Grundy County Memorial Hospital | Live Well | Fall 2020

Eat well to keep your immune system strong Standard U.S. Postage PAID Grundy County Memorial Hospital 201 E. J Ave. Grundy Center, IA 50638 Information in LIVE WELL comes from a wide range of medical experts. If you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health, please contact your health care provider. Models may be used in photos and illustrations. 2020 © Coffey Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. Adam Scherling Administrator Keely Harken Communication & Foundation Program Manager Newsletter Editor Crystal Petersen Wellness Program Manager LIVE WELL is published as a community service for the residents of the service area of Grundy County Memorial Hospital, 201 East J Ave., Grundy Center, IA 50638, , 319-824-5421 by Crystal Petersen, RDN, LD, Wellness Program Manager By now, you know the advice on protect- ing yourself and others from COVID-19. But the message from dietitians doesn’t change, whether we’re discussing a pandemic or preventing heart disease or diabetes: Eat healthy foods. Eating nutritiously is a consistent way to maintain good health. A healthy diet strengthens your immune system, and a strong immune system helps protect you from illness. And while no one food or diet can prevent illness or the coronavirus, eating healthy can help your body prevent, fight and recover from infections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crystal Petersen, RDN, LD What does healthy eating look like? Of course, it’s best to keep your im- mune system healthy all the time, not just when a contagious virus is a threat. That means focus- ing on a well-balanced diet with plenty of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which are filled with nutrients that can help strengthen your immune system. Probiotics. These good bacteria can be found in cultured dairy products, like yogurt. Protein. This may be especially helpful in healing and recovery. You can find this in plant and animal prod- ucts, such as milk, eggs, beef, chicken, fish, nuts, beans and seeds. Vitamin A. This helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections. Look for it in broccoli, spin- ach, eggs, or milk and cereal fortified with vitamin A. Vitamin C. Look for this in citrus fruits. It helps the immune system by increasing the amount of antibodies in your system. Vitamin D. Find it in fatty fish and eggs, as well as drinks fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin E. This works as an antioxi- dant. Antioxidants decrease inflamma- tion. Find vitamin E in fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils and peanut butter. Zinc. This may help wounds heal. You can find it in wheat germ, beans and tofu. But zinc is best absorbed from animal sources like beef and fish. The best way to get the nutrients your immune system needs is to include a wide variety of healthy foods in your diet. That’s usually a better option than a supplement. Overloading on specific nutrients won’t give your immune system a super boost. And taking too much of some of them can actually do more harm than good.