We know a healthy, balanced diet keeps our immune system strong, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. As we enter Fall, and add flu season to our ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to focus on providing the nutrition your body can use to boost your immune system. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can be a complication of COVID-19 infection, or can happen on its own. A few vitamins and minerals are potentially effective at decreasing risk and improving recovery from pneumonia, mainly vitamins C, E, and the mineral zinc. While strong scientific evidence remains elusive, they are important to our health regardless, so why not try and get them in each day.
We are probably all familiar with vitamin C, abundant in citrus, strawberries, kiwi, dark greens like spinach and broccoli, tomatoes and winter squash. Get at least one high vitamin C fruit and one veggie a day. Vitamin E is not a common nutrient deficiency, but a balanced diet is important to provide enough. Almonds, peanuts, avocado, red peppers, mango, and kiwi are all good sources, and it is abundant in variety of fish and shellfish. Zinc is one of the few well- researched minerals shown to reduce the length of the common cold, and has shown efficacy in reducing pneumonia risk. Zinc is also found in a variety of foods, and particularly abundant in legumes such as chickpeas and lentils, nuts such as cashews and almonds, and hemp seeds. A variety of fruits and vegetables contains small amounts of zinc; if you get your 5+ servings a day, it will add up. Foods we should eat in smaller quantities, eggs and beef, are good sources as well, but still consume in moderation while increasing the beneficial plant foods to meet your goals.
Meet your nutrient needs by eating a variety of plants foods- nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies and legumes- each day to provide the protection your body needs. Be well!
Join us to learn more about pneumonia prevention and treatment this coming week.