What Should You Eat to Help Strengthen Your Immune System?

March 18, 2020 ,

The immune system is complex, and its proper functioning is influenced by several factors such as stress level, exercise, age, diet, tobacco, sleep… If we want it to be as effective as possible to protect us from pathogenic microorganisms, we must support it with a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet. Eating well is one of the key points because deficiencies in certain nutrients can weaken our immune defenses. The main nutrients to watch for are vitamins A, C, E, zinc, selenium, iron, copper and folic acid.

Dietary tips to help maintain the health of your immune system:

Stock up on vegetables and fruit

Canada’s new food guide recommends filling half of your plate with fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal. Following this good advice will help you to fill up on vitamins and antioxidants, which promotes healthy immune function. Small tip: Also try to vary the colors on your plate!

Eat protein at every meal

To support the proliferation of immune cells and the synthesis of compounds important to the body’s defense in the event of an invasion by pathogenic microorganisms, it is important to consume enough protein.

The best way to meet your needs is to consume good-sourced protein at every meal. Prioritize proteins that are low in saturated fat such as legumes, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds. Legumes are also rich in fibre and antioxidants, and contain little fat.

For more information, I invite you to read this article.

Incorporate a healthy amount of good fats

Consuming too much fat would reduce the effectiveness of your immune response. It is therefore important to limit your fat intake to 30% of the calories consumed and to focus on healthy fat sources.

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Jennifer Morzier
Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian graduated from the University of Montreal in December 2018 and is a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ). She believes that the quality of our food choices has a direct impact on our health and energy level. Her goal? To help people improve the quality of what they put in their plates, for their better well-being and greater pleasure.

2 comments to “What Should You Eat to Help Strengthen Your Immune System?”

March 20, 2020 Elke Sengmueller said:

Can you please share your reference that one needs to limit one’s fat intake to 30% to avoid reducing the effectiveness of the immune response? Thank you.

March 20, 2020 Jennifer Morzier said:

Hello Elke,
Thanks for your question. According to the following study: Kelley, DS, and PA Daudu. “Fat intake and immune response.” Progress in food & nutrition science 17.1 (1993), a high fat diet would reduce the effectiveness of your immune response. The 30% of calories from lipids comes from the official Health Canada recommandations https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/migration/hc-sc/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/nutrition/dri_tables-eng.pdf

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