Site Overlay

Robot Check

Think of it as your body’s way of recharging itself. It also plays a role in keeping the mucous membranes that line the nose, sinuses and mouth healthy. The key words here are “amino acids”.

  • Protein plays a role in the body's immune system, especially for healing and recovery.
  • So far, scientists do not know the answer.
  • Garlic is a common home remedy for the prevention of colds and other illness.
  • Seventy percent of your immune system lives in your gut, so, it's important to keep it healthy if you want to fend off any cold-causing germs.
  • Struggling to get enough sleep at night?
  • How can you boost your immune system when you’re sick?
  • Not a fan of yogurt or are dairy-free?

Warm tea-containing L-theanine, honey to coat your sore throat, and lemon to add some vitamin C. It's best to stick to other natural sources, like kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut. Not only is a cold or flu a nuisance, interrupting your daily life and routines and making you feel awful, but it’s also a sign of an immune system in need. For a healthy morning treat, broil grapefruit with a little cinnamon sugar.

By consuming foods that are rich in protein; fiber; amino acids; probiotics; prebiotics; antioxidants; zinc; and vitamins A, C and E, you can help protect yourself against infection and boost your immunity. “Other than a healthy diet and regular light exercise, which increases the activity of helpful immune cells, simple personal hygiene is important,” says Ballard. Eat more citrus. The red ones are the most nutritious because they've been on the vine the longest. Find out more about cookies by reading our updated Cookies Policy , which contains further information about the cookies and other technologies we use and information about how to disable them. Another amino acid in bone broth, glycine, has been shown to be helpful with controlling inflammation in the Achilles tendon by restructuring collagen molecules faster to heal the tendon. Just be sure you are using a low-sugar or no-added sugar yogurt, as sugar has the opposite effect on our immune systems!

Whether you are susceptible to getting sick or are able to avoid the illnesses most years, cold and flu prevention is important. Toughen up with almonds, think of them as bringing in the big guns. It’s composed of molecules, cells, and organisms that all work together in an organized system to create the body’s defense system—aka, immunity! We use the tiny red berries in some of our bone broth recipes to boost nutritional content, including the Ginseng Chicken and Turmeric Chicken. With these little efforts and tweaks in your daily routine, you can ensure a healthy immune system. In one study, hot chicken soup was more effective than hot or cold water at making noses run-a good thing since nasal secretions help rid the body of pathogenic viruses and bacteria.

  • Their red flesh supplies your body with lycopene2, helping your bones stay strong and your immune system balanced.
  • The old saying, “An apple a day can keep the doctor away,” may have truth behind it after all.
  • Since we know that being in nature could improve happiness and boost the immune system, we recommend learning more about forest therapy and the ways you can get outside in every season.
  • You’ve most likely heard about the health benefits of antioxidants and the importance of incorporating them into your diet to help prevent illness down the road.
  • Your body absorbs and uses vitamins and nutrients better when they come from a dietary source.
  • One grapefruit packs 75 mg of vitamin C, a full day’s worth for women.
  • You can’t just eat an orange or grapefruit and expect one quick burst of vitamin C to prevent a cold.


One important question is whether dietary supplements may help older people maintain a healthier immune system. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist prior to adding any new remedy to your regimen. Unless you are actually suffering from a deficiency, taking extra supplementation is not necessary, and in this case, more does not mean better.

And the effects of many supplements haven’t been tested in children, pregnant women and other groups. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that are responsible for certain types of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Why they boost immunity: The lymphatic system , which is responsible for producing, storing, and transporting white blood cells, regulates the immune system by detoxing and removing waste matter. The advantage of being breastfed is the intake of protective antibodies you get from your mother. It contains flavonoids, an antioxidant that boosts immunity, and it has anti-inflammatory properties, according to a study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. NEED A DELICIOUS + CONVENIENT WAY TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY? Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, which offers protection from seasonal illness such as the flu and other health problems including arthritis, allergies, abnormal cell development and cancers.

In a previous post we talked about leaky gut and how bone broth can help. This study showed that honey increases the antioxidant activity in blood plasma in healthy adults. “It has 350 percent more vitamin C than an orange and the whole fruit is used medicinally,” Lisa Hayim, a registered dietitian and founder of The Well Necessities, tells SheKnows. 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.

  • Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients.
  • But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically.
  • Supplements with high doses of vitamin C should only be taken with caution or even avoided before a race,(2) because it can have a damaging effect on muscle endurance.
  • There appears to be a connection between nutrition and immunity in the elderly.
  • Simmer up your own soup and add nutrient-dense foods like carrots, onions and fresh herbs.

