TAMPA, Fla. — You've probably been focusing on the basics to keep from getting sick – washing your hands and disinfecting your home and work areas.
But staying healthy isn't just about cleanliness and hygiene. What you put in your body is just as important because eating right can help maintain your immune system.
"There's no one specific diet that is an immune booster," Dr. Crystal Jacovino said. She's an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at USF Health.
That's because the immune system is exactly that – a network of cells, tissues, proteins and organs working together with a common mission. Jacovino says maintaining the immune system is more of a lifestyle.
"It is a marathon, not a sprint. We are preparing our bodies, preparing our immune systems the whole year long. It doesn't do any good to all the sudden eat your vegetables during cold and flu season," Jacovino said.
"We want to train ourselves for the whole year by making healthy choices."
So, what should we be eating?
"I recommend lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins. I also recommend avoidance of certain foods, such as fried or fatty foods, red meats, sodas, juices, things like that," Jacovino said.
Here are five things to think about adding to your diet right now:
- Fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C
- Lean and plant based proteins
- Green Tea
And of course drink lots of water to stay hydrated!