15 Foods To Boost The Immune System

The darker the chocolate, the greater the health benefits. One egg contains roughly 41 IUs of vitamin D, so scramble a few up for breakfast for one fifth of your daily recommended intake. Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of these nutrients. Frontiers, like other autoimmune disorders, these diseases are more common in people who have had other autoimmune issues. 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. Tumeric bolsters the immune system by stimulating antibody formation and people with auto-immune diseases are told by their doctors to take 500 mg of curcumin daily to reduce inflammation and stave off soreness. Francis is a great combination that contains astraglus and helps to tonify a weak immune system. Researchers have linked eating cocoa with improving the immune system. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon, and in milk or foods fortified with vitamin D.

The likely scenario if you catch the infection is, he says, “you’ll be sick for a while and you will recover”.

However, other studies suggest that modest amounts of alcohol may have a protective effect on heart disease and type 2 diabetes. (Department of Health & Human Services.) It reacts to a problem by trying to flush out or burn out the invader and it’s this that can make us feel feverish or snotty. According to research conducted by the University of Auckland, consuming flavonoids—a class of antioxidants found in blueberries—made adults 33 percent less likely to catch a cold than those who did not eat flavonoid-rich foods or supplements daily. 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. Vitamins, especially A, C and D, and minerals such as zinc do have a vital role in the functioning of our immune system, but they are also practically unavoidable components of our diets, present in large quantities in fruits, vegetables and meats. Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C include capsicum, tomato and sweet potato. More clues link immune system imbalance with chronic fatigue syndrome, blood cells are made in the bone marrow and when it’s affected by cancer or its treatment, the number of blood cells that are made are lower than normal. You can find it in garlic, broccoli, sardines, tuna, brazil nuts and barley, among other foods.

“When your heart beats more, your immune cells that patrol for problems move around more,” says Professor Akbar. Green tea is steamed so the EGCG is still active when you drink it. The immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies to combat bacteria, viruses, and other invaders.

  • The body's overall nutritional status, as well as the nutrients we obtain from food, help the immune system to function.
  • Oranges are packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient when you're feeling under the weather.


With the current focus on colds, flu and infections, it seems like the perfect time to talk about eating for immunity. Can specific foods boost the immune system? Just like vegetables, fruits are more beneficial for our health and immune system when they are grown organically. Spinach may boost the immune system, as it contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including: Kids seem to love salmon with a sweet twist, like this Maple Apple Caramelized Salmon.

Set a water intake goal. Include a protein source with every meal and snack. Two servings a week (if you’re pregnant or planning to be, you should ask your doctor about how much you need). Keep your home clean to lower the risk of infection. This gut friendly spice stimulates digestion, gut motility and bowel function, while helping to relieve bloating, cramping and nausea. 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. To know how to take care of your immune system, she says, first you need to understand the weapons in your armoury – a cheeringly impressive collection, it turns out. When people are exposed to situations they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person's subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate.

Kefir yoghurt and pickles such as sauerkraut and kimchi are among the fermented delicacies now fashionable thanks to our increasing knowledge of the microbiome. The following 20 science-backed foods provide valuable ammunition for your own private cold war. In the spirit of boosting white blood cells, make a habit of incorporating these cold-fighting foods into your diet whenever you're fending off the sniffles. Make a smoothie. Haas’ recommendation?

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Research shows they play an essential role in protecting tissues, cells and vital organs — in addition to supporting your immune system. 7 back-to-school immune boosting tips for kids' health, two kids in daycare. Does being cold give you a weak immune system? Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, responsible for the distinct yellow colouring and the impressive list of health properties. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease.

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. Getting outside during the cold of winter isn’t easy, but spending more time in nature encourages good health. This potent antioxidant is produced by your body but with age, its level can drop, according to a study published in Integrative Medicine: We know it’s a lot, but ideally you should aim for a clove or two a day. Whole grains are good for your body, keeping your gut healthy enough to defend your body against illness. Research suggests that participants who ate shiitake mushrooms every day for four weeks had a significant increase in numbers and strength of immunity-boosting T-cells. 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. Beta-glucan could help fortify the immune system and even help antibiotics work better.

Malnutrition results when the body does not receive enough calories and/or nutrients to promote good health and sustain healthy functioning of your body’s systems. Think of free radicals as bulls in a china shop destroying things left and right. Here are 11 of the best foods for your immune system. Add oats to your kids’ diet by serving them Apple and Almond Butter Overnight Oats (pictured above). Scientists have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans.


Read on for our top 4 immune-boosting herbs and start using them in your kitchen. One study found that people who took cranberry capsules twice daily for a year had a lower risk of getting a UTI. But balance is important, even when it comes to foods you might consider healthy.

Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, also may influence immune response and play a role in a healthful eating style. 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. Although supplements containing high doses of antioxidants and other nutrients found in whole foods are often touted as natural immune-boosters, some research indicates that taking dietary supplements may have limited benefits for the immune system. I take 2020 IU/day for maintenance, but higher doses may be required to correct deficiency. The amino acid that’s responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea—decaf versions have it, too. But it is important not to go overboard.

