This post was originally published in March 2020. Updated in January 2023.
The key to protecting your body against infections is to boost your immunity. When bacteria or viruses attack the body, the immune system starts to defend your body and fight any infectious diseases.
Eating healthy foods that boost immune system, drinking enough water, sleeping well, being active, and washing your hands can strengthen and keep your body healthy.
When you are sick, a healthy diet is vital for you to give the immune system a chance to kill infections. So giving your body all the nutrients it needs can help improve your immunity and keep its strength.
In this article, I will include the top 13 foods that can provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to strengthen your immune system, other ways to support your health, and more FAQs.
Foods That Boost The Immune System:
Broccoli is rich in vitamins C and E which can fight free radicals that cause damage to the immune system, and this in return, will help with boosting the immune system and keep your body healthy.
It also contains other antioxidants like glutathione that protect the body from diseases and support the immune system.
2- Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits include:
These fruits are a good source of vitamin C that can boost the function of the immune system.
Most people eat oranges or drink orange juice when they catch a cold. A study showed that vitamin C reduces the duration of common cold symptoms. But researchers believe its effect is still not clear.
Also, fortified orange juice that contains vitamin D can reduce respiratory infections. Another study showed that vitamin D supplements protect your body against acute respiratory tract infection.
People have used ginger as a natural remedy since ancient times. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can relieve the pain of a sore throat.
It helps also reduce nausea and vomiting and relieve stomach pain. So ginger can decrease inflammation and support immune system health to fight off infections effectively.
Egyptians, Greek, and Romans have used garlic for health purposes for centuries as it contains a compound called allicin, which can boost the immune system.
A study showed that garlic supplements that contain allicin can reduce the risk of a common cold.
Spinach contains antioxidants and beta-carotene that improve immune responses and help your body get rid of free radicals.
Spinach is also rich in vitamins C and E which can strengthen your body. Plus, a study showed that flavonoids in spinach decrease upper respiratory tract infections in healthy people.
Furthermore, leafy green vegetables like spinach contain folate which repairs and forms DNA and helps with tissue growth.
Researchers have found that turmeric has medicinal properties, that’s why Asians have been using it in many different dishes. The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which may boost the immune system.
A study showed that oral curcumin supplementation reduces inflammation. it also decreases exercise-induced muscle damage.
7- Red Bell Pepper
Peppers are full of vitamin C. In fact, red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C as oranges.
They also contain antioxidants, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. So they can help support the immune system and keep your body healthy.
You should eat food high in vitamin C as our bodies don’t make or store it. So it’s best to add more fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C to your diet to maintain your body and skin health.
8- Sweet Potatoes & Carrots
Carrots and sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, the main source of vitamin A that gives your body the ability to fight off diseases.
They are also rich in vitamins C and E which can reduce skin damage, keep your skin firm, and promote your health.
Vitamin E in almonds can improve immune responses and reduce infections. Research showed that vitamin E strengthens your body to fight off infectious diseases.
Two ounces of almonds can provide your body with fats, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients can work together on promoting your health quickly.
Eating yogurt regularly can support your health as Probiotics found in yogurt have a significant effect on boosting immune responses.
Yogurt is also rich in vitamin D which plays a role in regulating the immune system and fighting infections.
You should consume plain yogurt with no sugar added, you can add fruits or raw honey to it instead.
Also, Buy yogurt that is fortified with vitamin D to support the immune system and reduce the incidence of influenza infection.
11- Green Tea
Flavonoids in green tea reduce upper respiratory tract infections. Green tea contains also EGCG which is an antioxidant that can boost the immune system.
Plus, it contains l-theanine, an amino acid that supports the immune system and decreases cold and flu symptoms. It also defends your body against microbes and infections.
Kiwi can provide your body with vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate. These nutrients can strengthen your immune system to fight infections.
13- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can boost the immune system and fight infections and inflammation.
Theobromine, an antioxidant found in dark chocolate fights free radicals and destroys them.
Also, dark chocolate contains flavanols, another powerful antioxidant, that can improve blood circulation and protect the skin from UV and UVB rays.
Consuming chicken soup when you’re sick could reduce cold symptoms and relieve inflammation.
Chicken is high in vitamin B-6, protein, and iron which can help promote the formation of new healthy red blood cells and boost immunity.
Top Other Ways To Support The Immune System Naturally:
- Soda contains too much sugar which weakens the immune system and makes it hard for it to fight infections.
- According to the Nutrition Journal, processed food may affect the immune system and increases the risk of auto-inflammatory disease.
- A study showed that consuming too much alcohol has a negative impact on your immune system health.
- Refined carbohydrates turn into sugar in your body. And, as we mentioned, sugar isn’t good for your health.
- People who smoke are more prone to develop infections like influenza. Smoking lowers also protective antioxidant levels in the blood.
What Are 10 Foods That Boost The Immune System?
– Dark chocolate.
– Citrus fruit.
– Green Tea.
How Can I Boost My Immune System Quickly?
– Maintain a healthy diet.
– Stay in shape.
– Sleep 7-9 hours each night.
– Avoid alcohol and smoking.
– Don’t consume sugar and refined carbs.
What Weakens The Immune System?
Eating unhealthy meals, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, and not getting enough sleep can weaken your immune system and increase the risk of infections.
Foods that boost immune system are full of the nutrients that your body needs to keep its strength. Adding those foods to your diet plays a major role in protecting your body from infections.
To support the immune system you should:
- Eat healthy food.
- Drink enough water (at least 2 liters per day).
- Exercise 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes,
- Maintain good hygiene: take a shower, wash your hands, and trim your nails.
- Sleep tight (7-9 hours)