16 Immune-Boosting Foods a Nutritionist Recommends

Add them to an omelet in the morning, eat them raw as a snack with a handful of almonds or a scoop of hummus, or slice them up and roast them with a little bit of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. And, just like vegetables, certain fruits have amazing immune-boosting benefits that you may not know about. Researchers need to perform additional studies to understand how kefir may prevent disease in humans. What is my immune system and why is it so important?, you need to sleep through them. These antibodies help you fight through early years of your life. This is an anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory compound that is excellent to help fend of everyday colds and flus as well as more serious conditions like cancer. Don't overcook your spinach, since the more it's cooked the less active the antioxidants will be. There are plenty of recommendations floating around about what to do about coronavirus: Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of these nutrients.

Older people tend to eat less and often have less variety in their diets. They’re also incredibly high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Zakay-Rones, Z. Though fast, it lacks in finesse, and deals with an invading pathogen in much the same way that the Ghostbusters might try to remove a ghost from a haunted hotel. We all know cold and flu season is no joke, but we bet you don't want to get sick year-round, too, right? Plus, tinctures and extracts can be found in single distillations, such as astragalus on its own, or in combinations, like in Deep Immune, to help harness the power of multiple different compounds into one amazing product. These are called T-cells. Read new age health blogging sites and you’ll find posts on how drinking hot lemon water or knocking back a shot of wheatgrass juice or the current green goo du jour will “boost your immune system” and make you less likely to get ill.

  • An ounce of sunflower seeds, or a quarter cup, supplies about half of the daily recommended target for vitamin E.
  • Some experiments with mice suggest that cold exposure might reduce the ability to cope with infection.
  • There is one extremely strong defense against it and you control that lever.

Professional Advice

Elderberry benefits are numerous, however, the remedy may interact with certain prescription medications. “We lose cells and progressively lose ‘memories’ of how to deal with pathogens,” he says. Any leftover juices and wine make for a refreshing drink. I can’t promise you that you can totally shield your kids from getting sick. They also provide vitamin C (you can meet half your daily requirement from one fruit), so adding lemon juice to your meals is an easy strategy for protecting yourself against colds and other infections. The saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” can actually be true as consumption of vitamins can boost your immune system. This fragrant root is commonly used in cooking, but it also eases queasy stomachs and boosts your immune system. Healthline compiled the list and The Beet added even more research to bolster the facts.

It’s time to consider adding a few foods that boost your immune system to your diet.


Maintaining a healthy weight can also benefit the immune system. If you are experiencing seasonal allergies and need treatment from symptoms that seem to persist, count on MedPost for convenient and compassionate walk-in care. Autoimmune diseases, igD antibodies are found in small amounts in the tissues that line the belly or chest. But adding foods that are rich into zinc into your diet is an incredible way to boost your immune system in a balanced way, Haas says.

She often turns to herbs in the form of spices and teas to help her deal with different health issues, and encourages others to do the same. Visit the Immunizations for Cancer Survivors page to learn more. You probably know about vitamin C’s connection to the immune system, but did you know you can get it from much more than just citrus fruits? Newer research confirms that aged garlic extract may enhance immune cell function. In a nutshell protein helps repair the body, assists in recovery from illness and sports injuries, pevents muscle wastage, keeps blood sugars stable, supports weight loss and healthy metabolism.

  • When the immune system comes into contact with a pathogen, it triggers an immune response.
  • A study in 2020 done at the University of Illinois showed that soluble fiber helps to strengthen the immune system by changing the “personalities” of immune cells.
  • We love these 2-ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes as a great way to get both eggs and sweet potatoes in our diets regularly.
  • This chemical triggers certain immune cells with antioxidant genes and enzymes to fight free radicals and prevent sicknesses.
  • “Long-standing psychosocial stresses like those in the workplace or from an unhappy marriage can reduce your immune function and leave you more prone to infection,” says Professor Janet Lord, an immunologist from the University of Birmingham.
  • Eating a low-fat, plant-based diet may help give the immune system a boost.
  • If you’re looking to include probiotics in your daily diet, you might want to try kefir.

