With the coronavirus COVID-19 sweeping the planet, it’s a good time to discuss how to boost your immune system with the Mediterranean diet.
Most of what I am going to discuss is a natural part of the Mediterranean diet already. I’d like to give you some specific tips for foods that are good for your immune system so you can make a plan and a shopping list.
Variety is key to proper nutrition. Eat the rainbow. Vegetables and fruits in a variety of colors offer you a well-rounded nutritional package. Each color has its own beneficial properties.
Before we get into specifics about food, let’s go over some lifestyle tips. The Mediterranean diet is a complete lifestyle which includes healthy habits. While you may not want to be socializing during this virus, don’t forget to pick up the phone and check in on your elderly relatives and neighbors. Maybe they’re afraid to go to the crowded supermarkets or maybe they just need someone to talk to.
Here are some activities that help boost your immune system.
1. Reduce stress levels. I know that is easier said then done, right? Stress is a natural part of life. Learn to cope with it in healthy ways.
Try meditation, Not only can it calm your mind, it can also boost your creativity, which is a great way to relieve stress. I have a meditation playlist on my channel. I’ll put a link to it in the description box below.
If you have a hard time meditating, try listening to relaxing music, or getting lost in a good book.
Stress comes in many forms. It doesn’t necessarily have to be stress about the virus and news. It could be money worries, marital problems, work load stress. Try not to let your mind get carried away worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.
2. Get a sufficient amount of sleep. We are all different and some of us need 9 hours, while some may need 7. Figure out your optimal amount of sleep. During sleep our body works on healing itself. It also processes any nutrients you’ve consumed and puts them to work.
Dreaming can help your mind deal with stress, it can foster creativity, can improve your mood, and helps you process your daily experiences.
3. Get a Moderate Amount of Exercise. Exercise helps you relieve stress, can help you lose or manage your weight. It can help lower the risk of some diseases like cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure. It can help your body be better able to fight off infection and germs. Exercise can help you sleep better.
You may want to avoid the gym at the moment to avoid spreading and coming in contact with the virus or other germs. There are many ways you can still get a moderate amount of exercise. Take a walk in the sunshine. Exercise at home or in your backyard. Do some house work or home improvements. Run around with your kids. There are many easy ways to get exercise.
4. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. It can make you more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, and make your recovery time slower. A glass of red wine is fine, and may even be beneficial. But too much of a good thing can be harmful.
5. Eat lots of vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. They are full of immune boosting nutrients.
I’m going to go through some of the vitamins and minerals that known to help boost your immune system and tell you how you can get them from food.
Foods high in Vitamin C:
Citrus fruits: oranges, tangerines, clementines, lemons, limes, grapefruit
Bell peppers (all colors, but especially red)
Broccoli, Spinach, kale
Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Mango, Papaya
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
Sourced of Vitamin D:
Fatty fishes like tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines (also high in Omega-3 fatty acids)
Eggs, specifically the yolk
Some yogurts are fortified with vitamin D
Sunshine is the best way to get your Vitamin D
If you work in an office or don’t get out much, you may be deficient in Vitamin D. I know I am, and I need to take a supplement. It you do take a supplement, take your Vitamin D with food. It needs fats to absorb into your body.
Foods High in Zinc:
Shellfish (crabs, clams, mussels, lobster)
Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans
Nuts and seeds (especially almonds)
Are you seeing a pattern here? These are all the foods that are recommended on the Mediterranean diet.
Some other ingredients that are beneficial:
I have a recipe for a delicious Garlic Broth, that I drink whenever I feel like I might be coming down with something. It’s full of nutrients to help boost your immune system.
Take steps to avoid infection:
Washing your hands, washing your fruits and vegetables
I hope these tips help you to boost your immune system with the Mediterranean diet. If you have any tips to share, please type them into the comment section below.
Stay well, my friends.