As summer days are slowly fading, we find ourselves facing fall and winter seasons, with many of us moving our activities and lives more indoors. This may include our workspaces, travel schedules, social activities, workouts and even more time inside with family and friends. Fall and winter also brings along flu and cold season, which now coupled with COVID-19, gives us reason to focus on boosting our immune systems as much as we can.

This September NBCA Health Bulletin provides wellness strategies on boosting your immunity through diet and lifestyle, as much as possible. Even though flu season may not be here yet, setting your health and wellness goals to accommodate and adjust to these foods/strategies may give you a good head start.

*Nutritional tips written by Stacy Goldberg, MPH, RN, BSN, the Official Health and Wellness/Nutritional

Consultant for the National Basketball Coaches Association.


By reducing overall inflammation levels in the body, the body’s immune system signals are more

effective in healing and repairing damaged tissue, as well as defending itself against foreign invaders,

such as viruses and bacteria.

Here are our favorite anti-inflammatory nutrients and ways to incorporate them into your diet:

Fiber Where To Get It:

●  Whole & Sprouted Grains

●  Beans & Legumes

●  Fruits & Vegetables

●  Nuts & Seeds

How To Eat It:

●  Add lentils or beans on top of your favorite salads.

●  Swap white rice for brown rice and choose 100% whole grain breads & pastas.

●  Jumpstart the day by adding antioxidant-packed berries to your breakfast oats or protein bars.

Healthy Fats Where To Get It:

● Salmon

●  Avocado

●  Nuts & Seeds

●  Olive Oil

How To Eat It:

●  Pack a nut & seed trail mix for the road instead of pretzels or chips.

●  Top your toast or bagel with mashed avocado instead of cream cheese or jam.

●  Swap salmon for chicken on your salad or sandwich.

Vegetables Where To Get It:

●  All fresh or frozen vegetables

●  Choose a variety of colors to get the most vitamins and minerals

●  Dark green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts) have extra benefits

How To Eat It:

●  Add fresh or frozen veggies like kale, spinach, and cauliflower, to your protein smoothie for enhanced taste, consistency and health benefits.

●  Juice your veggies.

●  Make veggie soups.

Lean Protein Where To Get It:

●  Seafood

●  >90% lean beef

●  Skinless chicken or turkey


●  Tofu, Tempeh, Soy Products

●  Dairy products

How To Eat It:

●  Skip the bologna and salami and swap out lunch meats for a grilled chicken breast or piece of wild salmon.

●  Swap out potato chips for roasted lentils, beans, edamame or chickpeas.

●  Experiment with tempeh or sprouted tofu instead of meat.

Dark Chocolate/Cocoa Where To Get It:

●  70% or higher dark chocolate

●  Unsweetened cocoa powder

●  Unsweetened cacao nibs

How To Eat It:

●  Eat it straight. Just a piece

of 70% dark chocolate will

satisfy sweet cravings.

●  Skip the cake. If you’re

craving dessert, dip fresh fruits into 70% dark chocolate.

●  Add cocoa powder or 70% dark chocolate chips to shakes or trail mixes.

Fruits Where To Get It:

●  All fresh or frozen fruits

●  Berries are loaded with


●  Try to buy organic when possible

How To Eat It:

●  Berries are a tasty add on to

probiotic-enriched yogurt, oatmeal, wholewheat waffles, banana pancakes and even salads.

●  Add fresh frozen organic berries to your protein smoothie for enhanced taste, consistency and health benefits.

Staying well hydrated is important for transporting nutrients to each organ, detoxification, and increasing lymphatic draining to help clear out any foreign invaders and other waste materials in the body. You can keep it simple with water, naturally flavored waters, iced or warm green tea, and unsweetened coconut water, or you can try to mix it up with the suggestions below.

Here are 6 ways to stay hydrated during the fall & winter season:

• Add fresh fruit or

mint into your water bottle or low sugar, naturally sweetened sports drink

• Freeze coconut

water into ice cubes and add to any drink.

• Mix cooled brewed

green tea into smoothies.

• Swap out high sugar

drinks for naturally sweetened, lower sugar options.

• Add warm bone broth

into your weekly routine instead of tea or coffee.

• When you head to the coffee shop

in the morning for a quick fix of caffeine, order a cup of green tea in place of your espresso.

Probiotics may help give your immune system a boost by increasing production of immune system cells. They can also help inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria and secrete protective substances to prevent pathogens from taking hold.

Here are 6 ways to incorporate probiotic foods into your diet:


• Add kimchi to scrambled eggs or a morning omelet.


• Add probiotic-rich yogurt to your granola or oatmeal.


• Instead of chips & salsa, dip cut-up veggies or pickle spears into a nonfat probiotic yogurt dip.


• Top your hot dog, sausage or vegan dog with sauerkraut instead of ketchup and mustard.


• Replace your white bread with sourdough bread.


• Swap meat on a sandwich for BBQ tempeh.

Herbs and spices have different components that can enhance the immune system by reducing inflammation, providing antioxidants and even helping the immune system produce vital cells needed to fight off infection, viruses, and bacteria.

Here are 4 herbs and spices to help boost your immune system:


• Mix cloves and cinnamon into your favorite tea or hot water.


