By Guest Blogger – Nicole Printon
Our immune systems need to be fully functional at all times, particularly during a global pandemic. Lifestyle habits are essential: regular exercise (active and passive, for balance), good sleep habits (regular bed time-before 10 pm for melatonin/cortisol ratios), and daily self care. Good nutrition is key.
Incorporate these specific nutrients to boost immune function:
Vitamin A – plays a regulatory role in immune responses
Foods rich in vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, iceberg lettuce, king mackerel, salmon, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs
Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant, squelching free radicals in the body that cause chronic inflammation. Recent research suggests C protects against bacteria linked to ulcers and stomach cancer. C supports cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system
Foods Rich in Vitamin C: cantaloupe, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, tomatoes
Vitamin D – Research has shown that people with adequate D levels get sick less often. For adequate amounts of Vitamin D, consuming foods rich in D is NOT enough. Daily exposure to sunlight – sunscreen free; about 15 minutes daily is critical.
Foods rich in Vitamin D: salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, fortified milk (drink whole milk), yogurt (full fat)
Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant, protects cell membranes from oxidation and combats free radicals in the body. Supplementing Vitamin E is NOT necessary unless you have been diagnosed with a true deficiency.
Foods rich in Vitamin E: spinach, almonds, sweet potatoes, pine nuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, avocado, peanuts, butternut squash, olive oil, wheat germ
Zinc – critical for development and function of immune cells and accelerates wound healing. Plays a critical role in collagen synthesis, immune function, and inflammatory response. Zinc is an essential player in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.
Foods rich in Zinc: oysters, beef, oatmeal, mushrooms, chicken, hemp seeds, lentils, seeds, yogurt
Guest Blogger Nicole Printon holds certifications through WITs (personal training), ACE (Certified Health Coach with Behavior Change Specialty, and Group Fitness), and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Holistic Nutrition Therapy through Nutrition Therapy Institute. She is completing her first 200 hour yoga teacher training mid May. She truly believes that fitness is the gateway to confidence, personal growth, and endless possibilities to live our most vibrant optimal lives. Nicole resides in Franklin Park with her 4 kids, 3 cats, and husband.