Can’t View this email? View it Online

Salisbury University Dietitian Newsletter  |  May 2020 

the nutritious nibble

In This Issue:

Nutrients and Foods to Support the Immune System | Food Fun

Keep Your Immune System in Top Form

By Terry Passano, University Dietician

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body.

To achieve something, we must first believe we can achieve it. And, we can!


Recently, we’ve all been concerned with our health and immunity, and it has me thinking. Am I doing enough to protect myself and my family? What if we get sick and are hit hard? I’ve always been a big advocate of prevention – I’m a nutritionist after all. For decades, I’ve been emphasizing the fundamental importance of living well and doing the things necessary to prevent disease before it shows itself.Hopefully, we’re familiar with the basics; seven-nine hours of sleep, fresh air, moderate exercise, practicing spiritual connectedness as it suits us, positive self-talk and of, course, healthy eating. Introduce yourself to the Mediterranean Diet here. It is well-researched with consistently positive results. I’ve seen that flour and sugar are as rare on the grocery store shelves as toilet paper, so it seems we’re getting into the fun foods too!

What I want to focus on today is how to practice prevention by supporting our immune system through specific foods.

These, along with a sound diet, support a well-oiled immune system in good times as well as when the challenges come. They always do. We can face them and win.


The following phytonutrients and vitamins work to support the immune system and/or have antiviral effects. I’ll spare you the science, most of it anyway, and provide real-life ways to make them a part of your life. Much of this list comes from the Institute of Functional Medicine. I’m not giving supplement recommendations. I believe that it’s infinitely more beneficial to obtain nutrients from food when we can. In recent years, we have become aware of thousands of phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals and bioactives, that are in plant foods. Many have been researched, especially polyphenols, and found to have interesting qualities that help fight inflammation and disease. Some work in concert with one another or other foods. There is much more to learn though. The more we know, the more we see we need to learn. Suffice it to say that our body is designed to derive what it needs from foods, something a supplement cannot reproduce.

Nutrients and Foods to Support the Immune System

Quercetin – Found in the allium family: onions, leeks, chives, shallots, scallions and garlic; and in apples, radishes, radish leaves, turmeric, elderberry, capers, sorrel and fennel. Even small amounts consumed often are beneficial. Quercetin has antiviral effects, is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Chop your garlic 10 minutes before cooking for increased benefit. Here’s a kitchen hack to easily peel garlic.

Curcumin – Found in turmeric, this is a popular anti-inflammatory. Use this beautiful yellow orange spice in a curry blend. Make sure to add some olive oil or butter and pepper to the dish as these help us absorb the curcumin.


Epigallocatechin Gallate – Don’t ask me how to pronounce it! Just call it EGCG. It’s found in green tea and pomegranates and has antioxidant and anti-viral properties. Not everyone likes green tea. I find it’s best with a little lemon and honey. For my husband, I add a bag to his Earl Grey tea; between the bergamot, lemon and sugar, he doesn’t even know it’s there! It also blends in when added to a berry smoothie; brew ahead and chill then use as a substitute for water or juice. Here is a plethora of green tea smoothie recipes.


Omega 3 – Enjoy cold-water fish twice a week. Salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovy, halibut, tuna and shrimp are all good sources, as are venison and grass-fed beef. Plant sources of omega 3s include flax, walnut, pumpkin seeds and chia, but this form is not as easily absorbed by the body for some. The list of benefits of omega 3 fatty acids is long; it includes heart health, immune function, mood benefits and gut health.


Resveratrol – You may have heard of this anti-oxidant beauty found in red wine, red grapes and boiled peanuts.


Zinc – Zinc is required for the growth and development of immune cells. Zinc deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Oysters contain the highest amount of zinc. Good sources include red meat, poultry, seafood such as crabs and lobsters, and fortified cereals. Seeds, nuts and whole grains also contain some zinc.


Vitamin A – Vitamin A is important for the health of the immune system and lungs. It can be found in cod liver oil, beef liver and other organ meats and animal proteins. Plant sources include orange and yellow vegetables, cantaloupe, broccoli and leafy green vegetables. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so it’s not safe to supplement in large amounts over time. For vitamin A basics go here.


Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, red and green pepper, and kiwi have a lot of vitamin C. Strawberries, brussels sprouts, broccoli., cantaloupe and baked potatoes also have vitamin C. The recommended daily allowance is 75 mg. for women and 90 mg. for men, an increase from previous recommendations. The Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) is 2,000 mg./day. UL is the maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects.


Vitamin D – Vitamin D is needed to effectively fight off viruses. Among the best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and cod liver oil. Other sources include mushrooms (exposed to UV light), fortified milks and cereals, cheese, eggs, and, of course, sunshine. If you have been told your vitamin D levels are low or deficient, be sure to supplement as ordered by your health care professional. For more on how vitamin D works go here.


Crucifers – A day is not complete without a crucifer: broccoli, cabbage, radishes, collards, kale or chard. Chop these up an hour before cooking or eating to get an extra nutritional boost of phytonutrient.


Other Immunity-Boosting Foods – Eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables boosts immunity, aim for at least five servings a day. Include fermented foods and probiotic foods for microbiome health.


A steady stream of immune-boosting nutrients can up our odds of staying well. No need to feel every bite must be “healthy.” Layer these beneficial foods into your favorite dishes, comfort foods and desserts.

Food Fun

Terry Passano

University Dietitian

CB 151


Follow us!

twitter    instagram
Salisbury University Logo

SU is an Equal Opportunity/AA/Title IX university and provides reasonable accommodation given sufficient notice to the University office or staff sponsoring the event or program. For more information regarding SU’s policies and procedures, please visit


Click here to safely unsubscribe