Super fruits for immune system are those fruits have high syrup content, and are rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. They can bolster your immune system by supplying a large number of nutrients to the body. They cleanse your body from within by eliminating toxins and waste matter. Eating super fruits for immune system boosts our immunity and even protect us from frequent cold and flu.
14 Superfoods For Boosting Your Immune System
At all times of the day, your body is exposed to bacteria, germs and viruses that are trying to invade and attack your body.
Your intricate immune system works like a personal military system, armed and ready to defend you from these foreing invaders that cause harm.
With a healthy immune system, even if an infection invades your bodies, it’s usually a matter of time before it can fight it off.
To support your troops and get your immune system “serving” you with strength, it’s fundamental to focus on the right fuel.
We’re going to explore these immune-boosting superfoods in more detail below, but keep in mind that not all of these foods may be good for your body. If you have an allergy or sensitivity, skip them!
Additionally, at the end of this article, we’re going to discuss nutrition and immunity more generally, and provide a list of what you should and shouldn’t include in your diet.
14 Superfoods for Boosting Your Immune System
Incorporating these foods in your daily routine will help keep your body energized and healthy. These leading superfoods are packed with vitamins and minerals that will help your body fend off germs and help you perform at your best. Aim to sneak them into your diet whenever possible.
1) Citrus Fruits (limes, lemons, oranges, clementines)
Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C which can help create white blood cells. Since vitamin C is water soluble, your body can’t store it. So it’s important to eat vitamin c containing foods on a regular basis.
One cup of orange juice contains about three oranges! Since too much sugar can decrease immunity, it’s best to go for the whole fruit whenever possible.
Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to your water or tea for a vitamin C boost.
2) Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
These beautiful berries are rich in vitamin C as well as flavonoids and antioxidants. Flavonoids are meant to defend the plants. When humans eat them, they help protect cells. They also have strong antiinflammatory properties.
Add them to your morning cereal or yogurt for some natural sweetness. If you have excess on hand, freeze them and use them for smoothies.
Cherries have strong antioxidant benefits and can help protect against viruses. They contain anthocyanins and cyanidin which are helpful in reducing inflammation. Cherries also have lots of potassium which helps improve blood pressure and hydration — great for post workout.
If you’re going for cherry juice, aim for the 100% cherry juice types with no added sweeteners or sugar. Cherry juice labeled as “cocktail” typically has a lot of sugar and preservatives added.
4) Tea (green and black)
Green and black tea are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Green tea in particular contains epigallocatechin, an antioxidant which has been shown to enhance immunity. Green tea is also rich in L-theanine. This is an amino acid (protein building block) that can improve the germ fighting action of your T-cells.
Try substituting a cup of coffee for a cup of tea every day. If you’re in a hot climate, make some home brewed iced green tea and add a bit of honey for sweetness.
Ginger is a strong anti-inflammatory which can help prevent some chronic diseases. It also has been suggested to have antibacterial benefits such as fighting against some bacteria.
This sweet tasting root makes an excellent fresh tea. Simply peel and slice it and add hot water. It’s also a perfect addition to simple dishes such as a stir-fry.
Whole garlic cloves contain allicin. This is a compound that gives garlic it’s pungent taste. It also converts to sulphur compounds which can boost white blood cell function. This makes your body better equipped to fight viruses.
It’s healthier to have the whole garlic version instead of powdered. In order to activate allicin, crush, chew, or slice the garlic cloves.
Turmeric gives curries their bright yellow color. It’s a root that’s been used for medicinal use, dating back nearly 4000 years. The active compound is called curcumin which is a very powerful antioxidant.
Curcumin content is not super high in turmeric and it’s not easily absorbed. But consuming it with black pepper and a healthy fat can help hike up the bioavailability, or how well it’s digested and absorbed by your body.
Simmering vegetables or bones in water releases immune benefiting vitamins and minerals. Bone broth can be made from cow, chicken, and even fish bones. In bone broths you also get collagen which is a protein used for your bones, muscles, and skin.
To make broth, simply boil water and add vegetables such as carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms. If you’re making bone broth, add a bit of vinegar. Boil water then let simmer for a minimum of 2 hours, then strain.
9) Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable. Due to their bright red color, they’re also a rich source of beta carotene.
Red bell peppers are fully ripe and require more time to grow. This makes them a bit more expensive but also more rich in nutrients than red and yellow ones. Red bell peppers have almost ten times more beta-carotene and vitamin A than the other colors.