Chicken Soup for the Cold

To boost your broth, add in a few more goji berries. Gain confidence with our online foraging course!, mushrooms contain some of the most powerful natural medicines on the planet, and one of their benefits is their ability to boost the immune system. It’s loaded with healthy medium chain fatty acids, is beneficial for our metabolism, can be used as a beauty product for healthier hair and skin, and now you can add “immune-boosting” to that list of benefits. You still want to give up cow’s milk? Where else would we start? Since vitamin C is water soluble, vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly, but quickly, and veggies should be gently steamed to avoid losing their nutritional value. Feeling a bit more in touch with your inner germaphobe? Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms appear to pack the biggest immunity punch; experts recommend at least ¼-ounce to 1-ounce a few times a day for maximum immune benefits. Animal-based bone broths could be the key reason as to why soups are great for you when you're suffering from sickness.

It can be used as the base for soups, it can be used in cooking instead of oil, or it can be drunk like a cup of tea! Wheatgrass us rich in chlorophyll, which helps to alkalise the body and works as a natural anti-inflammatory. “Asparagus is a prebiotic, which is essentially the food needed for probiotics (the good bacteria) in the gut to survive,” says Routhenstein. Immune system boosters Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong.

Echinacea extract: Include a protein source with every meal and snack. But don't add milk, because the proteins will bind to the polyphenols, making them ineffective. Supplements can also cause problems if you have certain health conditions. Research studies have shown that deficiency of high-quality protein can result in depletion of immune cells, the inability of the body to make antibodies, and other immune-related problems. That’s the remit of the acquired system, a well-drilled Swat team by comparison that identifies the enemy and makes the specific weapons, or antibodies, needed to destroy it. Curious what else you can do to help your body fight infections? Don’t overdo it.

  • But is this something we should be spending our money on?
  • Cortisol interferes with the T-cells(a specific white blood cell) to reproduce and receive signals from the body.
  • Eating foods that boost your immune system could help keep you healthy during cold and flu season (and every other season, for that matter).
  • Staying hydrated can boost your immune health too, Zumpano says.
  • Eat your water.
  • While we’re certainly not fans of the sniffles, we love cooler weather because it means we have more excuses to cozy down with a big bowl of soup or delicious broth!
  • In other words, a healthy, intact gut has a strong correlation to immunity.

Myth #4: “Bacteria is Bad for Your Health”

Add spinach to your eggs. This is important because free radicals contribute to illness, disease, and aging in the body. Have more mushrooms, an infant may need up to 16 hours of crib time a day, toddlers require 11 to 14 hours, and preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours. Vitamin C helps protect you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity. Supporting a healthier happier you, “It’s consistent with a larger body of evidence that does say that your social relationships are important for your health, and in particular your immune system,” Sneed says. Excessive drinking has been linked to a weakened 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. One study in The Journal of Nutrition found that white button mushrooms, which make up about 90 percent of the type consumed in the U. And while you have good health on the mind, don't forget to wash your hands , get enough sleep, and get a flu shot ahead of flu season to help you stay your healthiest. Raw garlic has natural antimicrobial properties, meaning it can help play a role in fighting infection. Several cultures swear by chicken soup to nurse the sick back to health, and while of course it’s comforting to sip, science shows that chicken soup can actually aid in fighting infections. How can i boost my immune system?, for medications, the term immunosuppression generally refers to both beneficial and potential adverse effects of decreasing the function of the immune system, while the term immunodeficiency generally refers solely to the adverse effect of increased risk for infection. Here are a few of our favorite anti-inflammatory foods:

Eat More Yogurt.

A great way to do this is with diaphoretic herbs and spices that encourage the pores to open, like mint, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, etc. For example, studies of influenza vaccines have shown that for people over age 65, the vaccine is much less effective compared to healthy children (over age 2). Check out this template for the perfect green smoothie. “How Antioxidants Work.

Wash Your Hands.

What about “super foods”? You watch your kids, participating in their activities, along side other kids with runny noses and coughs. Consume elderberries in the form of elderberry syrup or elderberry extract. View image, infections are as inevitable as death and taxes. Water is of the utmost importance, whether you are trying to avoid getting sick or already fighting a cold. Exercise regularly. A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that theobromine is helpful in suppressing cough symptoms for people with bronchitis, but notes that more research needs to be done to confirm the findings fully. Increase B6 by eating a sweet potato yogurt almond butter breakfast parfait.

