What’s up with season change and coming down with what seems like the inevitable cold?
Looks like I just came down with one today, which is of course the exact moment I ask myself, how has my vitamin and mineral intake been lately?
Before you end up like me — curled up in piles of blankets with the sniffles and head fogginess — might I suggest checking in on your nutrient intake of today’s food (not just what comes packaged nicely in your daily vitamin supplement).
Tracking Micronutrients on Your Phone
Every once in awhile, I do this by tracking my food in an app. There are a lot of free apps on iPhone and Android that offer food logging, as well as calorie and nutrient tracking, and it just requires a quick search of “food tracking app” in your app store.
To be clear, we want to use this app to track micronutrients, not macronutrients (carbs, fats, or proteins). Micronutrients, as a Harvard Medical School article states, have a huge impact on health, and it’s ideal to get those essential vitamins and minerals from our diet rather than supplements.
A few of the free apps I’ve personally used that include this capability include Wholesome, MyNetDiary, and Sustainabody.
If you’re already tracking calories, this could be as simple as checking in on those nutrients associated with the food you already input into your app daily. If you’re not tracking your food, this might seem a bit hasslesome at first, but getting a realistic idea of where you’re diet might be lacking in nutrients can help you be proactive about fighting off cold and flu season.
Simply log your food for a few days — 3 to 5 weekdays should be plenty to get a clear picture of your average routine eating — then see how your nutrient levels compare to your recommended daily values (all of which should be available in your chosen app). The micronutrients below will specifically help with keeping you feeling healthy and moving.
Micronutrient-Rich Autumn Produce for a Strong Immune System
The following micronutrients are important in keeping that immune system revving and ready to take on sick season.
If your levels are a bit below the FDA recommended daily values, here’s a quick list of some whole foods that are in-season during autumn, so you can up those nutrient levels with fresh produce.
Vitamin B6 — sweet potatoes with the skin, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, nuts, acorn squash, pumpkin, turnips
Vitamin C — sweet potatoes with the skin, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, acorn squash, asian pear, garlic, grapes, swiss chard, turnips, apples
Vitamin E — sweet potatoes with the skin, nuts, broccoli, pumpkin, swiss chard, sunflower seeds, butternut squash
Magnesium — cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, figs
Zinc — broccoli, cremini mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, nuts
If you’re looking to throw all of these into an immune-system-packed punch, toss a mix of these together in this easy 10-minute veggie bake recipe. Easy peasy, and you’ll be well on your way to staying healthy during this season change.
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