Super charge your immune system and add some heat to the dinner table with this nutrient-packed meal that’s ready in just 40 minutes.
Feed Your Immune System
We know the immune system is important for staying healthy, but what exactly is it and what can we do to support it?
The immune system is a complicated network of cells, tissues and organs in your body that protect against infection and disease. Given that there are so many pieces to the puzzle, there’s not one easy fix that can transform a weak immune system into a strong one in a snap of the fingers, but nutrition certainly plays an important role in its function.
Key Nutrients For Supporting Your Immune System
There are certain micronutrients in the foods we eat that play a key role in supporting the immune system1. An important step you can take for your immunity is to ensure you’re getting the recommended daily allowances2 of these nutrients. Find out how each of them serves your body and which foods you can find them in.
Helps build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium.3
Acts as an antioxidant to help protect cells from damage, absorb iron from plant-based foods and support proper immune function.4
Helps the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs work properly.5
Plays an important role in immune function and is needed for more than 100 enzyme reactions involved in metabolism.6
Helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.7
Fights off invading bacteria and viruses while also helping widen blood vessels to prevent blood clots.8
Protects the body from infection and damage caused by free radicals.9
Helps make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body, and myoglobin, which provides oxygen to muscles.10
Helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.11
Needed by the body to make DNA and other genetic material.12
Used by the body to make energy, connective tissues and blood vessels, and to help maintain the nervous and immune systems.13
Healthy Hacks for Immune Support
Healthy eating habits can also help support your immune system. Here are some easy tips you can incorporate every day.
Make half your plate fruit and veggies.
Make half your grains whole grains.
Vary your protein routine.
Consume less sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.
Quick Tips From a Registered Dietitian
Mushrooms are one of my all-time favorite foods. Not only do they add a delicious umami-rich flavor to dishes, but they’re full of good nutrition. A small handful of just four UV-exposed crimini mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D, which is important when over 40% of the U.S. population is deficient. My favorite way to enjoy mushrooms is to chop them up and toss them with my favorite pasta sauce.Emily Weeks, RDN, LD Culinary Dietitian, Food Photographer, Cookbook Author, Creator of Zen & Spice
Hungry for some healthy eats? Dig into these dietitian-approved recipes.
Eat your vitamins A, B and C with this nutrient-packed weeknight meal that everyone will love.
All the comforting flavors of lasagna with less work! Lasagna soup is packed with crimini mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and lasagna noodles.
Feed your immune system with meaty, vitamin D-rich portabella mushrooms in these super-gyro sandwiches!
Rotisserie chicken, crispy red potatoes and flavorful roasted mushrooms sit atop a bed of nutritious greens. This salad is the perfect excuse to use leftover rotisserie chicken.
Sheet Pan Mushroom Fajitas from Chelsey Amer, MS, RD are a Mexican-inspired one-pan meal that’s simple, delicious, and nutritious for the entire family to enjoy.
This unique spin on a cobb salad features everything you love about a traditional cobb with the addition of delicious smashed potatoes and crimini mushrooms.
These zoodles are full of bold flavors and they are ideal for a light lunch or dinner. They can stand as a meal on their own, or serve them as a side with grilled fish or chicken.
A mix of crimini mushrooms are marinated in an Asian-inspired dressing and paired with hearty grains and lentils alongside crunchy vegetables.
Start the day strong with this savory whole grain breakfast bowl that includes sliced portabella mushrooms and a curry yogurt tahini topping. We’ve used barley, but feel free to swap it with your favorite grain such as quinoa or wild rice.
Download the Feed Your Immune System PDFDownload
1https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/immunity. Written in March 2016 by: Giana Angelo, Ph.D. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. Reviewed in February 2017 by: Catherine Field, Ph.D. Professor of Nutrition, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta. This link leads to a website provided by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. The Mushroom Council® is not affiliated or endorsed by the Linus Pauling Institute or Oregon State University. Accessed November 19, 2020.
2https://www.fda.gov/media/99069/download, Accessed November 20, 2020
3https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/, Accessed November 20, 2020
4https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
5https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
6https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
7https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
8https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
9https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
10https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
11https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
12https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020
13https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-Consumer/, Accessed November 22, 2020