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Improve Your Immune System with Healthy Eating

By Leslee Jaquette
This is a good time to thank your immune systems (IS) for protecting you brilliantly against an onslaught of germs. Given germs are everywhere from shopping cart handles and airplane trays to the kitchen counter, it is really amazing how few viruses and diseases most of us catch.
broccoli-166948_640So, let’s give our immune system lots of credit. Its major function (made up of cells and organs) is to protect us from attack by bacteria and viruses. As a result, let’s also give it a hand so our immune systems can keep the upper hand fighting disease.
One of the best ways to boost our immune systems is to feed it good nutritional food. The system needs top-flight fuel!
Thank you to Lilly Kuo, MS, RDN for her article in the Dec. 2014 issue of Senior Focus “Eating for a good immune system.” Here are summaries of some of the food, vitamins and minerals she suggests we all need to maintain a healthy immune system.
What to feed your immune system

  • Protein –  The IS is made up of protein and needs a steady supply to maintain its health. All 20 amino acids found in protein are essential for cell growth and repair. Foods that are good sources of protein are poultry, beef, fish, beans and nuts.
    • Vitamins and Minerals – The IS uses vitamins and minerals to fight infection. Of all the vitamins and minerals the most essential to the IS are: vitamins A, B, C and E, Selenium, Copper, Iron and Zinc.
  • Food Sources:
    • Vitamin A – eggs, milk and liver, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, squash, tomatoes and fruits (cantaloupe, apricots)
    • Vitamin B – poultry, meat and fish, eggs, dairy products, leafy greens, beans, fortified cereals.
    • Vitamin C – fruits and veggies  such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, tomato juice, red and green peppers, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe and leafy greens.

Are you taking good care of your immune system?