10 Foods That Help Improve Your Immune System

Go Healthy

There are numerous reasons why you should eat healthier foods. Losing weight, healthier skin, and higher energy levels are just a few of those reasons. The health of your immune system is another important reason for choosing the right foods to eat. By simply adding a few healthy, unprocessed foods to your diet, your body will be able to better fight off colds and flus. With some of these foods, your ability to fight off the effects of stress will also be improved. It is just all around common sense to make small, beneficial changes to your diet so that you can have fewer sick days and more energy to go after your long term life goals.

1. Elderberry

On my last visit to the health food store, I noticed a lot of elderberry products. What was this craze? I hadn’t seen elderberry products out since I was a child. It turns out that elderberry fruit is very high in antioxidants. Some recent studies into the elderberry have shown that juice from the fruit seems to block the flu virus. More studies need to be conducted into the use of elderberries to prevent the flu, but in the meantime I have added elderberry extract onto my shopping list.


2. Garlic

As soon as the back to school season starts, I know that it means back to garlic, too. In a British study, people who were given a daily garlic extract were two thirds less likely to catch a cold. I my home, that means I start making my roasts with two to 4 garlic cloves, chicken and garlic, garlic breads, and more. I add garlic to a lot of our meals, but you can also use garlic supplements instead or relying on home cooked meals. You can also just eat two garlic cloves a day. Dipped in honey, they don’t taste too bitter.

3. Button Mushrooms

Button mushrooms are a great source of selenium, niacin, and riboflavin - all helpful in boosting your immune system and keeping the flu at bay. Adding button mushrooms to your diet is fairly easy. I add them to my roasts (that also have garlic cloves) and I make them as a side dish for chicken and steak dinners. There are also many different types of casseroles you can make with added mushrooms and, of course, there are omelets - a great way to start your day off right.


4. Yogurt

You have no doubt heard of the wonders of probiotics and you may already be taking probiotic supplements. If you are, great! If not, you may want to take a second look into yogurt with live active cultures. The live active cultures in yogurt helps keep your intestines free of bacteria that can cause diseases. A Swedish study of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri showed that people who took this probiotic on a daily basis took 33 percent fewer sick days from work. Stonyfield Farm active yogurt contains this specific probiotic strain.

How to Brew Tea the British Way

5. Black and Green Tea

A Harvard study shows that people who drink 5 cups of black or green tea a day have 10 times more interferon in their blood than those who do not drink tea. Interferons are proteins that help increase the body’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. The study used actual tea, not the processed cold tea you can buy in the grocery store. The wonderful thing about using real tea bags is that they are inexpensive and the real stuff is so much better for your body and for the environment.

6. Watermelon

Watermelon is not exactly a fall or winter fruit, but where I live it is plentiful in the summertime. Watermelon contains glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, that can help improve your immune system. It is the perfect fruit for your summertime health and you can make delicious fruit salads with it, boosting your and your kids immune system with more fresh fruits and berries.


7. Sweet Potatoes

I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of sweet potatoes and that is clearly my loss. My mother, on the other hand, loves them and makes them into deliciously sweet dishes. Rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes keep your skin healthy and your skin is one of the first barriers viruses hit when trying to enter your body. Fight back by increasing your vitamin A intake and keep those germs out of your body.

8. Citrus Fruit

Forget the vitamin C supplements. You can get all the vitamin C you need from the food you eat. Grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines are all high in vitamin C and that helps boost your immune system. If citrus fruits are too much for your tastebuds, you can find it in other foods, too. Spinach, kale, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, papaya, and strawberries are all rich in vitamin C. Incorporate as many of these, and other, fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible, especially during cold and flu season.

Cutting Watermelon

9. Wheat Germ

Are you getting enough zinc in your diet? If you are like most Americans, you probably aren’t. It is time to add more zinc to your diet to boost your immune system by adding wheat germ to your diet. There are lots of recipes online that call for wheat germ. If you make homemade bread, you can easily add one to three tablespoons to your bread dough. You can sprinkle wheat germ over ice cream and yogurt. If it’s really not your thing, turn to roast beef. Roast beef has a good amount of zinc in it and it makes a great meal on cold, chilly evenings.

10. Almonds

What can a quarter cup of almonds a day do for you? Surprisingly, quite a lot! Almonds are rich in vitamin E and eating just a handful of these nuts can give you up to 50 percent of the daily recommend amount of E. They also contain niacin and riboflavin, making them an all around great treat to boost your immune system and even help fight off the effect of stress. I gave up regular snacks, like potato chips, months ago, but I have increased my intake of nuts. One trick dieters use to make sure they have healthy, on the go snacks is to measure out and bag nuts for daily eating. You can do the same with almonds. Just measure out a quarter cup of almonds into a bag and make sure you have one bag of nuts a day.

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Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 16 months ago from Potter County, Pa.

Good information here and just in time for the flu season. I hope we can avoid getting sick this year.

Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 16 months ago from Oklahoma

My personal favorite on the list: watermelon.

Wonderful health ideas.

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