8 Vitamins & Minerals You Need for a Healthy Immune System – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Excellent sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables. Handwashing plays a major role in preventing the spread of infectious disease, and some experts believe if everyone washed their hands regularly, we could prevent a million deaths around the world each year. Zinc, too, is important and can be found in meat, shellfish, nuts and seeds including pumpkin seeds or pepitas. Rich in super immune-enhancing compounds and natural plant-based vitamin D that helps boost immune function and bone health. Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly. “The key with curcumin is making sure it is combined with a phytosome to enhance its absorption into the blood stream.

There is some evidence that micronutrient deficiencies such as zinc and folate, as well as Vitamins A, B6 and C, may alter immune responses in lab tests on animals, according to an article by Harvard Medical School. Top 10 immune system boosting foods for kids (with ideas and recipes!). Research suggests that participants who ate shiitake mushrooms every day for four weeks had a significant increase in numbers and strength of immunity-boosting T-cells. Taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not. Jalapeño peppers get their spice from a compound called capsaicin, which is something of an all-star in the nutrition world.

  • The body turns these carotenoids into vitamin A, and they have an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system against infection.
  • Fruits and vegetables are loaded with immune-boosting vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, often called “antioxidants.

It may be time to rethink the tropical fruit, which has 157 per cent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C in a single small fruit, according to US-registered dietitian Franziska Spritzler on Healthline. “Some studies have suggested that the first-line-of-defence macrophages are not as effective in people who have had a lot of alcohol,” says Cruickshank. There are certain vitamins that support your body as it fights off or heals from illness. Garlic has built a reputation for being one of the best cold-curing foods, and for good reason.

Vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, spinach, and broccoli. “Talk with your healthcare provider if you’re thinking about taking dietary supplements,” Zumpano says. Research has shown that the soup carries immune benefits, thanks to a mild anti-inflammatory effect found in the broth. Get 8 hours of sleep. Antioxidants help protect your body and anthocyanidins take it to the next level. Ginger may also help decrease nausea. On top of that, using vitamin and mineral supplements provide the necessary nutrients for a strong immune system. All of these nutrients work in different ways to enhance immune system function.

Here’s a guide to the best foods to eat if you want to improve your immune system.

Low-Fat Yogurt

Use these immune system boosting foods for kids to keep your children healthy all year long! But sometimes it fails: Pass the guac! Because supplements are regulated as foods, not as drugs, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t evaluate the quality of supplements or assess their effects on the body. Katz also suggests avoiding antibiotics unless you must take them because they deplete the good bacteria in the system, leaving you more vulnerable to other infections. In addition to consuming healthy foods, it's also critical to stay hydrated in order to help keep your throat and airways clear, says Yeung.

  • If you're looking for ways to prevent winter colds and the flu, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store.
  • In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body — immune cells or others — is not necessarily a good thing.
  • Have a bowl when you’re feeling crummy.

Miso Soup to the Rescue

A baked sweet potato packs over 150% of the daily vitamin A goal, and a cup of raw carrots over 100% of the recommended intake. