Over the past few months, the world focus on a pathogen sweeping the globe cannot be missed. Instead of keeping our eyes and ears on a scary outside invader, which makes us feel like helpless victims, I want to shift the thinking and efforts to
strengthening the internal terrain and building resiliency. The absolute foundation for health is found at the end of one’s fork. Macro- and micronutrients are the building blocks of the body: catalyzing all chemical reactions, building up and tearing down, accomplishing millions of processes per second- all to keep humans functioning like well-oiled machines. These nutrients
help our bodies to resist infectious disease, as well as chronic. When we do come across a pathogen, if we are resilient, we overcome, stronger than before we experienced it.
So how do we focus on healthy immune systems through diet?
Each meal and snack should be centered on whole foods that come from the ground or grazed on the ground or swam in the water. Real food doesn’t require an ingredient list; it is ingredients. Our meals and snacks should include healthy protein, fat, and fiber sources. Our plates should contain at least 50% vegetables, topped with high-quality protein sources and healthy fats. Protein is necessary for a well-functioning immune system: antibodies and enzymes are proteins, T- and B- cells are protein-rich, and require proteins on their surface to detect and neutralize invaders. Lipids also play a roll in cell signaling and modulating inflammation and carbohydrates act as signaling molecules, part of structures, and the fiber that feeds
a healthy gut microbiome- the keepers of our GI tract, which is home of 70% of our
Micronutrients like zinc, vitamin C, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, cysteine, lysine, arginine, and thousands of phytonutrients, also play strong rolls in proper immune function.
Foods to include in your diet for immune resiliency**:
- Wild-caught fatty fish
- Grass-fed beef, bison, lamb
- Pasture-raised poultry and eggs
- Brightly colored vegetables that are predominantly non-starchy: red, yellow, orange, and green bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy- Aim for 8 cups or more per day! Those that are high in specific nutrients
o Vitamin C: Vegetables – Broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
cauliflower, dark leafy greens greens, green cabbage,
parsley, peppers (red and orange), purple cabbage,
savoy cabbage, snow peas, watercress. Fruits –
Blackberries, clementines, cranberries, grapefruit,
honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, mangoes, orange,papaya, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, raspberries,
o Vitamin A: Beet greens, cantaloupe, carrots, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, herring, kale, liver, egg yolk,
mustard greens, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, sweet potato, turnip greens, winter squash.
o Zinc: Almonds, beef, chickpeas, crab, peas, lamb,
lobster, poultry, mushrooms, oysters, pumpkin seeds,
scallops, shrimp, spinach, tahini.
- Mushrooms: particularly shiitake, maitake, turkey tail, reishi
- Bone broth made from high quality animal bones
- Leafy greens: kale, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, mixed greens, beet greens
- Sulfur-rich allium family: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots
- Herbs: oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, mint, lemon balm, lemongrass
- Herbal medicines: Astragalus, andrographis, ashwagandha, rhodiola, Chinese skullcap, Echinacea, goldenseal
- Herbal/Plant compounds: Quercetin, berberine, resveratrol
** All suggestions are broad and need to be personalized for each individual; some
herbs or foods may be contraindicated for certain conditions or with certain
For more information about personalized protocols for overall health,
wellness, and immune function, set up an appointment with our Functional
Nutritionist, Whitney George, MS, today!!