Registered dietitian lists foods known to boost your immune system

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – While no food or supplement is known to cure COVID-19 or prevent you from contracting it, people who eat a well balanced diet tend to have a lower risk of infectious diseases, according to the World Health Organization.

As registered dietitian Debbie Milne explains, inflammation happens when your body fights infection.

It’s a process that releases harmful compounds in your body, which can be repaired with nutrition from certain foods.

“It creates free radicals in the process of eliminating things that don’t belong in the body,” Milne said. “That’s why fruits and vegetables are really good too. They have a lot of antioxidants that will stabilize some of these unstable compounds in the body.”

Processed foods on the other hand, aggravate inflammation, she said, advising those wanting to boost their immune systems to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet.

“They’re going to not have a lot of added sugar,” she said. “Theyre going to eat a lot of fats, which come from nuts and good sources of omega three fat, which is kind of hard to find in our diet now, because we feed our animals different feed that is not in their natural diet,” she said.

That’s why she recommends choosing lean, grass fed meats and buying produce directly from local farms if you can.

According to the World Health Organization, people who eat balanced meals tend to have stronger immune systems.

Milne said you can balance your meals by making half of your plate non-starchy vegetables with a variety of colors.

“When you vary the colors, you vary the different nutrients. Vitamin A and E are very good for immune health,” she explained. “You can get those from leafy vegetables. You may want to go to fruit [like] cantaloupe”

She recommended snacking on nut. and adding natural immune boosters like garlic and tumeric to your dishes.

“Turmeric is definitely an antibacterial, some antiviral qualities,” she said. “A lot of polyphenols as well, which help your body fight disease and reduce inflammation.”

However, she said her best piece of advice is to aim for a healthy diet just 80 percent of the time and allow yourself to have some treats or unhealthy foods every now and then.

“If you want to set yourself up for success, then you don’t constantly have it at arms reach,” she said.

If you have a health question for our Ask the Expert series, you can submit it here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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