sports science

It’s About That Time of the Year…

Fall is officially here! For some of us, this is the time of year when our immune systems struggle. It may seem inevitable that you’ll pick up the cold or flu, but following a balanced diet year-round can actually help you beat the odds.

Good nutrition promotes a strong immune system before you get sick. This includes eating lots of fruits, vegetables (think beyond potatoes and corn), lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats like nuts and seeds—all while reducing the processed food in your routine. Help protect yourself from infection and boost your immunity by including the following nutrients in your diet.

Eat the Rainbow
Vitamin A

Function: Protects us from infection by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach and intestines healthy.

Foods: Broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, cod liver oil, eggs

Vitamin C

Function: Protects us as a potent antioxidant by fighting off free radicals and boosting immunity.

Foods: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, bell peppers, kiwi, oranges, papaya, strawberries, melons

Vitamin E

Function: Protects our tissues from pre-mature aging by fighting off free radicals and improving overall immunity.

Foods: Nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, poultry, eggs


Function: Helps the immune system work properly by aiding in the repair of all cells.

Foods: Oysters, red meat, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, seeds


Function: The majority of your immune function comes from the healthy bacteria in your gut (digestive system). A balanced diet, limited in sugar and processed foods, will keep your microbiome happy and your immunity strong. Probiotics are “good bacteria” that help keep the ecosystem in our gut healthy.

Foods: Yogurt, fermented veggies (like sauerkraut), kefir, tempeh, kombucha


Function: Act as the “food” for the good bacteria in our gut. We need to eat prebiotics in the form of fibrous foods to feed and increase the beneficial bacteria in our digestive system.

Foods: Artichoke, garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, oats, beans, apples

Still Got Sick?

If you lead a healthy lifestyle, keep a balanced diet, and still get sick—stick to the basics: rest, hydrate and continue to eat nutrient-dense meals. Consistently eating a high-quality diet will allow you to fight off illness quicker. Fruits and vegetables are your friends!!

Nutrition for the win,


Dopart, S. B., & Batchelor, J. M. (2009). A Recipe for Life: By the Doctor's Dietitian (1.2nd ed.). Santa Monica, CA: SGJ Publishing.