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16 Immune Boosting Foods

There are many things you can do to support and strengthen your immune system, and naturally you should include the right foods that help to boost your immune system and ensure that you maintain good health even when you do come into contact with viruses and bacteria.

Here are 16 immune-boosting foods that’ll help keep you healthy right through the seasons:


1. Citrus fruits

Vitamin C is known for its ability to shorten the duration of a cold, as it’s one of the most powerful immune system booster vitamins. It’s also said to boost white blood cell production, which is key to keeping infections far away.

Oranges are probably the first vitamin C-rich citrus fruit to come to mind, but there are many more citrus fruits that can be very beneficial for your immune system, such as grapefruit, clementines, tangerines, and lemons.

It’s important to note that your body doesn’t make its own vitamin C, which is why you’ll need to consume it. The RDI of vitamin C for men is 90 mg, while the RDI for women is 75 mg, if however, you choose to take vitamin C supplements, do not exceed more than 2,000mg a day.

2. Kiwi

Kiwi fruits are another fantastic source of vitamin C which help to boost white blood cell production and keep the immune system strong. It also has plenty of other nutrients which make the fruit an immune-boosting powerhouse, as well as helping to maintain bodily functions, those nutrients include folate, potassium, and vitamin K.

3.Papaya

Papaya is yet another great source of vitamin C as it contains double the amount of the RDI of vitamin C in one medium-sized papaya, compared to an orange. They also contain a digestive enzyme called papain, known for its anti-inflammatory effects, as well as folate, potassium, and magnesium, which all help to keep your body functioning perfectly.

4. Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are probably not the first vitamin C-rich food to spring to mind, but the humble red bell pepper contains significantly more vitamin C than an orange, making it a potentially powerful immune-boosting food.

They’re also a good source of beta-carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A in the body, helping to boost to support the immune system as well as maintain eye and skin health.

5. Berries

Berries that are dark in colour, such as elderberries, blueberries, and acai berries all contain anthocyanin, a flavonoid with powerful antioxidant properties that can help to support your immune system.

Elderberries, in particular, are touted as an anti-inflammatory immune-boosting food and are an old home remedy for colds and flu.

6. Broccoli

It turns out your mom was right when she told you to eat your broccoli after all! Broccoli is chock-full of nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and E, as well as antioxidants and fibre, making it one of the most nutritious vegetables around.

Make sure to keep the nutrients intact by keeping the cooking time on your broccoli to a minimum by steaming it only slightly, or simply eat it raw.

7. Garlic

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is recognised for its ability to help boost the immune system, helping to ward off infections. It may assist in decelerating the hardening of arteries, and may even help to lower blood pressure, although there is little proof of the latter. 

8. Ginger

Ginger is another well-known home remedy for colds, sore throats, and other inflammatory illnesses, but is also used as a remedy for nausea. Ginger contains gingerol, which is related to capsaicin, and as such, it may be able to assist with lowering cholesterol, as well as in the relief of chronic pain.

9. Spinach

Spinach is yet another brilliant source of vitamin C but also contains beta carotene and an abundance of antioxidants, all of which plays a role in assisting the immune system to fight infections.

Much like broccoli, it’s best to consume spinach as close to raw as possible to ensure that its nutrients are kept intact, so if you do choose to cook your spinach, do so as little as possible. However, cooking can help to make vitamin A just a little more absorbable, as well as helping to prevent the oxalic acid in the spinach from inhibiting the absorption of other nutrients.

10. Yoghurt or Kefir

Eating a good portion of kefir or yogurt with live cultures daily, such as Greek-style yoghurt, can assist your immune system with keeping illnesses at bay, while also being a great source of vitamin D, which assists in modulating your immune system.

11. Almonds

Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps to support the immune system. What’s more, the vitamin E in the almonds are easily absorbed by the body due to the fact that almonds are loaded with healthy fats.

12. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients, such as phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins B6. They’re also a rich source of selenium, which studies have shown to assist in fighting viral infections, while the vitamin E  found in sunflower seeds helps to modulate the immune system. 

13. Turmeric

Turmeric is a popular spice used in curries for its beautiful golden hue, which it gets from its abundance of curcumin – an anti-inflammatory compound.

Turmeric has also been used as a home remedy to assist in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show curcumin can also help give your immune system a boost, while keeping harmful viruses at bay.

14. Green tea

Green tea is loaded with tons of antioxidants, such as flavonoids and EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate). EGCG can assist in boosting your immune system, and unlike black tea, green tea is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved. It’s also a wonderful source of L-theanine – an amino acid that, like EGCG, can assist in boosting your immune system.

15. Poultry

In case you thought the whole chicken soup to ward off a cold thing was an old wives tale, think again. Chicken and turkey are both rich in vitamin B6 which is needed by the body to create red blood cells. The carnosine found in chicken is also said to keep the flu virus at bay.

16. Shellfish

Shellfish such as oysters, crab, and lobster are not only delicious but can also help give your immune system a boost due to their high levels of zinc.

Too much zinc, however, can actually hinder immune system function so make sure you don’t exceed the recommended daily intake (RDI), for men the RDI is 11mg, while the RDI for women is 8mg.

Here’s To A Strong Immune System

It’s always important that you try to get all the nutrition you need by following a healthy diet and avoid unhealthy and processed foods that weaken the immune system. Balance, of course, is key, so ensure that you don’t exceed the recommended daily intake of certain nutrients whether through supplements for immune support or immune-boosting foods.

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