I’m sure you’ve seen the articles telling you to eat this or drink that to boost your immune system. But if it seems to be good to be true, it probably is.
Nutrition can play a role in immune strength, but the relationship between food and illness risk is complex. Several factors influence immune strength, and diet is just one of them.
And there are still questions to determine just how much of a role food plays.
One thing is for sure, though: adding one or two foods to your diet is unlikely to make a noticeable difference in immune strength.
When it comes to nutrition and immunity, it’s wise to take a look at the big picture. Increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats helps set a healthy and strong immune system.
On the other hand, regularly consuming processed or fried food, sugary snacks and beverages, and refined grains can all hamper your immune response to put you at greater risk of illness.
Therefore, diet is far more important to immune support than one, two, or a handful of specific foods.
And that is still only part of the story. Age and lifestyle can also play a role in immune strength. Regardless of overall health, older individuals are generally at higher risk of illness and a more severe response to infections like flu, COVID-19, and pneumonia.
The first line of defense for a healthy immune system, or at least away to give it support, is a healthy lifestyle. Every part of your body functions better when certain factors are embraced, and others are rejected. Some of these factors include:
- Not smoking
- Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Getting regular exercise
- Limiting processed foods
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting good sleep
- Managing stress
- Drinking in moderations
- Making sure to wash hands, cook food, and following public health guidelines to prevent COVID-19, like wearing a mask and social distancing.