Medicinal mushrooms have been a common element of Eastern medicine for ages. They recently gained popularity in Western culture. Although they aren’t necessarily a cure all, research is suggesting they can help with heart health, cancer and age related disease.
They’re also an excellent source of vitamin D which is essential for the immune system, a healthy metabolism, and mental health.
Experiment with different types of mushrooms. Some of the healthiest are reishi, lion’s mane, turkey tail, and chaga.
11) Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage)
These powerful vegetables all come from the cruciferous family which are known for their cancer fighting abilities. They include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and kale.
These amazing vegetables are packed with immune boosting vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and E. In addition they can potentially prevent DNA damage and therefore protect against certain types of cancer.
If eating these vegetables raw causes you to have gas and bloating, try steaming, sautéing or roasting them. Vinegar or lemon juice can also help break down the tough fiber of kale and cabbage for a healthy salad.
12) Leafy Greens (spinach, arugula, microgreens)
Leafy green vegetables are full of medicinal-like nutrients such as flavonoids and carotenoids. They’re also rich in vitamin C and E.
Keep them on hand whenever possible and make a quick salad or add them to your morning eggs. They’re easy to “sneak” into meals by just adding a handful here and there. Eat them with some healthy fat such as oil in order to increase absorption of the nutrients.
13) Sweet Potatoes
These are rich in beta carotene which gives them their rich orange color. Beta carotene is also a powerful antioxidant and helps produce vitamin A.
They’re very easy to roast. Or if you don’t have an oven or prefer a faster prep time, simply cut them into small chunks and boil them until soft.
These are excellent to keep on hand for extended periods of time since they’re not very perishable.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a type of carotene. Lycopene can help immune function and has been shown to prevent some types of cancer.
Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C, one of the top immune boosting nutrients.
When lycopene is paired with a fat source, it boosts the absorption by almost 5 times! Drizzle oil on your salad with tomato or make your own homemade salsa and guac.
5 ‘magical superfoods’ she always adds to her diet ‘for a strong immune system’
There are a number of ways your lifestyle can enhance your immune system, but one of the most important is eating the right foods.
So how do we choose?
It seems like every few weeks there is a new immune-boosting superfood on the scene. But as an immunologist and functional medicine doctor, I’m here to tell you that any nutrient-dense food that’s rich in vitamins and minerals is an immune superfood.
However, some foods seem to stand out from the rest for their beneficial properties. Here are five magical superfoods that I always try to add to my diet for a strong and healthy immune system:
The maitake mushroom is an edible mushroom that grows at the base of trees and is known to have medicinal benefits.
Mushrooms have been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. And now we have modern science to explain the effects of these amazing fungi, which, depending on the species, can boost, redirect or modulate our immune activity.
The one I like best is maitake, also called “hen-of-the-woods” or “chicken-of-the-woods.” Not only do they make delicious tacos, but they can increase Th2 cytokines, which help stimulate cellular immune response when fighting bacterial infections.
Shiitake mushrooms are commonly used in Asian cooking and have been found to have immune-stimulating activities.
I’m a fan of shiitake mushrooms, too. Studies show a pattern of immune-boosting benefits, such as an increase in NK and Cytotoxic T cells — both advantageous in conquering viruses and cancer cells.
Lastly, there’s the reishi mushroom, which has been shown in several studies to increase the Th2 cytokine response and help make chemotherapeutic drugs more effective. In addition, extracts of reishi promote the immune response against certain strains of herpes virus.
Reishi mushrooms have a hard outer shell that makes them inedible, so capsules are the most convenient form.
Ginger has several strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The spicy, aromatic root contains compounds called gingerols, which show promise in preventing cardiovascular disease by reducing oxidative stress in blood vessels, as well as inflammation in the heart area.
Ginger contains strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Studies reveal that ginger extract may help prevent alcohol-induced liver disease and can also block the kidney damage created by chemotherapy drugs.
I often recommend ginger to patients who have nausea, bloating and other GI complaints from imbalances in their microbiome. You can incorporate fresh ginger in savory dishes, smoothies and ginger tea, or grab a ginger shot bottle (found at many juice bars and cafes) to drink plain or dilute in water.
3. Broccoli sprouts
Recently, a great deal of attention has been focused on broccoli sprouts, a potent source of one of the most immune-supportive biochemicals: sulforaphane.
On its own, sulforaphane has been shown to increase the levels of several antioxidant compounds by inducing a compound in our cells called NRF-2. This is sometimes called the “master regulator” of antioxidants, which means it helps increase the production of other antioxidants.
