Fueling Our Immune Health

January 9, 2023

Our bodies are constantly working to keep ourselves healthy.  Your food choices can help support immunity in your body.  Let’s start with some knowledge around nutrition. Different macronutrients and micronutrients fuel the immune cells. 



Nutrients that have been identified as important for immune health include Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Selium, and Iron. So, a variety in the diet is known to be a better strategy than focusing on one type of food to increase immune health.  




Good sources of these nutrients include the following:



Vitamin C

red bell peppers 1/2 c (100% of daily recommended amount)

oranges (one medium orange contains 78% of daily recommended amount







Vitamin D

salmon – 6oz filet has 127% of daily recommend amount

low-fat milk (29% daily recommended amount per cup)









3 oz of chicken or beef will meet nearly 30-60% of daily recommended amount








Brazil nuts, tuna, halibut, shrimp are excellent food sources of selenium










Enriched cereal, lentils, beef, chicken, clams are good sources.  Eating a source of iron with a source of vitamin C will help your body absorb iron even better.








You can find more food sources here




More research is being dedicated to learning about the microbiome. This is also known as gut health as we know this is the site of immune activity and production of antimicrobial proteins. Certain helpful microbes break down fibers, which have been shown to stimulate immune cell activity. These fibers are sometimes called prebiotics because they feed microbes. Probiotic foods contain live helpful bacteria, and prebiotic foods contain fiber and oligosaccharides that feed and maintain healthy colonies of those bacteria.  Therefore, a diet containing probiotic and prebiotic foods may be beneficial.  Probiotics are found in less common foods.  Some examples include kefir, yogurt with live active cultures, fermented vegetables, olives, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha tea, kimchi, and miso. Some recipes to help add more of these foods to your dietary pattern can be found here.  Prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, bananas and seaweed.





However, a more general rule is to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains for dietary prebiotics.  Supplements for probiotics and probiotics may be a consideration for some individuals. Inquire with a doctor or dietitian to see if this is something suggested for you. 

The Author

Laura Cason, B.S., R.D., L.D.N.

Laura has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Kansas State University. She did her Dietetic Internship at Loyola University Chicago. She is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She is a Licensed Dietitian in Illinois and a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. Laura is a former marketing professional turned Registered Dietitian with a heightened passion for helping others. She has extensive experience working with clients seeking assistance with weight. With a background in the corporate setting, she has can empathize with those who work in these environments which often come with stress highs and lows. She helps her clients understand how to eat in order to feel good, boost energy, and be comfortable without restriction or obsessing. Laura believes in forming a partnership with her clients providing them with the tools to succeed and accountability to increase success rate. In her spare time, Laura enjoys cooking, working out, traveling, and beach volleyball.

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