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How To Boost Your Immune System The Natural Way - The Nutrients and Foods You Need In Your Diet

Updated on July 30, 2009

The Immune System

Everyone needs a healthy immune system in order to fight illness. It can speed up the recovery period and make the illness less severe than it otherwise may have been. If you're lucky, a healthy immune system may help you avoid illness altogether. This is especially true leading up to the Winter months when colds and sniffles start to appear. If you boost your immune system before Winter arrives, you may be able to avoid the the symptoms appearing.

The immune system is the reason that doctors and nutritionists recommend that we all eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, as these foods contain lots of immune boosting nutrients that help to ward off illness. I personally find it difficult to maintain the 5 a day rule as I'm a picky eater and don't enjoy large meals. I try to supplement my diet with plenty of good quality 100% fruit juice, and vegetarian days where I don't have to eat more to make sure that I'm eating plenty of vegetables. I rarely make the 5 a day target, but I make sure that I add plenty of other foods to my diet to help my immune system stay healthy.

Vitamin C Foods For The Immune System

Vitamin C provides the body with essential antioxidant properties that boost the immune system. It is especially important for smokers because we don't absorb the same amount of Vitamin C that a non smoker does.

Everyday Foods To Boost Vitamin C Levels:

Citrus Fruits / Kiwi Fruit / Berries / Broccoli / Spinach / Red, Yellow, Orange Peppers / Tomato / Papaya / Mango

Vitamin E and Selenium Foods For The Immune System

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that should be used in conjuction with Selenium (another antioxidant) to create a potent antioxidant effect. Used by themselves they are still very good for you, but for maximum benefit they should be used together. If you're going to give your immune system a boost, you may as well aim high!

Everyday Foods To Boost Your Vitamin E Levels:

Wholegrain Cereals / Sweet Potatoes / Nut Oils / Seed Oils

Everyday Foods To Boost Your Selenium Levels:

Wholegrain Cereals / Brazil Nuts / Walnuts / Soybeans / Beef / Chicken / Turkey / Cheese / Eggs / Tuna / Cod /

So a meal that was cooked with nut or seed oils or with the accompaniment of a sweet potato, would be the perfect combination for something from the Selenium list to get the maximum antioxidant benefits.


Fatty Acids For The Immune System

Omega 3 provides a boost to the immune system, but isn't produced by the body so we need to get it from food sources.

Everyday Foods To Boost Your Omega 3 Levels:

Flaxseed Oil / Linseed Oil / Olive Oil / Walnuts / Salmon / Sardines / Mackerel / Herring / Anchovies / Corn

Carotenoids For The Immune System

Carotenoids are pigments from plants that give red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their colours. They are also powerful antioxidants than turn into Vitamin A inside the body. As a general rule, any fruit or vegetables that are red, yellow or orange will be giving your immune system a boost.

Everyday Foods To Boost Your Carotenoids Level:

Carrots / Peppers / Sweet Potato / Orange / Tomato / Pumpkin / Apricot / Mango / Cayenne Pepper / Chilli Pepper

Zinc For The Immune System

Zinc helps to keep the immune system cells healthy and is an essential nutrient for the body.

Everyday Foods To Boost Zinc Levels:

Liver / Beef / Lamb / Poultry / Prawns / Wholegrains / Pumpkin Seeds / Eggs / Nuts / Milk

A Healthy Immune System

It's easy to neglect your immune system and fall prey to every cough and cold going. Once the immune system is weak you are susceptible to germs and bacteria, and once you've been hit by a virus, you can become run down and even more prone to illness. It's a vicious circle that doesn't seem to let up.

The key to fighting off infection is to prevent rather than treat it, so having a healthy immune system is a must. I can't promise that you won't get sick, but with a healthy immune system you will be less likely to, and if you do fall ill, your recovery time should be shorter and symptoms less severe.

I've purposely listed foods that anyone can buy in a supermarket, some you probably already have at home. It's not hard to introduce foods to boost the immune system to your diet, you may already be eating them, in which case you're already boosting your immune system unknowingly!


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    • moonbun profile image

      moonbun 7 years ago from London

      Thanks for the added information healingone :)

    • healingone profile image

      healingone 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the great information!

      In the past I have taken zinc to help boost my immune system as well vitamin c. I also like to use fresh ground flax seed in my cereal and yogurt.

      Luv & Blessings!