Healthy Diet Helps Keep Immune System Strong

Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, talks about foods that’ll help keep your immune system healthy.

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CLEVELAND – We all want a healthy immune system to help fight off infection, especially during a pandemic.

But, did you know your diet plays a role?

Cleveland Clinic’s, Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, said regularly eating a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables is a good place to start.

“Some of the obvious things that we always want to look at is antioxidants and phytonutrients. And we are going to get those from plant based whole foods and foods that have a lot of color,” she said. “Foods that have a lot of color, that indicates that they have a lot of vitamins and minerals.”

Kirkpatrick said you should pay special attention to vitamin C– which may help prevent and shorten infections.

Vitamin D also supports immune health, but the body doesn’t absorb it well from food, so you’ll want to consider a supplemental form, like D3.

She adds gut health is important as well, so be sure you’re getting enough probiotics, prebiotics and fiber.

“It’s also important to talk about things that make the immune system less likely to perform well, so that is highly processed foods, fast foods, added sugars, those all negatively impact gut health and negatively impact the immune system as well,” Kirkpatrick said.

She also recommends switching to a whole foods diet, which is primarily plant based, to keep your immune system strong.

Regular exercise and good sleep habits will also help immune health.

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