Immune System Boosting Foods

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We all know the saying that you are what you eat, but what does this mean when it comes to your immune system? Your immune system’s job is to help protect your body from viruses and infections, and it does this through many complex systems. Eating foods rich in the vitamins and minerals the immune system needs can help support its performance. We’re sharing some of our favorite immune-system boosting foods that fit into tons of healthy recipes.

How Does Food Boost the Immune System?

Scientists are still studying the exact connection between the food you eat and your immune system’s function. Studies do show that micronutrient deficiencies for nutrients like zinc, iron, copper, and Vitamin C can alter immune system responses. [1] Replenishing these nutrients through proper nutrition can help encourage proper function of the immune system and it’s easiest to do this through improved diet.  

What Foods are Good for Boosting Your Immune System?

Fruits and vegetables are the most common immune system superfoods because they often contain the elements our immune systems love:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc

Many fruits and vegetables also contain valuable antioxidants as well. These vitamins and minerals can help support optimal function of your immune system. [2]

So, what are some specific foods that are good for your immune system? Citrus fruits that are high in Vitamin C like oranges, lemons, lime, or grapefruit are a good choice. Other produce classics like broccoli, garlic, and spinach are also loaded with vitamins and minerals that support a strong immune system. [3]

Surprisingly, shellfish can also help support a strong immune system. This is because shellfish like crab, lobster, oysters, and mussels contain the immune-supportive element zinc. Now don’t go crazy on the seafood bar, too much zinc can actually harm your immune system, so follow recommended zinc intake guidelines. [3] 

How to Pick Foods that are Good for Your Immune System

When shopping for fruits and vegetables that support your immune system, be sure to choose the freshest options. Fresh, recently picked produce is always the best choice. But if that’s not available, you’ll be choosing between frozen or canned food. Which is better for supporting your immune system? You may be surprised to learn that in the battle of frozen vs canned food, frozen food actually packs more nutritional power on average. 

Exercise can also help support a healthy immune system, so be sure to stop by your local gym for a great workout! 

 

Sources:

1- Harvard Health – How to boost your immune system

2- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine – Foods To Boost the Immune System

3- Healthline – 15 Foods That Boost the Immune System



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