Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin D’

After a 15 hour travel journey yesterday with planes, boats and automobiles and little sleep, I was feeling a little under the weather this morning. Thought I would share some immune boosting foods I will be adding to my diet today/this weekend to ward off any sickness. I personally also like to OD on warm liquids like tea and soup and eliminate dairy if I am feeling at all sickly.

Vitamin C is one of the best-known immune supporting vitamins! It is found in most fruits and vegetables but in highest amounts in green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe. Other excellent sources include papaya, mango, watermelon, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pineapples.
Vitamin A helps maintain vision and supports the immune system. It is found in liver, milk, eggs, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and certain fortified foods and beverages.
Vitamin E helps protect our hearts and immune system. It is found in nuts, like sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts, leafy greens and in oils, including soybean, olive and canola oils.
Vitamin D has also been shown to help support the immune system and is primarily obtained through the skin after exposure to sunlight.  It can also be found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, and also in certain fortified foods, including yogurt, milk, certain cereals, some mushrooms (!) and juices.  Supplementation may be necessary for those who live in the North or don’t get much direct sun exposure (eg. sunblock).
Vitamins B6 and B12 also help maintain healthy immune function. B6 is found in beans, nuts, legumes, eggs, meats, fish, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals. B12 is found in eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish, milk, and milk products as well as fortified nutritional yeast. Vegans should supplement with B12.

Selenium has been shown to support immune function. Plant foods, such as vegetables, are the most common dietary sources of selenium. How much selenium is in the vegetables you eat depends on how much of the mineral was in the soil where the plants grew. Fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken, liver, and garlic are all good sources of selenium as well. Meats produced from animals that ate grains or plants found in selenium-rich soil have higher levels of selenium. Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, and enriched breads are also good sources of selenium as is my person favorite- the brazil nut! Two a day gives you all the Selenium you need.

Other anti-inflammatory foods that may help with the immune: Curcumin (Turmeric), Garlic, Wheat Grass, Chlorella, Kelp, Spirulina, Maitake and Reishi mushrooms.

Pre and Probiotics help keep your gut’s “good bacteria” up which crowds out opportunities for bad bacteria. Did you know that most of your body’s immune system is in your gut! Keep it healthy by eating fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, live cheese, live sauerkraut, and kimchi (probiotics) and prebiotics like whole grains, honey, strawberries and soy which ”feed” the probiotiocs.

During cold season especially, don’t underestimate the importance of sleep, washing hands, and exercise to boost your immune system and overall health.

Eat strawberries (fresh or frozen) to boost your Vitamin C intake!

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Vitamin D

There has been a lot of buzz about Vitamin D lately so let me lay it out for you…

Vitamin D is found naturally in a small amount of foods (fatty fish, mushrooms), added to other foods (milk, cereal) and available as a supplement. Vitamin D is a hot topic not only in the news but popular in recent research studies and it seems the benefits of this fat-soluble vitamin go beyond just bone health.  Some research suggests that vitamin D might play some role in the prevention and treatment of Type I & Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, Multiple Sclerosis and other medical conditions. We already know it helps with:
•    Bone Health: Vitamin D helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus which are critical for building bones.
•    Cancer: Research shows that Vitamin D keeps cancer cells from growing and dividing, especially with prostate, colon and breast cancer.
•    Immune System: Studies show that Vitamin D plays a role in controlling infections and controlling inflammation.

Tips to Increase Vitamin D:
•    Look for opportunities to add non-fat milk or fortified soy milk to your day.
•    Look for Vitamin D fortified products like Orange Juice (Minute Maid), Cereal (Kellog’s All Bran with Extra Fiber) and others.
•    Experiment with Vit.D fortified no/low fat yogurts (Yoplait, Stonyfield, Dannon make some- check label) with at least 20% of the Daily Value (DV). Lifeways brand Kefir is also fortified with at least 25% of the DV of Vitamin D.

•    5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. Remember that the season, time of day, geography, latitude, level of air pollution, color of your skin, and your age all affect your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D.
•    If you feel you are at risk for Vit. D deficiency (over 50 years, dark skinned, limited sun exposure) ask your doctor to test your blood’s total Vit. D levels.

How much you need at the very least…





Deeelicious food sources….

NIH site for more info.

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