Engage in forest therapy. There are a lot of different strains of probiotics, but the most common is lactobacillus, which is found in yogurt and kefir. Broadly there are two parts of the immune system:

Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? The NIH recommends a minimum of 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D for most adults daily, but many other accredited organizations suggest aiming much higher. Sweating is essential for the body so get moving or get in a sauna as often as you can! Choose your fruits organically to help avoid the downfalls of pesticides and chemicals, which add to your toxic load and can burden your immune system. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, May 2020.


Fennel has a variety of soothing effects that can help relieve you of your flu-like symptoms. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Foods that are high in colorful compounds called carotenoids — carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe and squash — are all great options. Dark chocolate contains a heavy concentration of theobromine, an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing. Work with your healthcare team to manage side effects that make eating difficult such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, etc. A brisk walk in the sunlight for 10–15 minutes will ensure that enough Vitamin D is produced in the body. Run through a mesh strainer and discard pulp. Here are a few vital nutrients and the foods and spices where they can be found to keep immune system function in fighting shape:

Plus, they taste better and are better at protecting your health than supplements.

Other Meredith Sites

Peel oranges, lime and lemon. More is not necessarily better. Research suggests these qualities make turmeric a strong defense against colds , coughs, and congestion. Try to avoid overdoing beverages that can made you dehydrated, like coffee. Eat probiotic foods, it helps you build muscle by carrying more oxygen to your cells. The second is by secreting antimicrobial molecules that kill potentially dangerous pathogens. But avoid drinking to excess. For instance, the bone broth claim has been fueled by a study published in 2020 that showed eating chicken soup seemed to reduce symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection. Adding a few hot chiles to this Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill recipe might help loosen things up even more.

What do I eat to help strengthen my immune system?

People who eat an apple a day use fewer prescription medications, according to a 2020 study. Eat more avocado. Stress creates inflammation and inflammation is at the root of many diseases. Don't worry – not all of them are vegetables. A powerful nutrient, vitamin C can assist in preventing the common cold and help reduce symptoms of sickness.

Ginseng tea is popular for more reasons than its delicious taste. High in curcumin a powerful antioxidant Superfood Supplement. In a study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children who took daily vitamin D supplements (1,200 IU) were 40 percent less likely to get a common flu virus than kids who took a placebo. Do not rely on only one food to help you be healthy. To get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while you brew.

Brightly-Colored Vegetables

Wendler went on to complete her post-graduate naturopathic medical education at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto. Researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection, or common cold, than those who did not. Commentary: is our political system properly serving public-health system? we need reason, not a rant. View service at location, toxins can be devastating for the immune system. If you do choose to drink, limit consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks for men.

Believe it or not, the majority of immune system response comes from your gut, so maintaining a healthy GI tract is essential to ward off disease.

Profile Menu

That dream is not too far away – it’s already happening in the clinic, albeit in a very basic form. Aim for one bowl daily—especially if you relate to any of these six signs you're not getting enough zinc. Free radicals are molecules that the body produces when it breaks down food or comes into contact with pollutants. This is how it works: But there are ways besides food to boost your immune system and provide your body with the health benefits it needs. Turmeric is a spice that can be added to nearly any recipe. The immune system releases antibodies, which attach to antigens on the pathogens and kill them. Especially fruits like berries, which are frequently on the dirty dozen list, and yet so high in things like antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients.

Chamomile tea is often used as a night-time tea when people need to wind down or need some help falling asleep.

Raw Honey

Many people don’t drink cow’s milk when they have a cold, cough, or sore throat, because they believe that it increases mucus production and slows the healing process. 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. Zinc also plays an important role in wound healing. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that olive oil's high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. Think of your immune system as your body’s gatekeeper. So what does affect the immune system? This gut friendly spice stimulates digestion, gut motility and bowel function, while helping to relieve bloating, cramping and nausea. Elderberry is also high in flavonoids.

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health: If you have a cold fighting tip or favorite food not found in this list we would love to hear about it. Please check to proceed. You're always stressed. 025); AB n = 20, PL n = 21; (B) On PND 7 no distinct clustering was observed between pigs treated with AB and PL (Adonis, P = 0. Shopping cart, think turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, cardamom. A healthy body is not just about being healthy from the outside but also ensuring a stronger immunity and these 11 natural ways to boost your immune system can help you achieve the goal of a healthy body. On top of that, using vitamin and mineral supplements provide the necessary nutrients for a strong immune system. However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed. Lemons are high in compounds called bio-flavonoids, which kill cancer-causing free radicals. Add oats to your kids’ diet by serving them Apple and Almond Butter Overnight Oats (pictured above).

