We've learned in the last two years that it's essential to have a strong immune system. While there is no magic trick, certain nutrients are known to optimize our immune system. Let's take a closer look at the four powerful allies of our immune system.

Food plays a significant role in the immune system as many nutrients and vitamins. They are vital to our system's proper functioning. While we recognize the multifactorial aspect of a strong immune system, based on getting enough quality sleep, regular physical activity, not smoking, and proper stress management, a poor diet can significantly impact the immune response. Indeed, deficiencies or even sub-optimal intakes in our diet can reduce our resistance to various infections.

Of all the vitamins, minerals, trace elements and macronutrients in the diet, four stand out in the fight against infection. These are vitamins C & D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Together with other molecules, these nutrients work as a team to reduce the inflammatory process and contribute to healing. While consuming adequate amounts of these four nutrients does not guarantee immunity, inadequate intakes are most often blamed for the development of infections. Here are some excellent food sources of these four nutrients:

  • Vitamin C: Pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, peppers.
  • Vitamin D: Swordfish, herring, salmon, tuna, trout, cow's milk, fortified plant-based milk (soy, rice, almond, etc. –), vitamin D-fortified yogurt.
  • Zinc: Lamb, beef, snow crab, liver, oysters, pork, chicken (brown meat); almonds, cheese, wheat germ, sunflower seeds.
  • Omega-3's: Anchovies, halibut from Greenland, herring, mackerel, sablefish, sardines, salmon, tuna, trout.

To conclude, selecting our food wisely can help us achieve a healthy diet and a stronger immune system. With a pinch of creativity, an ounce of knowledge and a good dose of determination, it can be done! Eating right helps us feel good about ourselves, think clearly, and it also improves the quality of our sleep.