Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on April 25, 2016

Sources

Dr. Michael Smith, www.Health/Harvard.edu

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Video Transcript

Dr. Michael Smith: What you eat does affect your immune system so eating an overall healthy diet will not only help your body, it'll help your immunity as well.

: There are some nutrients that are particularly important for your immune system. Antioxidants, like vitamins A, C & E. Minerals like Zinc and Selenium.

: While food is always best, if you think your diet isn’t well balanced, you can choose a vitamin supplement or a daily multivitamin to help fill in the gaps in your diet.

: If you eat a variety of healthy foods, rich in fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, whole grains, and healthy fats, you'll be in great shape and your immune system will be too.

: There is certain nutrients that can help your immune system stay particulary healthy.

: The mineral Selenium, found abundant in brazil nuts, but just a small handful. You can also find it in a variety of fish and seafood, even in meats, but choose lean meats, and even in various types of grains.

: Vitamin A is found in sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin- think orange foods. It's also found in dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.

: Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and Vitamin E seen in an abundance in nuts, especially almonds.

: Zinc, a trace element, is essential for immune system cells. Found in abundance in oysters, but if that’s not your thing, you can also find it in various types of lean meats and seafood.

: And Probiotics are actually healthy bacteria that are found in the digestive system are really important for immunity.

: Found in abundance in yogurt with live active cultures- look for that on the label. Other foods with probiotics are fermented foods like miso soup, sauerkraut, and tempe which is also a great source of protein.

: Eating too much sugar actually affects how your immune cells function, and being overweight- also bad for your immune system, because too much fat releases inflammatory chemicals that affect your entire body, including your immune system.

: Too much alcohol can also deplete your body of certain nutrients. Alcohol is a sugar, so too much alcohol will act like too much sugar and will affect your immune cell function.

: Now a drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men, that's completely fine. But anything more than that and your immune system won’t like it.

: So if you needed another reason to eat a healthy, well balanced diet, you got one- in fact, you have quite a few. What you eat affects your immune system in so many ways, but you don't have to be perfect, think about 80% of the time.

: Making the right diet choices can help keep your body and your immune system strong.