Nutrients and Immunity: Food as Fuel | achs.edu

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Putting the wrong gasoline in a vehicle is a lot like putting the wrong food in your body. Using lower octane fuel in a car that calls for premium can cause some serious internal damage to the engine long term and in the short-term can cause “spark knock”– a high-pitched pinging or rattling noise, reduced performance and poor fuel economy.

Highly processed foods negatively affect the cells in your body. 

Using the wrong foods for your body long-term can cause some serious internal damage and immunity issues like Leaky Gut Syndrome, Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS), Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) and Crohn’s Disease, just to name a few. Short-term, the wrong foods can cause unpleasant effects like bloating, skin reactions and lethargy. Since your immune system lives in your gut, let’s focus on what can positively fuel your immune system.

If the thought of a complete nutritional overhaul is daunting, start with baby steps by focusing on five nutrients that support your immune system. From there you can search more broadly for foods that contain those nutrients.

organic blood oranges provide vitamin cNutrient-dense foods and supplements optimize our immunity. 

Some of the top nutrients that support your immune system are Vitamin A, which contributes to the growth and development of immune cells; Vitamin C, that supports immune cells against oxidative damage by neutralizing free radicals; Vitamin D, which has receptors in almost all immune system cells and regulates and enhances the immune response and is involved in immune cell function; Vitamin E, which helps improve the activity and reproduction of some immune cells and Zinc, a mineral that the immune system relies heavily on for normal development and function of immune cells.

Here are some foods and activities that contain these nutrients:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Deep orange fruits and vegetables
  • Fish oil
  • Broccoli                                                            
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Strawberries
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Almonds
  • Cod-liver oil
  • Hazelnuts
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Cheese
  • Shellfish
  • Beef
  • Fatty fish
  • Pork

The best way to approach your health is to take a step back, look at yourself as an engine and ask yourself “what kind of fuel will allow this engine to perform at its maximum performance level” and then you will be on the right track to a healthier immune system for overall optimal performance.

Select premium ingredients containing vital nutrients from whole foods, and your internal engine will be humming along like a well-oiled machine.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.

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About American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS-Building-ExteriorFounded in 1978, ACHS.edu is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and integrative health. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named two of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2017 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In response to our commitment to service members, veterans and military spouses, ACHS has been designated as one of the top 16% of military-friendly institutions in the U.S. for nine years in a row. For more information visit achs.edu.

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