A study noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract's immune defense system. But having a right diet is just, if not more, important. Easy to Make Healthy Meals. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B Danuta W 6 months ago. Sunflower seeds can make a tasty addition to salads or breakfast bowls. Read on to discover 15 foods that boost the immune system.
Regular exercise, quality sleep, frequent hand washing and vitamin D supplementation are all important lifestyle habits to keep you healthy. Perhaps even more important is maintaining a vitamin-rich diet, including lots of colourful fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruit, in particular, is an easy diet upgrade to make. A revolutionary way to get more from the foods you eat. Which fruits are best for your immune system? Munch them on their own, use them in recipes or brighten up your greens by adding fresh fruit to a salad.
Try the sweet green fruit in a smoothie it pairs well with strawberries and spinach , or in one of these recipes:. Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick.
Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may also help decrease nausea. While it's used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Ginger may help decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties, according to recent animal research. Spinach made our list not just because it's rich in vitamin C. It's also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid. Try one of our favorite healthy spinach recipes!
Look for yogurts that have "live and active cultures" printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are preflavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits instead. Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D , so try to select brands fortified with vitamin D. When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C.
However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. A half-cup serving, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E. You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries. But this bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Also, research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage. Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG.
Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells. This is due to the qualities of curcumin, a compound in turmeric. According to a review , curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
According to a report , long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis RA.
RA is a chronic autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body. Broccoli is another source of vitamin C. It also contains potent antioxidants, such as sulforaphane. For these reasons, it is a good choice of vegetable to eat regularly to support immune system health. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene , a type of antioxidant that gives the skin of the potatoes its orange color.
Beta carotene is a source of vitamin A. It helps to make skin healthy and may even provide some protection against skin damage from ultraviolet UV rays.
Spinach may boost the immune system, as it contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including:. Vitamins C and E can help support the immune system. Research also indicates that flavonoids may help to prevent the common cold in otherwise healthy people.
People use ginger in a variety of dishes and desserts, as well as in teas. According to a review, ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties and is likely to offer health benefits. However, more research is necessary to confirm whether or not it can effectively prevent illness.
One review looked at whether taking garlic supplements containing allicin reduced the risk of getting a cold. The group of participants taking a placebo had more than double the number of colds between them than those taking the garlic supplements. However, the researchers concluded that more research is necessary to determine whether or not garlic can help to prevent colds. Green tea contains only a small amount of caffeine, so people can enjoy it as an alternative to black tea or coffee.
Drinking it may also strengthen the immune system. As with blueberries, green tea contains flavonoids, which may reduce the risk of a cold. Kefir is a fermented drink that contains live cultures of bacteria that are beneficial for health. Initial research suggests that drinking kefir may boost the immune system. According to a review , various studies have shown that regular consumption of kefir can help with:. The majority of the research that supports this was carried out on animals or in a laboratory.
Researchers need to perform additional studies to understand how kefir may prevent disease in humans. Sunflower seeds can make a tasty addition to salads or breakfast bowls. They are a rich source of vitamin E , an antioxidant. In the same way as other antioxidants, vitamin E improves immune function. It does this by fighting off free radicals, which can damage cells.
Almonds are another excellent source of vitamin E. They also contain manganese, magnesium , and fiber. A small handful or a quarter of a cup of almonds is a healthful snack that may benefit the immune system. Oranges and kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is the vitamin that many people turn to when they feel a cold developing.
While scientists are still not sure exactly how it helps, vitamin C may reduce the duration of common cold symptoms and improve the function of the human immune system. For people trying to avoid the sugar in fruit, red bell peppers are an excellent alternative source of vitamin C. Stir-frying and roasting both preserve the nutrient content of red bell peppers better than steaming or boiling, according to a study on cooking methods. Enjoying the 15 immune-boosting foods covered in this article may strengthen people's immune system and improve their ability to fight off infections.
That said, it is important to remember that the immune system is complex. Eating a healthful, balanced diet is just one way to support immune health. It is also essential to be mindful of the other lifestyle factors that may affect immune system health, such as exercising and not smoking.
Anyone who gets frequent colds or other illnesses and is concerned about their immune system should speak to a doctor. Article last reviewed by Tue 10 July All references are available in the References tab.