However, a healthy diet that includes a broad range of vitamins and minerals can help strengthen your immune system so that it’s in top form to fight off pathogens and support your recovery. Vitamins and minerals that can support a healthy immune system include vitamins C, D and E, zinc and beta-carotene. Here are some great ways to incorporate those vitamins and minerals in your diet:
- For vitamin C, eat fruits and vegetables such as oranges, mangoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, lemons, cantaloupes, broccoli and brussels sprouts.
- Get vitamin E by eating nuts, spinach, avocado and broccoli, and cook with vegetable oils instead of animal fats.
- Eat vitamin D-enriched foods like salmon, cheese, fortified cereals and fortified milk. Some people don’t get enough vitamin D, which sunshine provides, and therefore vitamin D supplements may be beneficial. Be sure to speak with a qualified care provider, such as your family medicine physician, before introducing new supplements into your diet.
- To boost your zinc intake, be sure your diet includes foods such as beef, poultry, seafood, nuts, beans, pumpkin seeds, lentils and whole grains.
- For an infusion of beta-carotene, incorporate green leafy vegetables, carrots and sweet potatoes into the mix of foods you consume.
- Eat adequate amounts of protein. Proteins play an important role in bolstering immune system cells. Healthy proteins include eggs, lean meats, seafood, nuts and seeds.
“Generally, the best way to provide your body with the right nutrients is by eating whole foods rather than supplements,” Kandora says. “Whole foods offer additional benefits, such as fiber, that may be lacking in supplements.”