Super Foods to Strengthen Your Immune System

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

Can specific foods really help improve the immune system, or prevent you from getting sick?

I’m not sold on the notion, but an overall healthy diet and a good hand washing routine is your best bet.

However, there are a few key foods that are “super foods” for the immune system. If anything might help, it is these key foods.

Top 7 Immune Boosting Foods

organic foodsOrganic over conventional foods?

There is new research that suggests organic foods may produce more bacterial fighting power. However, this is just one study. But, once again it shows that organic foods may have an advantage over conventional.

kefirKefir

I have talked about this potent probiotic yogurt drink before, and swear by its ability to ward off the common cold. The live active healthy bacteria (probiotics) help to populate the intestinal tract to overpower the “bad” bacteria.

Acerola

This cherry, native to South America, is one of the highest sources of vitamin C in the world. An added bonus is that the antioxidant level is higher than blueberries! You can commonly find the acerola cherry in juice form. 1 cup provides 6454% of your daily value for vitamin C!

peppersRed and Yellow Peppers

These are the next highest source of vitamin C. I should mention that vitamin C is not a cure-all for the common cold or other sickness. Research is still uncertain as to how much vitamin C helps with various conditions. However, research shows the most promising results of eating food-based vitamin C along with other nutrients.

garlicGarlic

Known for its bacteria-fighting ability and potent antioxidants. Garlic has been used for years in ancient medicine to ward off sickness. Chop up a few cloves of garlic to cook with dinner every night, and you will have added some health (and flavor!) to your meal.

Oregano and Thyme

These herbs kill the most common bacteria immediately upon contact. Adding them to your meal wouldn’t hurt—if anything they add more flavor!

Tea with Real Honey

Real honey (make sure you are buying the real deal- Manuka is the best) has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Tea, especially green tea, contains powerful antioxidants. But, perhaps it is due to the calming effect (and partially placebo effect) that makes us think we are getting better when we drink tea or other hot liquids.

It’s Not JUST About Foods

Even though these foods can help to improve the immune system, don’t forget these other essential tips:

  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Eat balanced
  • Get good sleep
  • Don’t smoke or drink excess alcohol
  • Get physical activity
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Reduce your stress

Do you use specific foods to strengthen your immune system?

2 Comments

  1. SmoledMan

    I buy the pre-peeled garlic cloves in the salad section. It’s a real boon! Now i can enjoy tons of garlic every day. Not to the delight of my co-workers!

    Reply
  2. Spectra

    Oh yeah, I swear by garlic when I feel a cold coming on. As soon as I get sniffles, I start eating one clove of raw garlic every day and I either don’t get a cold at all or it’s very mild. It’s a little potent, but it’s definitely worth it.

    Reply