling sick to start eating vitamin c-filled foods though.
“It is important to eat a variety of foods year-round to see the immune-building and anti-inflammatory benefits, rather than loading up on one or two specific foods when you start feeling under the weather,” Schroeder said.
Ascorbic acid, aka vitamin C, is an antioxidant, which means it helps to defend against harmful reactive byproducts in cells. It supports the immune system by stimulating enzymes and collagen synthesis at sites of tissue damage.
Foods to eat include citrus, broccoli, bell peppers and sweet potatoes.
Foods high in probiotics increase the good bacteria in the gut and promote a stronger immune system.
Examples include naturally fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, unpasteurized sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi and miso.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation and give your immune system a boost.
Some examples include seafood, flax seeds and walnuts. Avoid foods that increase inflammation, such as added sugar and saturated fat.
Zoë Schroeder has been a registered dietitian since 2018, but her love for health and nutrition have always been a huge priority in her personal life. “It brings me so much joy and gratification to share my passion and get others excited about healthy living,” she said.
When she’s not working, Zoë enjoys doing anything active. Running, hiking, hot yoga, weightlifting and swimming are her current favorites. She also loves to cook and experiment with recipe development, however baking is not her forte since she doesn’t like to follow recipes.