Have you been so focused on COVID-19 that you haven’t given much thought to the approaching cold and flu season? Fortunately, you’re not destined to get sick. Build up your defenses now so that you can fend off germs when they attack.
One of the best ways to boost immunity: a nutritious eating plan. Focus on these 4 nutrients to increase your chances of staying healthy all season long.
The daily recommended amount varies by life stage, ranging from 40 to 50 mg for infants to 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need even more.
What it does: Supports the immune system by increasing the production of antibodies
Examples of where to find it:
Red or yellow bell peppers, 1/2 cup, raw = 95 mg
Orange, one medium = 70 mg
Infants need about 400 to 500 mcg a day, women need 700 mcg, and men need 900 mcg. Women who are pregnant need 750 to 770 mcg, while those who are breastfeeding need 1,200 to 1,300 mcg.
What it does: Helps regulate the immune system and protects against infections; keeps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs healthy
Sweet potato, one, baked in skin = 1,403 mcg
Eggs, two large, hard boiled = 150 mcg
Infants need about 2 to 3 mg a day, while adult women need 8 mg and men need 11 mg. Women who are pregnant need 11 to 12 mg. Those who are breastfeeding need 12 to 13 mg.
What it does: Supports immune function and may help wounds heal
Beef patty, 3 ounces, broiled = 5.3 mg
Baked beans, ½ cup, canned = 2.9 mg
The daily recommended amount ranges from 2 ounce-equivalents per day for kids 2 to 3 years of age, 5 to 5.5 ounce-equivalents for women, and 5.5 to 6.5 ounce-equivalents for men.
What it does: Plays a role in healing and recovery
Almonds, 12 = 1 ounce-equivalent
Trout, one small = 3 ounce-equivalents
Other ways to strengthen your immune system to prepare for cold and flu season:
Get your flu shot, preferably in October before the flu season begins.
Wash your hands frequently.
If you’re looking to add probiotics to your diet, know that supplements aren’t your only option. These “good” bacteria naturally exist in several everyday foods.
What they do: Balance your gut, improve gastrointestinal health, and boost immunity
Dairy fermented products (yogurt, kefir, aged cheese)
Non-dairy fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh)