Eating a Rainbow of Foods Can Promote Strong Immune Health
To fight off flu season this year, you may be wondering what type of foods you can eat to promote a strong immune system. Although there is no miracle food, having a diet that contains a wide variety of nutrients can be advantageous for your health.
To function to its fullest capability, the body needs vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, minerals, fats, and phytonutrients. More often than not, most diets in the United States consists of junk food, processed meat, and excess sugar. With a diet like this, our immune systems are not getting the nutrients they need, making us vulnerable to chronic disease.
The best way to give your body the nutrients that it needs, you need to think of your diet as a rainbow.
Foods that are red, orange, and yellow have a higher probability to carry vitamin C. Vitamin C is a key component in helping promote a strong immune system. Good sources of vitamin C include red bell peppers, strawberries, citrus, fruits, and tomatoes. Keep in mind that these foods are often best eaten raw. Cooking or storing these vitamin-enriched foods can reduce the vitamin C content.
Leafy green vegetables are loaded with many powerful nutrients. Green vegetables often have a high percentage of vitamin D. Your Vitamin D intake and the status of your immune system goes hand in hand. Vitamin D helps activate an anti-microbial response that helps you fight off and foreign germs before it leads to an infection.
Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and arugula are all high in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and magnesium. Not only can these vegetables help you strengthen your immune system, but research has shown that they may play a role in lowering your risk of prostate, colorectal, lung and breast cancer.
Foods that are blue and violet hued, like dried prunes or figs, are rich in fiber. Research indicated that soluble fiber helps to boost the production of the protein interleukin-4. This protein helps to stimulate the body’s infection-fighting T-cells, meaning you can recover from your sickness faster.
While eating a collection of colorful vegetables will help your immune system get in tip-top shape, don’t forget your blander colored foods. Garlic and Brazil nuts may not be colorful but are great sources of selenium, a mineral that helps your body make proteins that help prevent cell damage. Additionally, the bacteria found in yogurt can be quite beneficial in keeping your gut microbiome healthy.
For Martha Gipprich, a career in healthcare wasn’t something she decided to do but rather felt called to do. From the time she was in elementary school, Martha loved to help people and by the time she reached college she knew that healthcare was where she wanted to be. She attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she received her Bachelor of Health Sciences in May 2008 and then subsequently earned her Master’s of Physician Assistant in August 2009.
Currently, Martha is working at Sunrise Pediatrics in Reading, Pennsylvania as a Physician Assistant where she’s been since June 2016. Here she has a number of responsibilities as she works with both acute and chronic pediatric patients to help both evaluate and treat them. Martha handles reviewing and assessing all incoming patient results including lab tests, consults, and x-rays. She excels in fast-paced environments, and at Sunrise she sees up to 6 patients an hour to better serve the people in her care.
Prior to working at Sunrise Pediatrics, Martha Gipprich worked at Collegeville Medical Center from December 2014 to May 2016 as a full-time Physician Assistant and Office Manager. Here she balanced dual responsibilities that included working with clients and making sure the office was operating smoothly. She managed the healthcare staff and office, ordered office and medical supplies, and crafted successful weight loss and medicine protocol while also performing her duties as a Physician Assistant which included examining and evaluating patients, performing injections, and ordering diagnostic testing when necessary. She was also responsible for streamlining laboratory tasks like venipuncture, interpreting serum allergy tests, and processing blood and urine tests.
Previously, Martha worked for over a year as a Physician Assistant at Patient First Urgent Care in Pottstown, PA. While at Patient First, she met with an average of 4-5 patients an hour whom she diagnosed and treated across an array of medical needs include strep throat, fractured bones, and coronary syndromes.
Alongside her day to day work, Martha Gipprich’s natural inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn have prompted a love for research, as well. Through Drexel University, Martha has begun taking classes on clinical research in their Certificate of Study in Clinical Research Online program in the hopes of incorporating this into her profession in the future.
Outside of work, Martha is the proud mother of her one year old son, who she loves more than anything. Currently, Martha and her partner are renovating their home, which is taking up quite a bit of their time outside of work; when they do like to enjoy their downtime, they like vacationing in Asbury Park, NJ and visiting Longwood Gardens.