Chicken Soup

Whilst it wouldn’t be wise to eat it on a hot date with a sexy stunner, garlic is nevertheless a fantastic infection deterrent. Caring for Skin, Nails, Hair and Mouth from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for more healthy lifestyle tips. Zinc also plays an important role in wound healing. Probiotics are considered the “good” bacteria in your gut.

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But that doesn't mean the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren't intriguing and shouldn't be studied. But don’t throw away your hat or scarf just yet – keeping warm will keep you more comfortable and protect you from things like frostbite. Flu fighting nutrition: give your immune system a boost, , a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, found that people who were negative, moody, nervous and easily stressed had a weaker immune response to a hepatitis vaccination than their more positive peers. How much do you need a day: All things in moderation though; just make sure it doesn’t immunise your chances of getting cozy tonight. Eat it raw or lightly cooked to get the most nutrients. Food is one of the most powerful tools we have to help prevent disease and a healthy body begins with a healthy immune system. But the majority of us are failing when it comes to getting an adequate amount of vegetables in our diet.

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Wolfram says, “I also like to eat foods that contain probiotics, which help keep our gut microbiomes in balance. There appears to be a connection between nutrition and immunity in the elderly. Smoking increases the risk for a number of cancers including lung, oral, throat, esophageal, colorectal, and more. A number of foods – garlic included – have remarkably good antimicrobial properties, and while they should not be scoffed instead of following measures already advocated by the World Health Organisation (washing hands thoroughly; covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing), it certainly won't hurt to get a few more of these nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet. “When you're under chronic stress or anxiety, your body produces stress hormones that suppress your immune system,” Moyad says.

Not a fan of yogurt or are dairy-free? Whilst foods like oysters and carrots won’t be dead-certs when it comes to fighting off illness, they’ll do you a lot more good than if you’re stuffing yet another quarter-pounder into your mouth. Readily available all year round, broccoli is perhaps one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get extra vitamins into your diet. This fat soluble vitamin boosts the activity of immune cells to support the body’s ability to fend off invading bacteria and viruses. Immune system juice boost and perfect jet lag remedy – kind earth. Whether you are susceptible to getting sick or are able to avoid the illnesses most years, cold and flu prevention is important. Or take 500-2,000 mg of curcumin to help fight inflammation and power up your immune system. If a bit salty.

Cortisol interferes with the T-cells(a specific white blood cell) to reproduce and receive signals from the body.

Taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not. Oysters may be renowned for boosting the sex drive, but these slimy molluscs are also ideal if you’re looking to improve your immune system. Green tea also contains L-theanine, an anti-oxidant which appears to help in the production of T-cells in your body, the killer L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells. On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. Here's a look at five types of nutrients that your immune system needs to perform and which foods to find them in. It's a carotenoid that works by enhancing the body's inherent immune response.

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Matcha is the most nutrient-rich green tea in the world. Colostrum is the referred to the first milk from nursing mammals. Considered a natural cold remedy, vitamin C-packed citrus increases the production of white blood cells, fortifying your immune system to fight infections like a champ. Some scientists are trying to take the next step to determine whether exercise directly affects a person's susceptibility to infection. According to a 2020 review, curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

The recommended daily amount to shoot for is 65 to 90 milligrams a day, which is the equivalent of one small glass of orange juice or eating a whole grapefruit. A healthful, balanced diet plays a vital role in staying well. Learn more about how a plant-based diet can lead to better sleep. The high antioxidant content in dried tart cherries is tied to a bolstered immune system, including a reduced risk of upper respiratory tract symptoms. Just be sure you are using a low-sugar or no-added sugar yogurt, as sugar has the opposite effect on our immune systems! In fact, by choosing the Dirty Dozen (the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables) organic, you can reduce your pesticide intake by up to 80%. Sleep is an important aspect of health.

  • For these reasons, experts say it’s best to get vitamins through food rather than supplements.
  • From fruits and vegetables to extracts and tinctures, read on for 21 of our most powerful immune-boosting foods, tonics, teas, and more!
  • When it comes to what you eat, there are foods that can keep your immune system functioning at its best.
  • Free radicals are molecules that the body produces when it breaks down food or comes into contact with pollutants.

