Immune Boosting Foods, Essential Food Items, Vitamins & Recipes
Wondering how to boost your immune system?
In the recent months, we have seen emptying of supermarket shelves in relation to food, in particular an escalation in the stockpiling of ‘shelf stable’ items that have a long shelf life including flour, rice, pasta, tin food, cereal, sugar, pasta sauces and pickled items. These items usually contain a high amount of sodium (salt) and sugar (carbohydrates), not to mention added preservatives and lack of vitamins and minerals (as they have been extracted in the processing). Unfortunately, these foods are unlikely to support your immune system and poor food choices may lead to weight gain and eventuate to associated health conditions as a result.
At Be Fit Food, we want to help people stay in control and offer a healthy alternative to the ‘shelf stable’ option, that everyone tends to purchase in bulk. Not only do we supply healthy meals but meals that can help support your immune system.
Our immune system protects us against pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and parasites, so we need to be able to support it to keep ourselves healthy, especially during a pandemic. It is important to not only keep well for yourself, but for those with compromised immunity (eg. those living with health conditions, such as cancer or heart disease and the elderly).
Vitamins and Minerals that support immune function and foods to include in your diet during this time, and throughout your lifetime, include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
Citrus fruits are a great source of Vitamin C including Oranges, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Lemons and Lime. Vegetables that are high in Vitamin C include Red Capsicum, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Spinach, Tomatoes
People with low vitamin D levels are more susceptible to getting sick. If unsure of your vitamin D levels, it is worth getting them checked. Depending on where you live, to get adequate vitamin D from the sun in Winter, you need to spend up to 60 minutes with bare arms and legs in the sun each day. For most people this is unrealistic, and very few of us have the time to spend lounging in the sun every day. Good food sources of vitamin D include mushrooms, oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), cereals and dairy that are fortified with vitamin D.
Zinc functions as an antioxidant and prevents free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes. Foods containing zinc include seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.
Proper functioning of the immune system relies, in part, on sufficient iron. The immune system helps us fight infection. Foods containing iron include beef, lamb, kangaroo, chicken and fish, plant based sources include dried beans and whole grains.
Vitamin A plays a regulatory role in cellular immune responses. Dietary sources include lean meats, liver or liver pate, poultry, oily fish and egg yolks, leafy green vegetables, as well as orange, yellow and other coloured vegetables, legumes and beans and wholegrains.
Each Be Fit Food meal contains a high source of lean protein, which also helps maintain a strong immune system and has positive effects on satiety, keeping you fuller for longer. Protein is found in abundance in foods such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
The health of our guts also contributes to our immune function. We can support our gut health by including pre and probiotics in our diet. Prebiotics include legumes, vegetables, wholegrains, some fruits including dried dates and figs and nuts and seeds. Probiotics include yoghurt, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, miso soup, kimchi and kombucha.
All Be Fit Food meals contain 4-12 vegetables per meal and a high source of lean protein, low carb, with no added sugra or artificial flavours & colours. Each meal is also snap-frozen to lock in the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that support immune function.Be Fit Food meals are delivered to your door so no need to worry about the panic at the supermarkets. You may book a complimentary dietitian consultation to help you get started with Be Fit Food and customise the plan based on your specific dietary requirements and health conditions.
See Be Fit Food example of Immune boosting day on a plate recipes or check our helpful resources page for more recipe ideas:
Breakfast – Citrus Smoothie
Snack – Yoghurt and Berries
Lunch – Kale and Cauliflower Soup with Garlic
Dinner – Ginger, Citrus StirFry
Breakfast Citrus Smoothie - Serves 1
- 1 ½ cups of frozen strawberries
- 1 banana
- 1 kiwi fruit
- ¼ cup protein powder
- 1 ¼ cups of unsweetened almond milk
Blend all ingredients in a blender.
Snack Yoghurt and Berries
- 1 cup of greek yoghurt
- 500g berries
Mix your yoghurt and berries together and enjoy
Lunch Kale and Cauliflower Soup with Garlic - Serves 1
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ brown onion
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 cup of reduced salt vegetable stock
- 2 cups of kale leaves (remove stalks)
- ½ Cauliflower (cut up)
- Preheat oven to 200ºC
- Drizzle with olive oil and roast until caramelised the garlic cloves, onion and cauliflower on a baking tray - lined with baking paper in the pre-heated oven -
- Put the vegetable stock and kale in a pot and cover to steam until the kale has wilted down, add the roasted vegetables and bring to boil.
- Once boiled for about 5 minutes, remove from heat and puree the soup! Enjoy
Dinner Ginger, Citrus StirFry - Serves 1
- ½ cup brown rice (cooked)
- 1 tbsp tamari sauce
- 2cm piece ginger root
- Ground black pepper (to season)
- 1 lemon, juiced (2 tbls)
- 1 tablespoons peanut oil
- 80g cooked chicken breast (cut into pieces)
- ½ red capsuicum (sliced)
- ¼ head of broccoli (chopped)
- 4 leaves of bok Choy (chopped)
- ¼ Brown onion (chopped)
- 4 brown mushrooms (chopped)
- Prepare ingredients listed above
- Preheat wok with peanut oil and brown pieces of chicken, once chicken has browned off - remove and place aside
- Start bringing brown rice to the boil to cook
- Add brown onion to the work until softened, add vegetables and stir fry, once softened and chicken back to wok and cook through, add ginger root with chicken
- Once chicken and vegetables are cooked, add mushrooms to soften, add tamari sauce, pepper, and lemon juice to dish and remove the ginger root
- Serve over cooked brown rice
Share your meals with #BeFitFood | @BeFitFoodAustralia
Maggini, S., Pierre, A., & Calder, P. C. (2018). Immune Function and Micronutrient Requirements Change over the Life Course. Nutrients, 10(10), 1531. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101531
Huang, Z., Liu, Y., Qi, G., Brand, D., & Zheng, S. G. (2018). Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System. Journal of clinical medicine, 7(9), 258. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7090258
Prasad A. S. (2008). Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.), 14(5-6), 353–357. https://doi.org/10.2119/2008-00033.Prasad
Kau, A., Ahern, P., Griffin, N. et al. Human nutrition, the gut microbiome and the immune system. Nature474, 327–336 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10213