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:
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.
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 tagineor just add a spoon to any savoury dish you're making? This tagine also uses sweets potato below.
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 ofacerola 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.
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
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!
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!