It is also added to some cereals in order to improve nutrition. Loaded with whole grains from granola and probiotic yogurt, a yogurt parfait is an immune-boosting start to your busy day. Vitamin C is great for fighting off sickness and helping you get well more quickly. If you forget to eat, try setting a timer. Our bodies need adequate vitamin D to produce the antimicrobial proteins that kill viruses and bacteria.

Sweet Potatoes

The third is by regulating the inflammatory signals of our innate immune response and thus the feelings of sickness we get when that innate system jumps into action. Certainly it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use. Vegetables have so much to offer, especially when it comes to immune benefits, but make sure you’re making the most of your veggies by choosing organic! For example, if you “catch a cold” it could be because you were literally exposed to cold temperature; whether you were stuck in the rain, had a draft blowing on you in the middle of the night, or you forgot to wear a scarf on the first cool day of the season (anyone else?) Can supplements help your immunity? If you’re looking for a nutritious salad topper or snack to eat in the car, sunflower seeds might be just what the nutritionist ordered. Most health experts agree that the reason winter is "cold and flu season" is not that people are cold, but that they spend more time indoors, in closer contact with other people who can pass on their germs. Minimize stress.

These are called T-cells. Drink your probiotics. Leafy greens also contain fiber, which is helpful for keeping the digestive system regular. Learn more and download the app. A 2020 review noted in a Harvard Health Letter found that consuming 200 milligrams of vitamin C every day cut the risk of getting a cold in half for "extremely active" people. Red bell peppers are a strong contender, and in fact, contain twice as much Vitamin C as citrus fruits. But experts say to cook the leafy green as little as possible so it retains its nutrients.

Ginger is historically one of the most common substances used to help with colds and flu. Here are 15 to consider adding to your meals: Salmon’s high B vitamin and potassium content also provides benefits for cognitive function and stroke prevention, as well as reducing blood pressure. What you might not know is that bell peppers are also a great source of vitamin C. Navigation, most scientists studying the relationship of stress and immune function, however, do not study a sudden, short-lived stressor; rather, they try to study more constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as that caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or sustained challenges to perform well at one's work. Get adequate sleep. Despite its potential benefits, dark chocolate is high in calories and saturated fat, so it is important to eat it in moderation. Numerous studies have found a link between excessive alcohol consumption and immune function.


The microbes in and on our body, he says, help defend us from pathogenic infection on several levels. What’s better when you have a cold or the flu than curling up on the couch with a giant mug of tea? Researchers from Oregon State University found that when this compound was combined with vitamin D, the body’s ability to fend off illness increased. Lentils are easy to cook and come in variety of colors, including orange, green and black.

Such foods include fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C and zinc—which some studies show may prevent viruses like the common cold when consumed together—and foods that are chock-full of other immune-improving substances such as collagen, probiotics, and vitamin A. It isn’t easy, but the future of your health depends on it. View all, oh, and we’re on Instagram too. Papaya is high in fiber in a variety of antioxidants including beta carotene, as well as vitamin K, potassium, and choline. 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.

They've studied people who lived in Antarctica and those on expeditions in the Canadian Rockies. Broccoli is most nutritious when it’s raw, so if your kids won’t eat it alone, have them try it with their favorite dip. Other common foods touted for their immune-boosting properties are ginger, citrus fruits, turmeric, oregano oil and bone broth.

Derived from the leaves and flowers of oregano, which you would use in your cooking, oregano oil comes in tincture and extract form to help boost your immune system.

Freshly Picked

Think happy thoughts. For example, athletes who engage in "blood doping" — pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance — run the risk of strokes. Your immune system is a network of organs and cells throughout the body that work together to protect you against foreign invaders.

Yes, citrus fruits like oranges are full of vitamin C—but bell peppers, strawberries, mango, kiwi, and broccoli pack a bigger punch. Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Eat them on a regular basis so your immune system is always firing on all cylinders. Thoughts are powerful! Rosemary isn't just a tasty herb to add to baked goods—it's also an amazing anti-inflammatory and is a rich source of antioxidants. Handpicked article:

"Zinc helps regulate the immune system, build and maintain lean body mass and heal wounds.

Download the free publication Healthy Behaviors from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for more healthy lifestyle tips. From fruits and vegetables to extracts and tinctures, read on for 21 of our most powerful immune-boosting foods, tonics, teas, and more! But did you know the role your diet plays in keeping it in top shape to protect you from toxins and infections? Try it in a turmeric latte, aka golden milk , or use it to season lean meats, grains and other healthy foods.

Alcohol alters the number of microbes in the gut microbiome, a community of microorganisms that affect the immune system.