Staying Immune Healthy Part 3

Last week, I briefly talked about how important it is to maintain healthy nutrition in order to mount an adequate immune response.  In this final installment, I want to tackle the relationship between micronutrients and immunologic strength. You might be wondering exactly how does my dietary intake influence my body’s ability to defend itself which is also known as immunity.

    Researchers Childs, Calder and Miles (2019) asserted that “adequate and appropriate nutrition is required for all cells to function optimally and this includes the cells in the immune system. An “activated” immune system further increases the demand for energy during periods of infection, with greater basal energy expenditure during fever for example [as seen with people infected with COVID-19]…”1

    The relationship between adequate intake of micronutrients and immunological outcomes cannot be overstated or ignored. The “… integrated immune system needs multiple specific micronutrients, including vitamins A, D, C, E, B6, and B12, folate, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium, which play vital, often synergistic roles at every stage of the immune response.”2 This interplay between micronutrients and the complex cells and processes of the immune system allows our body to constantly defend itself to maintain overall wellness and health.3

Where are micronutrients found? What foods support immunity?

Enjoy more whole grain-based products like brown, wild or red rice, pasta or breads. Buy oats and barley. Sample gluten-free pastas like chickpea or red lentils. Choose watercress instead of iceberg lettuce. Consider white sugar alternatives like brown sugar, raw honey, stevia or jaggery if you are not living with diabetes. Enjoy fiber rich foods like legumes, carrots, beans, golden raisins, etc. Try plain yogurt instead of the fruit-laden or sugar-added brands. Savor the taste of a papaya or pomegranate. Enjoy sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, quinoa, chia seeds or almonds. Use extra virgin olive oil over palm or coconut oil. Ask your healthcare provider should you take Vitamin D or supplemental zinc. Drink black or green teas instead of diet sodas. Cook with fresh garlic, turmeric or ginger. Enjoy water with fresh fruit slices like lime or lemon, herbs like fresh lemongrass or veggies like cucumbers. Eat to live not live to eat!

MY PRAYER: Dear Father, during this time of sickness and physical isolation, we ask that you heal and restore our minds, bodies and spirits to wholeness. Remove our fears and doubts by consoling us with your presence and peace. Let us rejoice even while walking through the eye of the storm for you are there with us. Restore our hope and health so we in turn can do likewise to those in need of a comforting hand or a redeeming Savior. Remind us Lord how you have already saved and restored us to glory in your name. Amen!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

NOTE OF CAUTION: Anyone living with various conditions especially diabetes, hypertension, gluten intolerance, COPD, celiac disease, disorders associated with digesting sugars, disrupted gut emptying, food or nutrient allergies/insensitivities, hemochromatosis or autoimmune disorders, please speak with your healthcare providers before altering your nutrition/food choices or taking supplemental zinc, Vitamin D & other micronutrients. Also ask your HCP if using raw honey or jaggery is recommended for your medical condition.

Sources:
Childs, C. E., Calder, P. C. & Miles, E. A (2019). Nutrients 11(8), p. 1933. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723551/     
2 Gombart, A. F., Pierre, A & Maggini, S (2020). Nutrients, 12(1), p. 236. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/1/236
3 https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/human-immune-system-and-infectious-disease