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Our Nutrition Experts Offer 15 Foods That Boost the Immune System

Our Nutrition Experts Offer 15 Foods That Boost the Immune System

Immunity, rest, and nutrition all work together to keep you healthy. Getting enough quality sleep and treating your dinner like medicine can go a long way to protect your longevity. Still, if you’re looking to give your immune system a boost, some foods are crucial allies in building a strong, resistant immune system. 

If you're trying to give yourself the best chance against any illness, our team of compassionate medical professionals at Nutrition & Health Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey, can give you the guidance to successfully support your immune system. Through a combination of diet and self-care, your immune system will be ready for almost anything that comes your way. 

How bad is bad food?

What comprises ‘bad food’ depends on who you ask, but unhealthy food that is processed, high in sodium and filled with trans fats can reasonably be called ‘bad food.’ A typical diet in the US is filled with these types of bad foods, and sugar, a well-known health threat. Many people rely on cheap fast food to fill them up in the middle of the day or after a long day at work, but the decision to skip fresh, wholesome food can have long-term consequences. 

Compounding the abundance of bad foods with the many busy lifestyles that don’t make room for regular exercise creates one of the world’s leading nations in diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that roughly 30% of people in the US live with a chronic condition, and that number continues to rise every year. 

Diabetes can lead to hospitalization and digit and limb amputation. Heart disease raises your risk of heart attack and stroke. However, a balanced diet supplemented by body-love foods can drastically reduce your risk of developing a chronic condition and even contribute to better mental health.

What foods boost the immune system?

Supporting your immune system is an important habit to have for the rest of your life. Adding healthy whole foods to your daily diet gives your immune system the tools it needs to protect you. 

Berries

Filled with antioxidants that fight cancer-causing free radicals, most of the berries available in your local supermarket can help your immune system fight off illness. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, elderberries, and açai all contain vitamins and minerals that feed and strengthen your immune system. 

Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain trace minerals that are important for building optimal immunity. Mushrooms are also rich in powerful B-Vitamins. 

Shellfish

Whether you prefer cheap shrimp sushi, or freshly shucked oysters on the half-shell, shellfish are packed with zinc, a mineral that can make a tremendous difference during cold and flu season. It’s not yet known how effective zinc protects against COVID-19 infection. Reinforcing your immune system with zinc is the best chance you have to fight off a serious and contagious illness. 

Melons

Melons, particularly in the flesh that lines the fruit’s rind, are filled with vitamins and antioxidants that immune systems need to be at their strongest. Melons also contain plenty of water, which helps your skin and body to stay hydrated. 

Wheat and wheat germ

People who are not sensitive to wheat can get wholesome, immune-boosting nutrition from wheat products and wheat germ. Wheat carries a significant amount of fiber, which keeps your gut healthy, and your veins and blood vessels clean. Wheat germ has the additional benefits of antioxidants, including B-Vitamins. 

Yogurt

Like wheat and wheat germ, yogurt creates a more hospitable environment in your gut. With vitamins and probiotics that uplift and bolster your immunity, the only thing to watch about yogurt is the sugar content. 

Dark greens

Spinach and kale may not be everyone’s favorite flavors, but they are often called ‘superfoods’ due to the high nutrition levels available in each bite. Nearly all greens bring water and fiber into your body, but dark greens pad your immune system with vitamins and minerals that repair cells and keep them healthy. 

Fresh tea

Whether you prefer a caffeinated tea, like black, green, or oolong tea, or a non-caffeinated tea, like white, red, or herbal tea, most any tea you choose will contain helpful vitamins that support your immune system’s cellular turnover and regeneration. 

Sweet potatoes and yams

These starchy root vegetables have high levels of beta carotene, a powerful A vitamin that stomps out free radicals and stimulates collagen production. The ability to help you stay both healthy and beautiful makes these vegetables an excellent dietary tool. 

Citrus

Many, if not most, people in the US are aware of the powerful levels of Vitamin C in the vast variety that exists within citrus fruits. A whopping dose of this nutrient is one of your immune system’s favorite treats against illness.

Bell peppers

Bell peppers are another nutritional superpower, with enough Vitamin C to rival an orange and beta carotene to smooth your wrinkles. 

Garlic

Notoriously astringent, garlic contains large amounts of allicin, a sulfur-containing compound that’s been used to treat several bodily ailments, including yeast infections, and help the body fight off other infections. 

Nuts and legumes

Nuts and legumes are good sources of Vitamin E, a skin-and-hair support vitamin that is also an immune system-loving compound. 

Poultry

Vitamin B6 is essential to producing red blood cells, and a bowl of chicken noodle soup can easily cover the daily recommended amount. 

Fatty Fish

Vitamin D, produced by the body when exposed to sunlight, is also found in fatty fish like salmon. Vitamin D supports metabolism and a strong immune system. 

If you can’t fit all of these immune-boosting foods into your diet, that’s okay! Your Nutrition & Health Center provider can give you all of the guidance you need to protect your immune system, and address your overall health concerns. Call us today at 848-546-0363, or book an appointment with us online.

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