• Next time you roast vegetables, toss in fresh garlic and olive oil.


• Add grated ginger root or ground ginger to your favorite vegetable dishes or smoothies.


• Toss a teaspoon of turmeric into your scrambled eggs in the morning.

Alcohol can weaken the immune system and can put you at higher risk of getting sick. It slows down the immune system’s reaction to bacteria or viruses in the body and can damage immune cells already in the body. Alcohol can also kill normally healthy bacteria that help promote health and reduce the risk of infection.

Limiting alcohol as much as possible will help you stay healthy this Fall & Winter season, but if you do choose to consume, men should limit to 2 drinks per day and women should limit to 1 drink per day. (One drink is equal to 12oz of beer, 5oz of wine, or 1oz of liquor.)

Here are 4 alcoholic beverage alternatives:


  • Kombucha is a fermented (probiotics) tea drink often with added juice or spices for flavor.
  • The highest quality kombucha should be in the refrigerator section with minimal ingredients (typically only water, tea, sugar, and cultures). Try to choose ones with less than 10g of added sugar and make sure you check the expiration date.


• Try making your favorite cocktails without the alcohol. This helps keep the calories down and your immunity up.

Naturally Flavored Sparkling Water

• If you are looking to keep it extra low calorie, these are great alternatives to your classic mixed alcoholic drinks. Most have only 0-5 grams of carbohydrates per can.

Alcohol-free wine and beer

  • Don’t want to make your own drinks? There are many canned non- alcoholic drinks to choose from.
  • Enjoy wine? Try Sutter Home,Chateau De Fleur, or St Regis non- alcoholic wines.
  • More of a beer drinker? Try Heineken 0.0, Athletic Brewing Run Wild IPA, or Coors Non- Alcoholic.


Physical activity helps to boost immune system function by raising levels of infection-fighting white

blood cells and antibodies, increasing circulation, and decreasing stress hormones. Establish an

exercise or activity program to not only help prevent respiratory infections, but also to improve

cognitive and physical resilience.

Here are 3 ways to help keep you moving during the day:

• Try virtual workout apps such as Peloton Digital or Aaptiv to work out from anywhere.

• No equipment, no problem! Just grab your shoes & airpods then head out for a run or walk around town.

• Don’t have time to workout? Get in some movement by taking the stairs or taking a walk during your lunch break.

Spending time in the great outdoors can help boost your immunity. Researchers still aren’t 100% sure how (there are dozens or proposed mechanisms, including vitamin D from the sun), but there is strong evidence showing that spending time in nature can help protect against depression, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, and many more. Fresh air has also been found to boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep.

Here are 4 ways to enjoy more time in nature:

• Instead of watching TV or scrolling on your phone after work, decompress with a short walk outside with friends or family.

• Enjoy your morning cup of coffee on your patio, porch, or balcony while you prepare for the day.

• If the weather is nice, take your workout outdoors. Try taking a mat and weights outside or putting on sneakers for a run around the neighborhood!

• Too cold to go outside – Bring the outdoors, inside with fresh plants in your home or office.


You can do as much as you can to boost your immune system, but limiting exposure to people and places that may carry germs can greatly decrease your risk of illness.

Here are 6 places to be extra careful when outside your home:

• Stay home if you are sick and keep children out of school or daycare while they are sick.

• Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands.

• Move away from people before coughing or sneezing.

• Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, instead of your hands.

• Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs.


Here are 4 during sleep, your immune system releases proteins needed to fight off infection and inflammation. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cells putting you at higher risk of illness.

Sleep tips to help you feel refreshed and boost your immunity:

• Try sleeping at least seven to eight hours each night.

• Turn off all electronic devices (yes, that includes the TV) at least one hour before sleeping to signal relaxation to the brain.

• Try to sleep and wake around the same time each day to help your body know when it is time to rest and make it easier to fall asleep.

• Limit caffeine after 2-3pm to ensure it doesn’t interfere with sleep.


When the cortisol (stress hormone) levels are high the body becomes more susceptible to infections, lowering the number of immune system cells. By managing stress levels, the immune system is stronger and better able to fight off infections.

Here are 4 ways to reduce stress in your everyday, hectic life:

• Practice a daily meditation. Experiment with meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm.

• Practice yoga with deep breathing techniques. Try slow flow, restorative yoga, yin yoga, ashtanga or vinyasa.

• Engage in daily aerobic exercise. Aim for at least 60 minutes of exercise each day to keep your stress levels low.

• Practice journaling. Writing down your thoughts helps your racing mind to relax, gives you a creative outlet and helps keep you organized, reducing the amount of stress every day.


We hope that you found these tips useful and recommend incorporating as many of them into your daily routine as quickly as possible. Remember, new habits take time to form, but if you can start thinking about which foods and strategies can enhance your immune system and lifestyle today, you will be in a great position to boost your immune system come this flu and cold season.

Stay Safe & Stay Healthy!

*Nutritional tips written by Stacy Goldberg, MPH, RN, BSN, the Official Health and Wellness/Nutritional

Consultant for the National Basketball Coaches Association.

Stacy Goldberg – MPH, RN, BSN

CEO & Founder


Office Phone: 313-875-3733

Cell Phone: 248-563-2920