One of the secret powerhouses of your immune system is antiviral foods. They play a crucial role in fortifying your body’s defense mechanisms. Incorporating antiviral foods into your diet gives your body the essential nutrients needed to fend off infections. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that synergize to enhance immune function.
“A simple and visually appealing way [to add more antiviral foods in your diet] is by adding color to your plate,” said Carlie Beaucejour, a registered dietitian. “Different colors of fruits and vegetables provide different nutrients.”
Beaucejour shared that her top five antiviral foods are Greek yogurt, beans, whole grains, eggs, and citrus fruit.
- Greek yogurt: According to Beaucejour, greek yogurt contains probiotics and zinc. The probiotics and zinc aid in gut health and strengthening the immune system.
- Beans, Whole Grains and Eggs: Protein informs immune cells to deliver chemicals that decrease or destroy harmful bacteria. Beans contain magnesium, which supports the immune system, protein and zinc. Whole grains, such as farro, quinoa or oats, also contain magnesium and zinc. Eggs can lower the risk of infection and increase zinc absorption and zinc.
- Citrus fruits: Due to their vitamin C content, which has antimicrobial activities, they are a great antiviral food.
Prioritizing your immune health through nutrition is an achievable goal. These simple dietary recommendations can go a long way in promoting overall well-being and resilience against common illnesses.
How to Eat More Anti-Viral Foods
When choosing immunity-boosting foods, prioritize a diverse range of vibrant colors, as each hue signifies unique nutritional benefits. In addition to getting bloodwork to see where your vitamin and mineral levels are and visiting a dietitian nutrionist annually, Beaucejour recommends seeking foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support overall immune function.
“There is no magic pill when it comes to nutrition, and it takes time to build your immune system with food, so consistency in eating a variety of food regularly is important,” Beaucejour said. “Too much of anything isn’t good, so aim for a healthy balance for you.”