Bariatric Surgery Success

Bariatric Surgery Success

#62 Support Your Immune System with These 5 Vitamins & Minerals

August 25, 2021

Want a strong and heathy immune system? Who doesn’t right? The foods you eat and the vitamins and minerals they contain play a starring role in keeping your immune system in top form. Let’s talk about 5 vitamins and minerals that are among the top contenders for supporting immunity and then, where you find them in food. for free samples. Use Code: Susan10 to save 10%

Hi, I’m registered dietitian nutritionist Dr. Susan Mitchell. You’re listening to the Bariatric Surgery Success podcast episode number 62. Most of my career I’ve worked in some type of media, particularly radio where I did morning drive nutrition spots for over 18 years. That’s what lead me to start podcasting and ultimately to you. I created Bariatric Surgery Success to provide you with life-changing information based on science along with simple strategies and tools to help you be successful in your transformation and your entire journey. So happy you’ve connected with me. You’re in the right place and I’m glad you’re listening.

During the covid pandemic we hear a lot about immunity and compromised immune systems. What is your immune system? Think of it like the Internet and an intricate broadband network where you have to be on guard for hackers. Your immune system is also an intricate system that goes into action when it determines that some type of foreign invader has tried to hack into your body in the form of bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Your body needs numerous vitamins and minerals in order to keep your immune system strong and alert. Think of it like training for the Olympics. It takes time, practice and focus to succeed in your sport. It’s the same with your immunity. The goal is to focus on eating foods loaded with vitamins and minerals day after day over time so that when your immunity is challenged by illness, it’s optimized and ready to respond.

Let’s focus on 5 vitamins and minerals important in supporting immunity along with what they do and where to find them in food.

1. Vitamin C: known for its role in the healing process and the ability to fight infection and potentially shorten how long an infection lasts. What food first comes to your mind when you think of Vitamin C? Citrus, like oranges, tangerines and grapefruit? They’re great sources but don’t forget about papaya, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers and berries like blackberries and strawberries and kiwi. It’s rare that you need extra vitamin C supplements as it’s easy to find in so many foods.

2. Vitamin D: you may have heard vitamin D mentioned a lot in the Covid conversation. It’s one one of the most powerful vitamins for your immunity. However, there are not a lot of food sources. Salmon, tuna and sardines, egg yolks and some mushrooms contain vitamin D and also fortified products like orange juice, milk and various cereals. What does fortified mean? Fortified means that the food item did not originally contain vitamin D so it was added to it similar to adding vitamin D to a multi vitamin supplement but in food. Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that you will likely need from both food and supplements in order to reach the blood level needed.

Go back and listen to podcast #54 It covers the must have vitamin and mineral supplements after bariatric surgery. Part 2 covers vitamin  D more in depth and the benefits of vitamin D3.

3. Zinc: found mainly in animal foods, zinc helps the body make new immune system cells.  Oysters, crab, shrimp and mussels along with lean meats and poultry are all sources but you can find zinc in legumes, like chickpeas, lentils and beans. Don’t forget milk, cheese and nuts such as peanuts, cashews and almonds. Lots of choices for zinc so it's rare that you need extra beyond what will be in your food and daily bariatric multi.

4. Iron: your body uses iron to help carry oxygen to cells and is active in many immune processes. In other episodes we’ve talked about how important iron is after bariatric surgery and that it’s one of the minerals you’re likely to be low in. As a reminder, the body more easily absorbs and uses iron from animal products called heme iron. Plants can also be sources of iron too but it’s not absorbed and used as well by the body. Think about adding various beans such as black or kidney along with kale and broccoli to your diet.

5. Vitamin E: also helps regulate immune functions. Some food sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, avocado and spinach.

What did you notice about nuts and spinach? They’ve  been mentioned already for their zinc and vitamin C content. This is the beauty of food. Foods are typically not just a one-vitamin wonder, but supply a team of nutrients working together for your benefit. That’s why food first is a smart focus followed by supplements rounding out what you need more of due to your surgery.

So remember, vitamins C, D and E along with zinc and iron help support your immunity. Be sure and choose some of the foods we talked about for your daily diet to keep your immunity system healthy.

Stay focused on your journey, you’re worth it.