How to Eat for Immunity
Food and Inflammation
- Sugar. You know where this ingredient lurks – in our favorite treats. But remember to look for it in your salad dressing, cereal, and flavored yogurt. Sugar is an essential ingredient in baking, so you can’t cut it out entirely but you can cut back or substitute dates or a ripe banana to give the same sweetness.
- Fried foods. These favorites like french fries, onion rings, fish sticks, and egg rolls all contain one inflammatory culprit: advanced glycation end (AGEs) products. These AGEs have been shown in studies to be linked to higher levels of inflammation.
- Processed meat. While sliced sandwich meat is very convenient for making lunches, it can be packed with sodium, AGEs, and other preservatives that aren’t helping us feel our best. If you do want to keep eating processed meat such as deli meat, bacon, sausages, or jerky, look for ones that have a very short ingredient list and try to buy ones that are preservative free.
Eat the Rainbow and More for Immunity
- Mushrooms. The health benefits of mushrooms cannot be overlooked. They are the foundation of AHCC, which has been proven to support the immune system, ensuring that you’re able to fight off infection and disease. Shitake, Portobello, button, oyster, white, chanterelle, and cremini mushrooms are all typically available at your local grocery store. Add them to stir fries, make mushroom soup, toss them in a casserole, add them to tacos, grill Portobello mushrooms, add them to pizza – really the options are limitless. The key is that you’re getting amazing immune system support while enjoying a delicious food.
- Citrus. Oranges, lemons, tangerines, limes, and grapefruits all have a very important immune boosting quality – vitamin C. This vital antioxidant supports your immune system and along with your recommended dose of AHCC, goes a long way in keeping you feeling your best. Make a fruit salad and add in a few sliced oranges, pack an orange or tangerine with your lunch, broil grapefruit for a weekend breakfast, keep a pitcher of lemon or lime water in the fridge for an easy and tasty way to get your eight glasses of water, or even add an orange to a smoothie (it goes great with frozen mango and shredded carrot).
- Cruciferous Vegetables. Super vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and cabbage pack an immune system punch. To top it off these vitamin-packed vegetables also contain choline which helps keep your cells working properly. Affordable and available year-round, incorporate these vegetables into your meal rotation as a stir fry base, added to soups and stews, omelets, as a side to accompany a main dish, or dipped in hummus for an afternoon snack. Hint: keep a couple bags of frozen broccoli and cauliflower in your freezer so you have easy access to washed and chopped vegetables.
- Yogurt. This is a true super power that is packed with vitamin D and essential active cultures that help you keep your digestive system healthy. Choose from fermented kefir for a quick morning snack, add frozen fruit or fresh berries to plain Skyr or Greek yogurt for healthful breakfast or dessert, add a spoonful to your smoothie, and use it in dips or salad dressings. One tip is to stay away from flavored yogurts or those with extra add-ins such as granola or candy. Instead to reap the full rewards of this super health food, buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit, chopped chocolate, protein powder, cereal, or even some natural peanut butter.