Probiotic Foods, Such As Yogurt

Papayas also have a digestion-friendly enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects, and not to mention, folate, B vitamins and Vitamin A in the form of carotenoids for the proper functioning of a healthy immune system. See our Privacy Policy for further details. Get your flu shot. If you have been diagnosed with an immune system disorder, talk with your healthcare team about how to stay healthy and well and manage your immune disorder. Most recommendations land on 3–4 grams of ginger extract a day, or up to four cups of ginger tea, but no more than 1 gram a day if you are pregnant.

However, more research is necessary to confirm whether or not it can effectively prevent illness. Restricting your calorie intake can actually weaken your immune system, which could counteract the positive effects of weight loss. Eat them on a regular basis so your immune system is always firing on all cylinders. By clicking "Accept", you agree to our use of cookies and similar technologies. Immunity boost with chinese herbs, the skin serves as a literal barrier to invaders, lymphatic fluid (lymph) continually circulates to rid cells of everyday toxins and lymph nodes serve as filters for the body. As with blueberries, green tea contains flavonoids, which may reduce the risk of a cold.

The jury is still out on whether vitamin C actually helps reduce a person's risk of catching a cold, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. 8 vitamins & minerals you need for a healthy immune system – health essentials from cleveland clinic. Forget boozing through the coronavirus crisis, because heavy drinking also depletes our immune cells. The majority of the research that supports this was carried out on animals or in a laboratory. The research also notes that fennel contains flavonoids that act as anti-inflammatory agents.


The good news is, there are things you can do to prevent this from happening. Elderberry may interact with the following medications. “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.

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And most of the time robust scientific evidence is hard to find. Plain water, herbal or infused teas or pure vegetable juices are all good choices. This fruit contains phytochemical antioxidants, according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal. 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. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation recommends eating fish two to three times a week. Broccoli also has an abundance of 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) , a chemical produced when it and other cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and kale, are chewed and digested, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Enjoy every day with water or add to your favourite smoothie.

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Snack on blueberries for the health benefits of flavonoids. Be wary of foods that are infused with probiotics , though. 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. Reddy writes the Your Health column for Personal Journal. For example, some researchers are looking at whether extreme amounts of intensive exercise can cause athletes to get sick more often or somehow impairs their immune function. Generally speaking, many processed foods use vegetable oils, meaning commercial sauces, pre-made meals and snack foods may deliver a hearty dose of omega 6 fats.

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Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly. Turns out this herbal remedy has some science behind it: 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?

“Our immune systems get weaker as we get older,” says Professor Arne Akbar from UCL who, like Professor Lord, is a spokesperson for the British Society for Immunology. Contrary to popular opinion, good quality Australian olive oil can withstand home cooking temperatures without cause for concern. Despite these inevitable difficulties in measuring the relationship of stress to immunity, scientists are making progress. Red peppers are another vitamin C-rich source for fighting colds.

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What if you improve your diet? “How Antioxidants Work. That's because "chronic inflammation can weaken and disrupt the function of your immune system," says Yeung. Vitamin B6-rich foods include chicken and cold water fish such as salmon and tuna. Eat more citrus.

“We’re constantly exposed to germs, and we only get sick from a handful of those,” says Cruickshank. Sleep is an important aspect of health. Over time it is believed this leaves us with an increased risk of developing chronic disease conditions including type 2 diabetes. 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. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity. How much green tea should you drink in a day: You can’t just eat an orange or grapefruit and expect one quick burst of vitamin C to prevent a cold.

Eat This, Not That! When You're Stressed

One study last year found that lack of sleep impaired the disease-fighting ability of a type of lymphocyte called T cells, and research is demonstrating the importance of our natural biorhythms overall. Salmon is rich in omega 3 fats. It's also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Research has also linked garlic intake to a lower risk of stomach, colon and esophagus cancers. How much do you need a day: But avoid drinking to excess.

Wild salmon is filled with zinc, a nutrient that has been proven to assist with reducing common cold symptoms. Probably one of the most notable effects of lavender is on stress. With mango, oranges, and greens, this Green Mango Orange Smoothie does just that. If getting to bed earlier isn’t enough for you to sleep well, adopt sleep hygiene practices that will help you get enough sleep, like ditching electronics in the hours leading up to bedtime. Do not drastically change the way you eat by eliminating whole food groups or starting a diet to lose weight. As more and more research points to the bacteria in our digestive tract as one of the keys to a healthy body, a diet rich in probiotic foods, such as yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut, is key for an immune system functioning at its best, she adds.

Jalapeño peppers get their spice from a compound called capsaicin, which is something of an all-star in the nutrition world. Research confirms that probiotics are the healthy bacteria your body needs that will also boost your immune system. Most miso is made in Japan, where the ingredient has been used since the eighth century. Eat your water. One cooked pepper has 19 percent of your daily recommended amount of beta carotene. “Some studies have suggested that the first-line-of-defence macrophages are not as effective in people who have had a lot of alcohol,” says Cruickshank. It is involved in tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, immune system support, iron absorption and stomach acid activation. I always have a reusable water bottle on me that I fill up at every opportunity.