Sunflower Seeds

However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. There are so many options and you don’t need to be taking supplements to see the benefits — simply use them to make flavorful food. Popcorn is the only food in the American diet that is a 100 percent unprocessed whole grain, which means it's high in fiber—an added benefit. “Other than a healthy diet and regular light exercise, which increases the activity of helpful immune cells, simple personal hygiene is important,” says Ballard.

Phytochemicals refer to a variety of compounds that give fruits and vegetables their color and flavor. A cultured, fermented drink that tastes a bit tangy, kefir packs some serious immune-boosting properties in one simple drink. Immunizations help your body build a resistance to specific diseases. All of these nutrients work in different ways to enhance immune system function. This is a multi-purpose tea that can help with so many things. Since yogurt is a great source of probiotics, it often tops the list of immune-boosting foods. However, other studies suggest that modest amounts of alcohol may have a protective effect on heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

In a previous post we talked about leaky gut and how bone broth can help. If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs — maybe, for instance, you don't like vegetables — taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may bring other health benefits, beyond any possibly beneficial effects on the immune system. However, a healthy lifestyle certainly helps with wellness. Underactive immune system, older people should discuss this question with a physician who is well versed in geriatric nutrition, because while some dietary supplementation may be beneficial for older people, even small changes can have serious repercussions in this age group. Vitamin B6-rich foods include chicken and cold water fish such as salmon and tuna. On top of that, using vitamin and mineral supplements provide the necessary nutrients for a strong immune system. You need to eat to boost your immune system.

On eatrightPRO.org

Garlic also has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties thought to fight off infections. “When we eat refined, added sugars, our immune system is dampened for several hours after that,” she says. Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. If you eat it raw or lightly steamed you'll keep more of the nutrients intact.

This probably comes to no surprise to you, but it is important to get enough of this immune-boosting vitamin. Getting sick is the worst—especially during the holidays when your schedule is packed with parties, travel plans, and delicious food. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. If you're looking for ways to prevent winter colds and the flu, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. One teaspoon of Natural Immune Support contains 10x the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C ( >450mg ) and the full-recommended daily intake of vitamin D (1000IU) and is suitable for both kids and adults. One of the most notable techniques in addition to warming or cooling the body with food is diaphoresis or sweating. These tubers are a rich source of beta carotene, an antioxidant that makes the flesh of the potatoes orange.

L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells. The more colorful the fruits and vegetables are, the better. Can certain foods really boost immunity? A version of this story was published in May 2020.

Zinc also strengthens antibodies, making them more efficient at warding off infection.

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It's rich in antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. A spinach and red pepper stir-fry is loaded with vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly. Ginger – Anti-inflammatory + helps promote gastric motility. Nuts should be a part of that, particularly Brazil nuts, which contain selenium, an antioxidant that protects against certain pathogens and can shield your cells from damage. To turn apples into a more energizing snack, slice one up and enjoy with a spoonful of peanut or almond butter.

Seek Out Zinc

Bring on the hummus! The thing about old wives’ tales is that many people believe them. 15 foods that boost the immune system, berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, are extremely high on the ORAC scale—meaning they contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals. 4The next time you add coconut oil to your smoothie or cooked veggies, your immune system will thank you! Ginger may also help decrease nausea.

With these little efforts and tweaks in your daily routine, you can ensure a healthy immune system. Journal of Toxicologic Pathology, published online July 10, 2020. Although rich in a wide variety of antioxidants, fennel boasts particularly high amounts of selenium, a mineral that stimulates our body’s response to infection. Smithson stresses that vitamins A, C, and E are particularly useful in building immunity. Sources of Vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other fruits and vegetables. Also, these natural ways can help you age gracefully.

  • These magic fungi have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and they’ve also been shown to improve the function of immune cells when consumed on a daily basis[1].
  • I reached out to Jesse Haas, a licensed functional nutritionist and the cofounder of Wellness Minneapolis, for some advice on what we should be eating to boost our immunity.
  • Before joining the SCMP, she was a television journalist, digital editor and travel writer for a host of well-known publications in the United States.

