Fighting a Cold? Focus on Immune Improving Nutrients

From a stuffy and runny nose to a sore throat, flu season during the winter is never a fun time for anyone.  Add the coronavirus pandemic to the mix and you have a recipe for being sick quickly. We have vaccines to protect ourselves from these diseases and the COVID-19 one is slowly being administered. Other paths exist, such as eating nutrients-rich foods, that protect you from illnesses.

Most Americans aren’t getting enough of these four micro nutrients, so keep reading to learn how you can add these into your diet to fight diseases better and faster.


When you think of iron-rich foods, what the first thing that comes to your mind?

Beef? Pork? Seafood?

You’d be correct. However, iron can be found in other food items including whole grain bread, beans, raisins, and dark-green veggies like broccoli and spinach.

This micronutrient also plays a major role in healing wounds, creating red blood cells, and reproductive health, so children and pregnant women usually need more iron compared to other demographics.


Dairy products and salmon are the usual culprits for food sources containing calcium.

For individuals on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you are not alone. Green veggies such as spinach, broccoli, and kale; fortified cereals and juices; and almond, coconut, and rice milk are excellent food items with calcium.

Not only does this nutrient aid in bone & teeth health, but it aids in better muscles, heart, and nerve function.


I automatically thought of bananas when hearing the word “potassium” growing up, but other plant-based sources like potatoes and sweet potatoes, white beans, yogurt, oranges, tomatoes, and fruit juices are packed with this mineral.

Potassium aids in muscles, heart, and nerve function just like calcium, and also helps with digesting carbs and forming protein in the body.

Vitamin D

Since we are past the winter solstice, there will be more sunlight and a higher chance to gain Vitamin D. It’s always easier to eat food to get the nutrients you need.

This blood-pressure regulating, bone-growing, and hormone-producing vitamin can be found in eggs, fortified products (cereals, dairy, orange juice, etc.), and fish like salmon and tuna.

Building Your Immune Supporting Meal

You will find that some food items I mentioned contain more than one of these vitamins.

Prunes have potassium and iron, while dairy products are great sources of vitamin D, calcium, and potassium.

Here are simple meal suggestions throughout the day for three meals:

Breakfast: Yogurt with sliced bananas and dried prunes; fortified cereal with almond milk and a cup of orange juice

Lunch: Salad with roasted tomatoes, spinach, and chopped chicken; egg sandwich with whole wheat bread

Dinner: Chili with white beans; glazed salmon or tuna with sauteed asparagus; a 3-ounce filet mignon and mashed potatoes

As always, building your meals is as simple as putting together ingredients, especially for protecting yourself from diseases.

Thumbnail credit to Photo from UC Health