It may be time to rethink the tropical fruit, which has 157 per cent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C in a single small fruit, according to US-registered dietitian Franziska Spritzler on Healthline.

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Food is one of the most powerful tools we have to help prevent disease and a healthy body begins with a healthy immune system. “Exercise mobilises them by increasing your blood flow, so they can do their surveillance jobs and seek and destroy in other parts of the body. Fasting for 72 hours can reset your entire immune system. Two to three cloves a day. Obesity has been linked to increased risk for influenza and other infections such as pneumonia.


The notion that the immune system is something that we can easily influence is cast into doubt when you realise how complicated it really is. Where ever you go, you see sick people. The body turns these carotenoids into vitamin A, and they have an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system against infection. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, a type of unstable molecule known to damage the immune system. 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. Alas, those probably aren't the best strategies, and we know we could be more strategic when it comes to throwing our immune systems a bone come flu and cold season. Instead, they say, stick with the more mundane, but proven, approaches: When animals eat this compound, they’re less likely to contract influenza, herpes, even anthrax; in humans, it boosts immunity, speeds wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better.

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Malnutrition can lead to interruptions in treatment schedules, longer recovery times and, in serious cases, death.

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Ask us about tinctures and extracts to help find the right one for you! Half a grapefruit has more than 60% of your daily vitamin C content, and eating grapefruit may also help the body absorb other essential nutrients, such as iron. Add peppers to your soups. Use this new app that teaches kids how to wash their hands to prevent the flu at home. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, a type of antioxidant that gives the skin of the potatoes its orange color. These delicious Wild Salmon Sweet Potato Cakes feature sweet potatoes, coconut oil and avocados, which are also rich in health-boosting antioxidants. Olive leaf extract / natural antibiotic / immune support. Legend has it that they were a gift from the Prophet Muhammad to the people of the Caucasus Mountains near the Black Sea, who were forbidden to share their secrets.

“I’m not suggesting that people are pathologically dirty but there’s evidence that washing your hands, being careful not to sneeze over people, keeping surfaces nice and clean all reduce the risk of transmission. In the meantime, general healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand. But that doesn't mean the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren't intriguing and shouldn't be studied. What their work reveals, is just how complicated and integrated this response really is – throughout our bodies, all the time, different cell types are talking to each other, and there’s still a huge amount that we don’t understand about these diverse interactions. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and essential for collagen and other protein synthesis within the body. Cue the sniffling, sore throats, coughs and congestion -- classic signs of the common cold. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Feb. Polyphenols have similar properties to antioxidants that help prevent cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

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When I’m a little stressed and run down, my immune system gets a little tired, so I make a conscious effort to improve the sorts of food I’m getting into my body. 6 ways to boost your immune system naturally, a 2020 study noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Minimize stress. Citrus fruits Most people instinctively turn to citrus fruits if they feel a cold coming on, whether it’s hot lemon and water, orange juice, or slices of fresh grapefruit. Boosting our immune system has rarely felt more urgent, but, beyond eating more tangerines and hoping for the best, what else can we do?

Opt for Yogurt With Probiotics

Increase B6 by eating a sweet potato yogurt almond butter breakfast parfait. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Variety is key in keeping our immune systems strong as many different nutrients work to strengthen our immunity. Respiratory infections, influenza, and particularly pneumonia are a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide.

Research shows people who drink in excess are more susceptible to respiratory illness and pneumonia and recover from infection and wounds more slowly. Milk with probiotics (buttermilk and sweet acidophilus). But a variety of nutrients from many different sources will help fortify your body so it's better equipped to fight colds and even chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The daily recommended intake of vitamin C is 40 milligrams, but you can safely double this dose, with a daily serve of berries, citrus and kiwifruit to give your body a natural daily vitamin C hit, especially when recovering from an infection. Animal sources of zinc such as chicken are better absorbed than plant ones such as legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans) and wholegrains (oat, quinoa, brown rice). What about chicken soup? A healthy diet starts with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and also includes low-fat dairy and protein.

Reach for Zesty Ginger

Oats contain beta glucans, a component of fiber that activates killer cells. This is great for your immune system and general health. When you have a cold, a little fennel is your friend. Serve your kids a variety of seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, and flax seeds, to boost their immune systems. It’s been a long, wet winter. Vitamin K is one of the unsung heroes of the body. Broccoli may be the most super of superfoods on the planet.

When you're trying to fight off an illness, focus on consuming foods that are packed with nutrients. Whether this decrease in thymus function explains the drop in T cells or whether other changes play a role is not fully understood. They are a rich source of vitamin E, an antioxidant. Not only is it packed with digestion-regulating fiber, but it also contains vitamin C. Here are some tips for getting the top vitamins and minerals your immune system needs to perform. Try adding healthful fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans to your diet.