What you eat truly is the foundation of overall health. But, choosing the ideal diet can be challenging as the "right diet" can vary based on age, health status, food intolerances and other factors. The following is a general guide. For recommendations specific to you or your family members it is always best to work with your naturopathic doctor.
General "Rules"Although there is not one diet that is best for everyone, here are some general "rules" to keep in mind:
- Eat primarily to be healthy
- Eat from all the food groups
- Ensure proper portions.
- Eat regular meals.
- 75% whole foods
To learn more about these general rules, check out our blog Nutrition - Top 5 Things to Remember.
Foods That Support Immune Function
- Vitamin C: blackcurrant, broccoli, citrus fruits, kale, parsley, spinach
- Vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, chicory, dill, dried apricots, egg yolk, kale, liver, parsley, red pepper.
- Vitamin B6: avocados, walnuts, spinach, nuts and seeds, whole grains
- Vitamin B12: beef, poultry, fish, dairy, sauerkraut, seaweed
- Vitamin D: butter, dairy, eggs, liver, sardines, mackerel, oatmeal, oysters, salmon, shitake, sprouts, sweet potatoes, tuna
- Omega 3 oils: fish such as sardine, mackeral, salmon and tuna, almonds, avocado, beans, chia seeds, linseeds, olive oil, spinach, walnuts
- Folic Acid: dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruit, dried beans, peas, whole grains.
- Copper: liver, oysters, cashews, soy beans, dark leafy greens, avocados, kale, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, legumes, dried fruits
- Zinc: oysters, seafood, pumpkin seeds, beef, chicken, cashews, brazil nuts, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, hazel nuts and whole grains.
Foods That Contribute to Inflammation
- If you have known food intolerances, it is recommended to limit these as much as possible.
- Limit refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pastries, cookies, white rice and other "white" highly processed foods.
- Avoid trans fats, vegetable oils and foods high in sugar.
- If you have mucous-related symptoms limit dairy, wheat, yeast and bananas. Fruit is healthy, but it is important to limit your fruit intake to a couple servings a day.
- Water. Drink about 1/2 your body weight in ounces a day.
- Herbal teas are a great alternative. There are a number of herbal teas that also support immune and respiratory health.
- Green drinks and diluted vegetables juices can be beneficial as long as the sugar content is minimized.
Foods That Might Weaken Immune Function
- Sugar. The consumption of refined glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, pop and high-sugar juices, have been shown to compromise the immune system for three to five hours.
- Salt. Avoid high-salt foods such as processed meats and processed foods such as soups and packaged foods.
- Junk Food. Most people enjoy a bit of junk food every now and then, but it is important to limit it or avoid it completely when working on strengthening overall immune health. Junk food is generally nutrient deficient and high in salt and/or sugar.