Nutrition to Support Immune Health

It Starts With Nutrition

While we cannot guarantee that following a healthy lifestyle will make you completely immune to every illness, the more steps you personally take to prime your own immune system may help with severity of symptoms if you do become sick.
Even more importantly, the steps you start taking now will potentially improve the quality of your life for the long-term. You are worth it!
You may be hearing “eat a healthy diet” from several sources now, that is certainly our advice, too…but what does that mean? There is no one perfect template for everyone. Our dietary approaches vary due to religious beliefs, ethnicity, socio-economics and your own personal preferences. We get it…what we personally choose to consume may not be your cup of tea (pun intended!), but here are some guidelines that all nutrition experts can agree on:

  • Eliminate or greatly reduce your consumption of sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates that convert to sugar. Forget about the empty calories, we know that sugar suppresses the immune system. If you’re trying to prevent illness, avoid sugar. If you are already sick, avoid sugar. If you want the chance of having a healthier life for the long-term and avoid many of the chronic health issues that plague our country, avoid sugar. Now, reread those last three sentences and replace “sugar” with “alcohol” and “processed/junk food.”
  • Eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruit. Vegetables and fruit contain a variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants that support a healthy immune system and body. We realize the landscape of grocery shopping is a bit messy right now, but even if fresh produce becomes less available, frozen is a great option. If purchasing canned goods, look for BPA-free. Powdered greens with water once daily can help if leafy greens aren’t as available. Real food is always preferable, but there are a variety of greens and superfood supplements/powders that may help for now.
  • Enjoy healthy fats for happy hormones and metabolic balance. Especially during times of stress, our metabolic system (hormones + blood sugar) may become imbalanced more than usual. Healthy fats are necessary for proper hormone conversion, and luckily many are shelf-stable. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Ghee, Avocado Oil are all great choices. Stay away from processed vegetable oils (Canola, Corn, Soy) and margarine as much as possible. Nuts and seeds make great snacks.
  • Quality protein. If you consume animal protein, pastured and/or organic is best. For the short-term that might not be as accessible (who knows?), but sufficient protein intake with complete amino acids is necessary for cellular repair. If quality protein is scarce or needs to be rationed for the short-term, consider supplementing with an Essential Amino Acid supplement to support good health. Protein powders make a great breakfast smoothie.
  • Beans/Legumes/Gluten-Free Grains. Dried beans/lentils are best, as you can soak and prepare properly to make them easier to digest and less destructive on your digestive tract. Rice is a good gluten-free grain, if needed. We realize not everyone eats gluten-free, but we will always recommend it, especially if you’re dealing with any autoimmune issue. Eliminating gluten is recommended in almost every type of elimination diet to reduce inflammation and/or heal the gut. It is NOT an essential nutrient, so no harm whatsoever in avoiding it.
  • Water. Everyone should be drinking approximately half of their weight in ounces of water each day (a 150 lb person should consume 75 oz of water). If you have a medical condition (like kidney disease) and your doctor has advised a specific amount, obviously follow those directions. If you’re sick, you need more water, especially if you have a fever. If you have typical cold symptoms, sufficient hydration will also help thin your mucous secretions. Any beverages w/caffeine do NOT count as water, as caffeine is dehydrating. Non-caffeinated tea or coffee DOES count towards your water intake. Alcohol is also dehydrating and doesn’t count towards hydration. For every ounce of caffeinated beverage or alcohol you consume, you need that much water, in addition to the already recommended amount, to make up for it.
  • Odds & Ends. Be generous with your use of garlic…since we are all practicing “social distancing” don’t worry about your breath or body odor. 😉 Garlic has anti-viral properties, and we all need a little more of that right now. Using a small amount of honey each day is also a good idea. Try mixing 1 tsp of raw honey with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and take 1-2 tsp a day when you’re feeling yucky. Finally, if you’ve never tried medicinal mushroom coffee…consider it. Mushrooms, especially Reishi, have immune boosting properties.

Need Support?

If you are ready to commit to healthier eating habits – for now AND the long-term – we can help with that! Our Wellness Coach is still seeing patients via Telehealth appointments and would be happy to help you figure this out. Just call our office at 513.770.0787 to schedule a Telehealth consultation with the Wellness Coach.

The statements made regarding these products/treatments have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products/treatments are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The Federal Food, Drugs and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.