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5 Foods to Supercharge Your Immune System

The last word in immune-bolstering micronutrients is vitamin C, which anyone who has been told to up their intake of oranges to fight off a cold will be familiar with. Turmeric is a yellow spice that many people use in cooking. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved. Check out this Maple Almond Breakfast Smoothie (pictured above) or Berrylicious Oatmeal. 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. The study found that people who were ingesting at least 75 milligrams of zinc a day were relieved of their cold symptoms in a shorter amount of time in comparison to those who did not. Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons.

8It’s a great remedy to have when you have the flu, as in lemon and ginger tea or in a chew like the Ginger People chews.

It’s not that vitamin C isn’t crucial to immune function (and other things, such as bone structure). Purple sprouting broccoli with blood orange hollandaise Browse more of our broccoli recipes here. It has also been shown to boost immune cell activity and enhance antibody responses. Staying hydrated keeps your body working optimally, including your immune system. Orange juice is typically loaded with refined sugars, which can cause inflammation in your body. But fortifying your immune system doesn't end at the doctor's office. Spinach is full of many of the vitamins and minerals that boost our immune systems. Getting your flu shot might not be convenient, but neither is getting the flu!

  • The optimal amount is three to five cups in a day, but most people won't get to that level.
  • A review of the food published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showed that a group of participants in a study who ate garlic over a three-month period only had 24 cases of the common cold total, a significant decrease in comparison to the 65 cases reported by the control group.

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Pretty much any fresh, colorful food is packed with a powerful antioxidant called beta-carotene. You probably like this for more than just the comfort reason. What is there to be learned from this?

In fact, it’s long been observed that frequent drinking can lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to infection. We love cooking with bell peppers; they’re especially delicious when added to stir-fries of all varieties. 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. “How Antioxidants Work. And, just like vegetables, certain fruits have amazing immune-boosting benefits that you may not know about. Can certain foods really boost immunity? Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. One notable study showed that chicken soup diminishes the presence of white blood cells associated with inflammation in upper respiratory conditions that often plague cold sufferers, suggesting that it encourages a more effective immune response and helps symptoms clear up quicker.


You can follow her by signing up for her newsletter here. “Anything that is challenging to your lungs is going to work in the wrong direction,” says Dr. “Risk factors” that lead to a compromised immune system include:

The old adage “you are what you eat” is true. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the juice of half the lemon and the olive oil. A form of malnutrition that is surprisingly common even in affluent countries is known as "micronutrient malnutrition. "The scientist can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors. Chicken soup is a staple for surviving cold and flu season, and not just because the warm comfort food is a nostalgic throwback to mom taking care of you. Eggs contain a high amount of vitamin D, which is vital in regulating and strengthening immunity. Coconuts and Coconut Oil: Depending on where you live and what time of year it is, you can’t always get your hands on high-quality fresh produce.

Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in so many ways.

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Protein from lean animal sources and plant-based versions (like chickpeas, beans, lentils, and peas) can also boost immunity by regulating existing cells and generating new ones. Oysters contains more zinc than any other food, Emmie Satrazemis, a registered dietitian and the nutrition director at Trifecta, tells SheKnows. Although foods high in vitamin C won’t stop your flu symptoms, eating them regularly may help prevent illness down the line. Swap out a usual beverage daily for green tea could improve your health. Other considerations, avoid topical comfrey in individuals who have or at risk of developing hepatic disorders, cancer or immune disorders. 5 to 10 years old also proved zinc to be a helpful component in preventing that cold.

These spinach nuggets (pictured above) are another way to get your kids eating greens!

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Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? Some experiments with mice suggest that cold exposure might reduce the ability to cope with infection. Throw them into smoothies instead. Contact us at [email protected]

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When you get too stressed, your immune system takes a hit. Try adding healthful fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans to your diet. Fennel A licorice-tasting culinary herb and medicinal plant, fennel is a lesser-known immune-boosting herb but very much worth adding to your stable of home remedies. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans, and even fewer studies that tie the effects of nutrition directly to the development (versus the treatment) of diseases. How much lutein should you eat in a day:

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In fact, we have an entire group of proteins in our blood called immunoproteins, also known as immunoglobulins or antibodies. As the new coronavirus continues to spread across the country, having an optimally functioning immune system is more important than ever. This spice is more than just a delicious kick to your next dinnertime meal; it contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. This is due to the qualities of curcumin, a compound in turmeric. Here’s what she had to say:

The amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine, which may explain the results. They also include a number of other immune-boosting nutrients, such as B vitamins and selenium. Together, these ingredients provide a powerhouse supplement to boost and improve your immunity! 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. 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. Eat a variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Blueberries in particular may help you fend off colds and flu, though, as they are high in pterostilbene.

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Kids seem to love salmon with a sweet twist, like this Maple Apple Caramelized Salmon. Honey is helpful in relieving sore and itchy throats, according to a study published in the Iran Journal of Basic Medical Science. One medium orange provides 70 mg, a grapefruit contains almost 90 mg, and a medium raw red bell pepper packs 150 mg. Despite its potential benefits, dark chocolate is high in calories and saturated fat, so it is important to eat it in moderation. 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. Loaded with whole grains from granola and probiotic yogurt, a yogurt parfait is an immune-boosting start to your busy day.

Spinach gives you a great bang for its buck!

In 2020, a study by University of Birmingham and King’s College London found that 125 non-smoking amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 still had the immune systems of young people. Wendler is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor practicing family medicine in Waterdown, Ontario. Cook with bone broth. Be wary of foods that are infused with probiotics , though. Modern medicine is busy researching the vast connections between the immune system and gut health, and they’ve found that they have a very close relationship. Antioxidants help protect your body and anthocyanidins take it to the next level.