NRF-2 can play a role in lowering inflammation seen in many diseases like cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and liver disease.
The best way to eat broccoli sprouts is raw — for instance, in salads.
Most cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and broccoli, contain large amounts of glucoraphanin, which converts to sulforaphane during digestion. However, young broccoli sprouts contain between 10 and 100 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli!
The best way to eat broccoli sprouts is raw — for instance, in salads — because sulforaphane is easily broken down by cooking. I always aim to eat two ounces of broccoli sprouts a week.
Not only does garlic make everything taste more delicious, but this pungent vegetable has multiple compounds that regulate the immune system.
Studies on garlic find that it is immune-stimulating — increasing the activity of NK cells, a type of immune cell that has granules with enzymes that can kill tumor cells or cells infected with a virus.
At the same time, garlic is anti-inflammatory and can be cardioprotective by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
It’s also fabulous for fortifying our gut, for several reasons:
- It can increase levels of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus, a natural inhabitant of the GI tract and an excellent probiotic.
- It’s known to be antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.
- It can fix bacterial imbalances in the gut that may be driving inflammation.
You can incorporate garlic into almost any recipe — so use it whenever you can — and you can also find it in supplement form if you’re not a fan of the taste.
If I had to pick one culinary compound out of nature’s apothecary for it’s immune-supportive effects, I’d go with turmeric root.
The bright yellow-orange root is not only a staple in Indian cooking, but it contains a magical compound called curcumin.
The bright yellow-orange root contains a magical compound called curcumin, which has many key benefits:
- It can buffer high cortisol levels.
- It can suppress some of the immune changes at the root of autoimmune diseases, while generally helpful in reducing chronic inflammation throughout the body.
- It encourages the growth of beneficial strains of bacteria in the gut and lowers other disease-causing bacterial strains.
- It’s effective for minimizing joint swelling in rheumatoid arthritis.
Turmeric is a great spice to use in cooking, although it does impart a bright yellow hue to your skin tongue and teeth. And, because it’s not well-absorbed in the GI tract, you’d need to eat gobs of it to achieve immune-modulation effects.
Given that, curcumin supplements are the best way to get this beneficial compound. Dosages vary based on need. For general health, I recommend about 1,000 milligram a day in divided dosages.
15 Superfoods For Boosting Your Immune System
When our lifestyle factors are in balance, our immune system works most efficiently, with the foundation of a healthy diet being the most important. Diet has a significant influence on disease risk in general. Specific foods have shown to do everything from keeping your gut microbiome diverse to prevent upper respiratory infections, which is especially important during cold and flu season.
While no foods can directly prevent the common cold or flu, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help your body better prepare to fight off whatever comes their way. It is especially essential as you age. Because our immune response declines as we age, it is critical to view each meal as an opportunity to nourish your body while also supporting a healthy immune system.
15 Superfoods For Your Immune System
Your body gets constantly exposed to bacteria, germs, and viruses that try to infiltrate and attack it. Your complex immune system functions similarly to a personal military system, armed and ready to defend you against these foreign invaders who cause harm. Even if an infection infiltrates your body, it is usually only a matter of time before your immune system can fight it off. It is critical to focus on the right fuel to support your troops and get your immune system serving you with strength.
Here are 15 superfoods that will help boost immunity:
1. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which aids in the formation of white blood cells. Because vitamin C is water-soluble, it cannot get stored by the body. As a result, it is critical to consume vitamin C-rich foods regularly. One cup of orange juice is equivalent to three oranges! Because too much sugar can lower immunity, it’s best to eat the whole fruit whenever possible. To boost your vitamin C intake, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to your water or tea.
These lovely berries are high in vitamin C, flavonoids, and antioxidants. Flavonoids protect plants. When humans consume them, they aid in cell protection. They are also anti-inflammatory. To add some natural sweetness to your morning cereal or yogurt, toss them in. If you have extras, freeze them and use them in smoothies.
Cherries are high in antioxidants and can help protect against viruses. They contain anthocyanins and cyanidin, both of which help to reduce inflammation. Cherries are also high in potassium, which helps with blood pressure and hydration.
4. Green & Black Tea
Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, are plentiful in green and black tea. Green tea, in particular, contains epigallocatechin, an antioxidant that improves immune function. L-theanine is also abundant in green tea. It is an amino acid (protein building block), which can help your T-cells fight germs more effectively.
Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory that can aid in the prevention of certain chronic diseases. Certain studies also suggest that it has antibacterial properties, such as the ability to combat specific bacteria. This sweet-tasting root makes a delicious fresh tea. You can peel and slice it, then place it in a bowl of hot water. It’s also a great addition to simple dishes like stir-fry.
You can find allicin in whole garlic cloves. It is the compound responsible for garlic’s pungent flavor. It also converts to Sulphur compounds, which can enhance the function of white blood cells. Allicin also improves your body’s ability to fight viruses. It is preferable to use whole garlic instead of powdered garlic. Crush, chew or slice the garlic cloves to activate the allicin.
Turmeric is responsible for the bright yellow color of curries. It is a medicinal root that has become part of society for nearly 4000 years. Curcumin is the active compound, and it is a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric has a low curcumin content that is difficult to absorb. Consuming it with black pepper and healthy fat, on the other hand, can help increase bioavailability, or how well it gets digested and absorbed by your body.
8. Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers have the highest concentration of vitamin C than any other fruit or vegetable. They are also a good source of beta carotene due to their bright red color. Red bell peppers contain nearly ten times the amount of beta-carotene and vitamin A as other colors.
For centuries, medicinal mushrooms have been a staple of Eastern medicine. They’ve recently gained traction in Western culture. Although they are not a panacea, research indicates that they can help with heart health, cancer, and age-related disease. They are also a good source of vitamin D, which is necessary for a healthy immune system, metabolism, and mental health.
10. Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts)
These potent vegetables are all members of the cruciferous family, which is known for its cancer-fighting properties. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, Bok Choy, and kale are among them. These healthful vegetables are high in immune-boosting vitamins like A, C, and E. Furthermore, they may prevent DNA damage and thus protect against certain types of cancer.
11. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables are high in nutrients that have medicinal properties, such as flavonoids and carotenoids. They also contain immense amounts of vitamin C and E. Eat them with good fat, such as oil, to boost nutrient absorption.
12. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, which contributes to their vibrant orange color. Beta carotene is also a powerful antioxidant that aids in the production of vitamin A.
Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which is a type of carotene. Lycopene improves immune function and prevents certain types of cancer. Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C, which is a powerful immune booster.
Probiotics are abundant in yogurt and other fermented dairy products such as kefir. These are beneficial bacteria that keep your gut health and boost your immune system. They also help with health issues ranging from heart disease to arthritis to cancer. Yogurt also contains high amounts of vitamin D.
15. Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews)
Nuts are high in vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant. It also boosts the production of white blood cells. Nuts are also high in heart-healthy fats, which can help increase good cholesterol (HDL) while decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL).
6 Types of Superfoods for Boosting Your Immune System
How to support yourself and your family during COVID-19
It’s true – what you eat and drink can help strengthen your immune system. This is helpful anytime – during COVID-19 or as a regular weekday warrior.
However, it is important to note that there is no one specific food or supplement that is a miracle “immune booster” as a weapon against illness or COVID-19. Your immune system is a complex system that involves different kinds of cells, each with a specialized function.
Your best line of immune defense is to choose whole and nutritious foods that can work towards naturally keeping your immune system in check.
Below is a list of foods to stock up on and that can keep during distancing from COVID-19, while focusing on nutrition-packed foods:
Not only are they flavoring agents, but research has also suggested that garlic, turmeric, and ginger contain potent antioxidants and anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. They can be added to almost anything: marinades, soups, roasted vegetables, stews, casseroles, stir fry, salad dressings, etc.
Whole grains deliver a variety of nutrients like B vitamins, fiber, zinc and iron, which have vital roles in the body from helping prevent infections to enhancing immunity and promoting good digestion. Try brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain English muffins, oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn.
Frozen Fruit & Vegetables
Yes, frozen! Frozen vegetables are picked when their freshness and nutrient value are optimal and their nutritional value gets preserved. They are rich in antioxidants (primarily beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E) which can help reduce inflammation in your body. Look for fruits and vegetables that are purple, blue, red, orange and yellow.
This is a great addition to stews, soups and sauces – pureed, diced, or whole. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that may reduce inflammation and improve immune function.
Nuts & Seeds
Choose raw, unsalted nuts and seeds. They are a great source of healthy fat, protein and fats. Nut butters are always a good option to keep around the house and make a satisfying snack or spread.
No, these aren’t just for vegetarians and vegans. Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, cannellini beans, etc. contain a wide variety of nutrients and are a healthy and economical food. Try adding them to vegetable soup,tacos, or lasagna for more fiber to help keep gut microbiota healthy. A healthy gut plays a role in immune development and function.