Where there is fear, there is usually a lot of misinformation. When it comes to preventing illness, most people know their immune system is important, but might be confused about how to support it.
Your clients are navigating a sea of unrealistic marketing claims for pills, potions, and powders to “boost” their immune system. They are probably asking you what to eat to prevent getting sick. As a health professional, you can be a source of quality information and resources for your clients to stay healthy.
We just released our Immune Support Program for That Clean Life members. This is a seven-day meal plan with a focus on key nutrients for supporting immunity with delicious food they can make at home.
Here are five key nutrients to talk to your clients about if they want to support their immune system:
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a powerful anti-oxidant with a critical role in enhancing immune function. This micronutrient is involved in cellular immune response and provides enhanced defense against multiple infectious diseases.(1)
Vitamin A is found in bright orange and yellow foods like sweet potato, mango, carrots, and bell peppers, and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is probably the most well-known anti-oxidant, and thousands of people take high-dose supplements with hopes of "boosting" their immune system. However, research shows that vitamin C from food at a dose of 100 mg to 200 mg per day is effective at preventing respiratory infections.(2)
Our Immune Support Program provides an average of 500 mg per day of vitamin C from whole food sources like strawberries, cauliflower, red bell peppers, mango, and grapefruit.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E plays an important role in immune function and supplementation has even been shown to reduce respiratory infection in the elderly.(3) Most typical diets do not provide adequate vitamin E, but deficiency symptoms can be subtle so individuals may not know if they are deficient.(4)
Rather than relying on supplements, deficiency can be prevented through adequate dietary intake of foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and plant-based oils as a way to keep the immune system functioning optimally. One of the reasons we see a significant decline in cellular immunity with aging could be due to inadequate intake of anti-oxidants like vitamin E. Diets high in vitamin E naturally improve cellular immunity, even without supplementation.(5)
Selenium is an essential mineral that acts as a powerful anti-oxidant. Adequate dietary selenium is required for the function of almost every arm of the immune system, so falling short can have serious consequences when it comes to fighting infections.(6)
Brazil nuts are extremely high in selenium, but can easily exceed the daily upper limit and cause toxicity if eaten frequently. Sardines are an excellent source of selenium that can be eaten more frequently and provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats which also have beneficial effects on the immune system.
Our Immune Support Program incorporates sardines as well as other foods high in selenium like eggs, beef, and oats.
Like selenium, zinc is an essential mineral critical for immune function. Even mild to moderate zinc deficiency can impair immune function and increase risk of respiratory infections, so adequate dietary zinc should be emphasized for anyone looking to protect their immune system.(7)
Zinc is found in whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and meat so eating a diet high in whole foods is key to getting enough zinc. Like vitamin C, zinc supplements are popular for immunity, but helping your clients keep zinc levels adequate through diet means supplements won’t be needed to reverse a deficiency later on.
Meal Planning for Immunity
That Clean Life makes meal planning for immunity simple by allowing you to search for recipes high in key nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, selenium, and zinc.
Our Immune Support Program is a seven-day meal plan created to help your clients support their immune system through diet. The program includes delicious recipes for three meals and two snacks per day, a shopping list and a prep guide to keep clients organized in the kitchen.
Here's a template for introducing your clients to this meal plan. You can copy and paste it as a brief before exporting your plan from That Clean Life.
Welcome to your meal plan! On the next few pages, you will find an immune support meal plan, along with an itemized grocery list and delicious recipes.
While no single food or nutrient can prevent or cure viral infections, consistently meeting requirements of certain key nutrients will support your immune system and reduce the risk of health complications.
This meal plan contains recipes high in nutrients known to support the immune system:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Grocery List Tips
I have included a full grocery list that outlines the ingredients you will need to follow this meal plan. Before you head out to do your shopping, take some time to go through the list and check off any items you already have. This will save you time and money!
The grocery list is organized into categories based on how a typical grocery store is laid out. This will allow you to do your grocery shopping in an organized order starting with fruits, then vegetables, etc. Doing your shopping this way will save you time.
Every recipe states the total number of servings and the total prep time so that you know how many servings the recipe creates, and how long it will take you to make it. Before you start cooking, assemble all ingredients and prep them according to the ingredients list. Unless otherwise indicated, you will be eating one serving of each meal. So if a recipe serves four, prepare it, divide it into four even portions and enjoy one portion.
You'll notice that some meals on the plan are shaded out. This means that the meal has been marked as a leftover. You've already prepared it, so you do not need to make it again. Cook once, eat multiple times. Leftovers are a great way to save you money and time in the kitchen!
Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!
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