Health and Nutrition Tips to Support Immunity

| WRITTEN BY: Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN

An ongoing focus on family health can help support immune systems to keep everyone healthy. Use these tips as a guide to focus on the right tactics.

Cold and flu season can be a difficult time to think about nutrition, especially during busy schedules. Luckily, there are so many opportunities to be proactive to keep your children and family healthy that don’t have to add stress to your plate.

I’m delighted to partner with Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® to provide key winter health tips, including my top foods and nutrients, as well as lifestyle strategies to keep you and your family healthy during the winter months.

What is Immunity and How Does it Work?

The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection and disease, including viruses. It is complex and influenced by many factors.

While immunity is often a focus during the winter months, immune health isn’t seasonal. Healthy routines over time are what strengthen the immune system as well as overall health. This includes healthy eating patterns, moving often, and getting enough sleep.

Top Nutrients to Help Support Immunity

Some key nutrients that help with immunity are vitamins A, C, D, and E, protein, iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc. Many of these nutrients (vitamins A, C, and E) act as antioxidants, which can help fight off infection.

Plus, vitamins A, D, and E are all fat-soluble vitamins, so eating good fats (like those found in fresh avocados) is important to maximize nutrient absorption.

Nutrition Benefits of Fresh Avocados and How They Help Support Immunity

Fresh avocados have nutrients that can help support immune health so the body can stay strong against viruses and bacteria.

One serving, 1/3 of a medium avocado, provides:

  • 4% of your daily value of both vitamin C and magnesium
  • 6% of your daily value of vitamin E and vitamin B6
  • 10% of your daily value of copper

Avocados also contain unsaturated fats and are a good source of fiber. Both of these nutrients are good for overall health.

Fiber and Immune Health

A 2014 systematic review, that included five randomized controlled trials with 140 to 830 infants and toddlers in each study, reported a significant decrease in the number of infections requiring antibiotic therapy in children consuming prebiotic fibers. The systematic review relies on published work of others, presenting unique limitations and risk of bias, and the findings cannot be generalized to all populations.

Prebiotic fiber is a type of “fermentable fiber,” which means that the bacteria in our large intestine feed on it and this results in changes in gut microbe populations.

A majority of fermentable fibers are soluble fiber. Avocados contain 3 grams of fiber per serving, or 1/3 of a medium avocado, and 30% of this fiber is soluble. Researchers have been exploring the connection between eating avocados and gut health.

5 Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies for You and Your Family

Integrate these key health tips in your routine to optimize your health.

1. Create healthy routines over time to strengthen your immune system.

This includes:

  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Staying physically active
  • Focusing on good nutrition
  • Washing your hands year-round

2. Incorporate nutrient-dense foods.

Recent studies have shown us that nutrient-dense foods like fresh avocados, paired with nutrition education, can be a pathway to better eating patterns.

Nutrient-dense foods provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients with relatively few calories. For example, one-third of a medium avocado (50 grams) has 80 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy, nutrient-dense food choice.

3. Know when to say “no” or when to delegate when you’re stretched too thin.

While it might seem uncomfortable to say or do at first, the reality is saying “no” is a powerful form of self-care which can help support your health.

Plus, it allows you to show up for the things you do say “yes” to with more energy, focus, and presence, such as taking care of yourself and your family during a busy time of the year. Because after all, one person sick in the household can quickly turn into everyone being sick.

4. Have certain zero-to-little-effort, nutritious meals and snacks on repeat.

These quick & easy nutrient-dense meals and snacks are recipes you can be sure the whole family will enjoy:

5. Find a balance that works for you.

Opportunities to indulge are everywhere, find a balance with enjoying some of your favorites while still encouraging healthy eating practices.

Final Takeaways for Immune Health

It’s important to start healthy eating patterns early in life to build a strong immune system. Try stocking up on nutrient-dense foods and promoting interest and exploration of healthy foods to get the whole family on board with healthy routines.

Love One Today is a fantastic resource for even more information on the health and culinary benefits of fresh avocados.

Leave a comment