The Top 10 Foods to Eat to Protect Your Immune System

Protect your immune system to fight coronavirus!

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With the World Health Organisation (WHO) now declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, make sure you’re eating the best foods to protect your immune system, which needs to be strong to fight the virus.

Which nutrients are good for your immune system?

These are the nutrients sanctioned by the European Food Safety Authority with health claims to protect your immune system:

Copper | Iron | Selenium | Vitamin A | Vitamin B6 | Vitamin C | Vitamin D | Folate (B9) | Zinc

Click on any name to see the most potent ingredients.

So, which foods are good for your immune system?

These are our top ten foods to eat, to get as many of those nutrients as possible:

Liver | Soya Mince | Crab | Salmon | Squid-Calamari | Spinach | Natural Yeast Extract | Sweet Potato | Beef | Orange Juice

These are our favourites that tick all the boxes and are easy to include in your diet.

It is by no means a definitive list, but all these foods, except orange juice, have more than one of the nutrients listed above, that will protect your immune system. Below is more information about each one and ways to include them in your diet. 

Liver



Liver - is high in copper, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, iron and folate (B), making it the out and out best food for protecting your immune system

Why not try this great chicken liver pate and have a little every day or simply cook up some liver and blitz, then freeze in ice cube trays and add to casseroles, stews and sauces.



Soya mince



Soya mince is great for copper, iron, folate and vitamin B6. If you don’t fancy going completely veggie try mixing half and half with beef mince.

Try it in this scrummy vegan chilli, which is also very high in copper and vitamin A


Crab



Crab is high in zinc, copper and selenium. You’ve got to try Singapore crab for a special meal or just try adding some crab to your fish pie for a great boost.

Salmon is great for vitamin D, selenium and vitamin B6. Try these everyday fishcakes to get everyone eating salmon, or serve simply with a salad.

Spinach is great for folate (B9), vitamin A and iron. Try it in a fabulous Spanakopita - Greek spinach pie or drop a cube of frozen spinach into stews casseroles, rice dishes - anything.

Calamari/squid are great for copper, vitamin B6 and selenium. Try making your own salt and pepper squid, pick the calamari starter next time you’re eating out or grab a bag from the freezer section of your local supermarket and make your own.

Natural yeast extract is great for Folate (B9) and vitamin B6, if you’re a vegan you can get it with added vitamin B12. Why not try this fab vegan tagine or just add a spoon to any savoury dish you're making? This tagine also uses sweets potato below.

Sweet potato is good for vitamin A and vitamin C. Use in the tagine above, try mixing half and half with potato for a great mash, just bake or try this  sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry!


Beef



Beef is high in zinc and vitamin B6, mince is the most versatile way to include beef in your diet and making a classic lasagne will also give you great amounts of iron, selenium and vitamin A

Fresh oranges or orange juice are the easiest way to get your fill of vitamin C. 

But if you can’t face orange juice every day then get yourself a bottle of acerola cherry juice. It’s super high in vitamin C. Just a spoon a day will give you all the vitamin C you need. Get it from your local health food shop or order online, it’s one of the superfoods we have a shot of everyday!

A note about Vitamin D

Vitamin D is particularly important for your immune system and it’s quite difficult to get enough through your food.

Sunshine is the best way to get your vitamin D, so if you can get outside for a few minutes, check here how long for, then try to do so. 

If that’s impossible then these supplements are from natural sources and are suitable for vegans. Please note we don’t make any money from recommending these. 

A bonus ingredient for you:

Oysters are great for iron, zinc, copper and selenium. Remember to only eat them in months with an R in. If you don’t like them raw how about trying oysters Kilpatrick


Finally

Just a reminder of the nutrients:

Copper, Iron, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Folate (B9) and Zinc

The above list is just a snapshot of the foods that are high in these immune system protecting nutrients. There are many more ingredients and recipes that score highly for one or more of these nutrients.

To check if your favourite foods are high, simply search for them on CheckYourFood.com and look at the top 6 nutrients, they need to be over 30% of your RDA (recommended daily allowance) for any of the nutrients listed.

If you want to make sure you’re getting 100% of your RDA for these all these nutrients, then the best thing to do is keep a food diary, we do 😊. You can keep one for free, with our Free for Life account, just click below. 

I hope this blog has been a helpful starting point to understanding the power of ordinary food and how you can protect yourself from illness. Most chronic diseases are caused by poor nutrition (WHO). Make sure you’re not one of those people! 



Surya Wright

Co-founder, production manager

I'm our communications and marketing person, dealing with social media and copywriting. I also work with Matt and Ric overseeing the design and strategic management of the site. I'm also the author of the Eva the Hungry Amoeba children's book series (only one so far). You can find it on Amazon. My favourite foods, shepherds pie and smoked haddock!

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