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Using Nutrition to Keep Your Immune System Humming in Perfect Order

Part of the Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Nutrition is really the basis for a good immune-boosting plan. Your immune system is complex and needs a variety of components to make it work optimally; you can get most of those components through food by following these tips:

  • Eat whole foods. Eating whole foods means you don’t have to figure out how to read an ingredient label, because whole foods don’t really have ingredient labels. It means you’ll cook from scratch — don’t worry; it doesn’t take much time once you discover a few tricks. It also means that you’ll avoid processed foods (anything in a box, bag, or can), thus avoiding stabilizers, thickeners, coloring agents, and other additives that are human-made and not recognized by your body. Eating whole foods means your immune system doesn’t have to work so hard to decide what’s okay and what isn’t, plus it gets the support it needs.

  • Give your body protein every day. Not in excess, but in modest amounts. Without adequate protein, much of the function of the immune system gets bogged down. If animal protein is part of your diet, make sure that animal ate only grass, was processed humanely, and was never fed antibiotics or food it wasn’t designed to eat.

  • Accept that fat isn’t the enemy — as long as it’s the right kind of fat. If the fat in your diet comes from fish, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds, you’re fine. If it comes from most other plant oils or human-made trans fats, that’s not okay. Every cell in the body is surrounded by a membrane made up of fats, the composition of which is determined by the diet.

  • Make produce the mainstay of your diet. Most of what you eat should be plants, and most of that should be plants that grow above ground. Vegetables provide the nutrients that run the immune system. Fruit helps, though be careful not to eat too much (one to two servings a day is plenty). Although fruit is healthy, too much fruit can lead to insulin issues, just as too much candy does.

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