I had the bacteria in my gut analysed. And this may be the future of medicine

It has been shown to decrease inflammation, which can help if you get swollen glands or a sore throat or any inflammatory ailment. Plus, the health benefits of these foods generally come from the synergistic relationship and combination of all the nutrients in the food that is difficult to extract into a pill. I also love recipes such as my Immune-Boosting Chicken Soup or Super C Immune Boosting Smoothie that make me feel healthy and strong! However, your healthcare team may advise you to avoid probiotic supplements if you are immunosuppressed. Those who were stressed were more likely to produce cytokines, molecules that trigger inflammation, and were about twice as likely to get sick. Work with your healthcare team to manage side effects that make eating difficult such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, etc. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases.

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Leading an active lifestyle can also support your immune system by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. How vitamin c affects your body, here are five foods to be sure to incorporate in your diet so that you have the strongest immune system this flu season. You’ve probably heard of turmeric as a superfood herb, with its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Citrus fruits, like grapefruit, oranges, and lemons, are low in sugar, which is known to be an immune-suppressant, and packed with vitamin C, which is essential for fending off infections like colds and flu by boosting the production of white blood cells. It helps to relieve stress and increase relaxation, which is so vital when you’re feeling under the weather. The recommendation is 400 micrograms a day, or get it from legumes, spinach, papayas, and avocados. Most people don't realize that popcorn is high in polyphenols. You watch helplessly as your child puts his fingers in his mouth or rubs his eyes, and you have to wonder if getting sick is just the inevitable outcome of the season.

That’s why she recommends mincing it finely in salad dressings or dips such as homemade hummus.


Should you be taking an herbal supplement from your local health foods store that promotes immune-boosting properties? Gingerol, the main bioactive compound in ginger, is a relative of capsaicin, can be used in sweet or spicy dishes. Think shellfish (low calorie options like oysters, mussels, shrimp), legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans which are also high in fiber) and red meat (great in moderation). Sambucus nigra, or black elderberry bush, is the version most commonly used to make syrup and lozenges. Order warm or wilted spinach salad when you go out, or make it yourself with olive oil, pine nuts, and vegan parm. Food should always come first, but if you have chosen to take a probiotic supplement, you'll want to make sure you're taking the right one. A reduction in immune response to infections has been demonstrated by older people's response to vaccines. As a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, I'm here to share more about foods and nutrients that can help you feel your best.

While it has been found that deficiencies in some nutrients (zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E) can have negative affects on the immune system, the fact is, unless you are deficient in these micronutrients, taking amounts beyond your daily needs is a moot point. Contact us at [email protected] Cook cranberries and oranges or other citrus fruits on a stove top to make a jam.

Research also indicates that flavonoids may help to prevent the common cold in otherwise healthy people. She was first introduced to the concept of holism when working within a First Nations education model. Where can you find anthocyanidins? But broccoli and other green vegetables have quite a bit of the vitamin as well.

Tea Time

Since our body’s fluid needs increase when we’re fighting infection, drinking an extra two cups of water plus your daily minimum can fuel regeneration of immune-fighting lymphatic cells to get your body feeling stronger. Eggs are one of the only foods with naturally occurring vitamin D. Immune systems vitamins, staying healthy is fundamental to being a happy, productive individual. Some major vitamins, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and Vitamin E, are also antioxidants… surprise!

What A Nutritionist Wants You To Know

A truly healthy immune system depends on a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals over time, plus normal sleep patterns and a hefty dose of exercise. Lutein is one of 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids and is found in high quantities in green leafy veggies such as spinach and kale. Everyday preventive measures—such as handwashing, avoiding contact with sick individuals, and good hygiene—can go a long way in reducing your risk for viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system?

The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. My kids love this and it has much lower sugar than the vanilla yogurt you buy in stores. Recharging the immune system with supplements, (You can read more about antioxidants here.). How much lutein should you eat in a day: You can find astragalus in all kinds of extracts and tinctures, but Deep Immune by St. So is there a perfect equation to prevent dehydration? And while they aren't part of a food group, tobacco products can also compromise your immune system. (The mixture of hydrating broth, healing herbs, fiber, protein and antioxidants makes the meal actually therapeutic.)