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


Your body can more easily absorb “heme iron,” which is abundant in lean poultry such as chicken and turkey, plus seafood. "be wary of hype and headlines", vitamin D might be referred to as a vitamin, but it also acts as a hormone, participating in many roles in the body. If you want more intensity, look for something you actually enjoy doing -- exercise doesn’t have to be a chore! But studies have also shown that healthful diet and lifestyle habits can help boost the body’s natural defenses: That's because "chronic inflammation can weaken and disrupt the function of your immune system," says Yeung. One approach that could help researchers get more complete answers about whether lifestyle factors such as exercise help improve immunity takes advantage of the sequencing of the human genome. “This might mean that our immune response doesn’t recognise certain bugs,” she says, “or the bugs have sneaky evasion strategies. You can build up your children’s immune systems with nutrient-dense foods.

The pungent aroma comes from sulfur compounds, including allicin. Mushrooms are great for boosting your immunity, according to a study by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Then, during a four-year sojourn teaching in Europe & Asia, she was made aware of the incredible healing power of nature, the importance of nutrition and discovered Eastern healing techniques and meditation. The vitamin C content of tomatoes is the excuse you needed to eat to eat pasta smothered in Buttery Tomato Sauce with Onion. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. Move it in ways that bring you enjoyment, not in ways that feel like punishment.


One ounce of Brazil nuts, about six to eight whole nuts, provides nearly 1,000% of the daily value for selenium. For example, a serving of Kellogg’s Smart Start or General Mills Whole Grain Total, has about 15 milligrams (mg) of the mineral. Keep a gratitude journal. The soup’s salty broth also keeps mucus thin the same way cough medicines do.

Flax seeds, flax oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. In general, our vitamin D levels tend to be influenced by sun exposure, skin tone and latitude — people in northern areas who get less sun exposure in the winter typically have lower vitamin D. You can also try these Blueberry Oat Breakfast Bars, Berry Coconut Steel Cut Oats, or Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Cups. Here are some of our favorite ways to eat our vitamins: They have different properties that help things like a sore throat, upset stomach, and congestion, and can help you feel like your symptoms are fading away. In fact, holy basil is another amazing herb to help relieve stress and support your adrenal glands, which indirectly helps support your immune system. Try the following recipes to help keep your immune system in top condition. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables were proven to help boost immunity, according to the study.

For a fun treat, try this Healthy Instant Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt (pictured above). Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are the ones that remember germs, “so if you meet that germ again,” says Cruickshank, “they’ll just deal with it probably without you even knowing. But balance is important, even when it comes to foods you might consider healthy.

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Some studies suggest elderberry extract reduces the duration of the flu. More great ideas include these Flourless Sweet Potato Blender Muffins or this Sweet Potato and Apple Soup. Your body does not produce vitamin C on its own, so be sure to stock up on vitamin C by enjoying the fruits and vegetables—like citrus fruits—which are rich in this immune-boosting vitamin! For adult men, it’s 11 milligrams (mg), and for women, it’s 8 mg. The raw seeds have 204 calories per quarter cup.

Whole Grain Bread

This helps lower infection rates and supports the health of the immune system. Finally, adequate hydration and sleep go a long way in keeping the immune system healthy as well. While you may be more familiar with the culinary usage of certain mushrooms, like antioxidant packed Shiitakes, most medicinal mushrooms are intended to be consumed in dried powder form. Iron, which helps your body carry oxygen to cells, comes in different forms. It's important to remember, however, that nutritious foods and drinks can only help boost immune system response.

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that comes in many colours and is low in calories, but mighty high in nutrients, including vitamin C—of which it has about 37mg per 100g of cabbage. Many fortified bowls of cereal pack an entire day’s worth of zinc. Everybody has got colds, and now we are braced for a coronavirus epidemic. Sources of Vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other fruits and vegetables. Research has shown it can have anti-inflammatory effects by inducing the expression and production of interleukin-10, an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive cytokine.

Nutrients are always most bioavailable in their natural food form. It’s great to eat, but it also comes in a supplement form, and studies have shown that daily supplementationwith garlic can reduce colds by 63% when compared with placebo. It’s also a great source of probiotics to protect your immune system. While that may not be doable, realistically, some people take garlic supplements to get 300-mg dried garlic in a powdered tablet. Kefir is a fermented drink that contains live cultures of bacteria that are beneficial for health. All of these nutrients work in different ways to enhance immune system function. They also support healthy sleep due to their natural melatonin content, which is crucial because research shows that people who don't get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus.

Fatty Fish

“In terms of coronavirus,” says Cruickshank, “it’s mostly spread by droplet transmission, as far as we can tell, so the biggest thing is hygiene. Keep reading to find out which plant-based foods can help boost your immune system naturally. When we get older, he says, the barrier function in the gut doesn’t work that well, “so you have something called leaky gut syndrome, where bugs creep into our bodies causing mild infections”. There are small studies that suggest a benefit to some of these foods, but strong evidence is lacking. Dark chocolate contains a heavy concentration of theobromine, an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing.

I always have a reusable water bottle on me that I fill up at every opportunity. Where can you find anthocyanidins? Before we start: And for more tips to stay healthy, check out these 27 Doctors' Own Cures for a Cold. 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. Top a baked sweet potato with nuts or seeds, and munch on carrots with healthy dips, like nut butter or tahini. Looking to prevent colds and flu and keep your immune system strong?