The current COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a great deal of controversy about public health and safety. The impacts of coronavirus continue to affect our everyday lives, and preventive measures have become essential. The preventive measures that are most commonly suggested are hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a mask. While these practices are certainly helpful in slowing, and hopefully preventing, the spread of the virus, we must also consider our body’s natural defense system as well.
Your immune system is the best natural defense that you have to protect you from becoming ill. A strong, healthy immune system works not only to prevent illness but also to recover from illness. Your lifestyle can have a big influence on your immune system and how well it works, or doesn’t work. “Adequate and appropriate nutrition is required for all cells to function optimally and this includes the cells in the immune system” (1).
Studies show that the standard American diet, or Western diet, lacks important nutrients and that following this diet can lead to dietary deficiencies. These deficiencies can cause a myriad of health problems including, but not limited to: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Additionally, eating the standard American diet hinders the immune system which can increase your susceptibility to contracting an illness and make it more difficult to recover from an illness.
Conversely, adopting a healthier lifestyle can be very beneficial to your overall health. There are several superfoods that have been shown to have immune-boosting properties. Adding superfoods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients can boost your immune system by preventing deficiencies. Some essential vitamins that are vital to immune function are vitamins A, C, D, E, B-vitamins, Iron, Calcium, and Zinc. Incorporating foods that are rich in these vitamins can help boost your immune system and work to help prevent you from getting sick. At Fresh Vibes, we offer a wide variety of superfoods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients. Here are some suggestions of superfoods that we offer that are particularly beneficial at this time.
Wheatgrass: This is one of our favorite superfoods to recommend! Wheatgrass is rich in a number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Specifically, wheatgrass is a great source of “vitamins A, B, C, E and K, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, sodium, sulphur, and 17 forms of amino acids” (2). The presence of these vitamins is what makes wheatgrass such a great superfood. It can boost your immune system and has even been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Add wheatgrass to your diet by trying the Nature’s Goodness smoothie, by taking one of our wheatgrass shots, or by adding an ounce of wheatgrass to your favorite drink.
Spirulina: Spirulina is blue-green algae that is high in protein, antioxidants, B-vitamins, iron, and calcium. Consuming spirulina will help boost your immune system and has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase energy, and promote weight loss. To add spirulina to your diet, try the Blueberry Bliss smoothie or ask to add it to your favorite drink.
Pitaya: Another great superfood that we offer is pitaya, or dragon fruit. Pitaya is high in fiber, vitamins C and B2, magnesium, iron, and antioxidants. This superfood supports your immune system and digestive health. Incorporate pitaya in your diet by trying a Pitaya Parfait or the Pink Dragon smoothie. You can also add pitaya to your favorite smoothie or even blend pitaya with one of our juices.
Echinacea: Echinacea has long been a favorite superfood for immune support. It is often used to reduce cold and flu symptoms. Studies show that Echinacea can increase the number of white blood cells that fight infection. You can add Echinacea to any drink of your choice to reap the benefits of this superfood.
Goji Berries: Goji Berries are high in vitamins A and C and antioxidants. Goji berries are known for their ability to fight free radicals and inflammation which make them a great superfood for immune support. Add goji berries to your diet by trying the Purple Haze smoothie or adding them to your favorite smoothie, salad, or other snack food.
Your diet can make or break you. As a health intervention, dietary changes are very much in your control. With prevention being so important right now, we must recognize a healthy diet as a preventive measure itself, and we need to take responsibility for our own immune health to help not only ourselves but those around us as well.
For more information about nutrition and immunity, check out these sources: