Sign up for our newsletter to receive recipes and food news in your inbox every day! Autumn is here, which means apple pie, pumpkin carving and as much pumpkin spice as possible. Unfortunately, autumn also means a drop in temperatures and an increase in the flu season. With this in mind, and with an ongoing pandemic, boosting your immune system is now more important than ever.
This is especially true for people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s because your immune function becomes weaker as you age. And while your immunity may face more challenges each year, the food you eat can help keep your immune system stronger.
We spoke to some nutrition experts for their recommendations on immune boosting foods, and here is what they said are the best foods to use to boost your immunity after 50. Then check out our list of the 7 Healthiest Foods You Should Eat Right Now.
“Maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut is believed to strengthen the immune system, and that’s because about 70% of your body’s immune system is in your gut,” says Sheri Kasper RDN, LDN.
Yogurt is a great way to keep your intestines healthy because it contains probiotics known as “good bacteria”.
In addition, according to Courtney D’Angelo MD, RD, yogurt also contains vitamin D, a vitamin necessary for boosting our immunity.
Find the best yogurt in the business with our guide to the best and worst yogurts on the shelf in 2021!
Spinach is packed with nutrients, which is why D’Angelo calls it a superfood.
“Spinach contains folic acid, which helps your body build new cells and replace DNA, and it’s also high in fiber and antioxidants that can help your digestive system and overall health,” says D’Angelo.
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According to Kasper, red peppers are great for immunity because of their vitamin C and vitamin A content.
“Red peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges and vitamin C promotes the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for defending against pathogens,” says Kasper.
Vitamin A, which is helpful in supporting the immune system, is also found in red peppers.
“Vitamin A is important for maintaining the natural mucous barriers in the eyes, intestines and other parts of the body, “says Kasper.” These barriers are designed to trap bacteria and are essential for optimal immunity. “
Kasper also adds that it helps to specifically choose red peppers because they contain higher levels of vitamins C and A than green peppers.
Because of its vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid content, Kasper recommends fatty fish, especially farmed salmon, to strengthen immunity from the age of 50.
“While vitamin D is often linked to bone health, emerging research is on Boston University suggests that it can also be crucial for proper immune function, “says Kasper.
She also mentions that while you can get vitamin D in other foods, you can get up to a third of your daily vitamin D needs in one serving of farmed salmon!
In addition to vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids are also an important component in strengthening immunity.
“Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in abundance in farmed salmon, have strong anti-inflammatory effects and support the immune system by reducing chronic inflammation, ”says Kasper.
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