Plants have power! They have power for a lot of keys to life. For one, they provide the oxygen we all need. Also, they provide the nutrients for our bodies. We know that you’ve been told to eat your fruits and veggies; well now, we’ll continue that trend!
A healthy diet is one that is balanced and has a minimal amount of processed foods. Easier said than done, right? Other than affecting our weight, an unhealthy diet impacts our immune system. It’s important that we have external hygiene such as keeping our hands clean with an alcohol hand wipe, but as we have said before, it’s also about what we put in our bodies.
We’ve discussed selenium, zinc, and most recently vitamin C. The thing that remains consistent is a healthy diet. Fruits and veggies are the key to that healthy diet! In fact, fruits and veggies are key to getting our daily supply of vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which are related to immune function.
Fruit and immunity
We all know that citrus provides a lot of vitamin C, but as we discussed in our post about where to get vitamin C, there are a lot of fruits that provide a great boost, such as bell peppers (yes, these are in fact fruits!).
Fruits help provide antioxidants to the body, which are directly involved in protecting cells and helping fight off toxins. Vitamin A helps with inflammation and protects the immune system. It helps specifically in keeping viruses out by building up mucus barriers in vital places.
Your goal should be to get about 4 servings of fruit each day, but plenty of studies show that most of us are not hitting this goal. It depends on the fruit and how you’re eating it, but around 2-3 cups of fruit should help you reach this goal. A medium sized fruit will usually equal one serving.
Veggies and immunity
Eat your veggies or you can’t have any desert! I’m sure many of us have heard this in our childhoods. There's a good reason for this. Veggies boost our immune system along with providing vital nutrients.
Similar to many fruits, you can get a healthy dose of vitamin A and C from eating your vegetables. Veggies also provide phytochemicals, which are literally “plant chemicals.” This is what gives a vegetable its color. Dark leafy greens provide much of the needed elements of a healthy immune system boost.
Only about 10% of people are getting their daily dose of vegetables! We need about three cups of veggies a day, but most of us are not getting that. Really we should be aiming for five cups of veggies a day if we really want to improve our immunity.
Nuts/seeds and immunity
Other plant sources that really help boost our immunity are nuts and seeds. They provide a potent amount of Vitamin E. Many people do not get the needed 15 milligrams of vitamin E a day. Only about a quarter cup of most nuts or seeds will provide a nice boost in vitamin E, which has shown to push off some cancers and even althezimers. Pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts have a great amount of B6 as well.
Beans and immunity
Beans and whole grains are an absolute necessity for any healthy diet. They provide the body with much needed intestinal bacteria. But they also give us a good boost of B vitamins and the all important zinc, which helps our immune system immensely.
Healthy oils and immunity
Typically when we hear oil, we think of it negatively, but olive, flaxseed, and canola oils all give a nice boost to our immunity. They provide omega-3s, which help with inflammation and our ability to absorb antioxidant carotenoids.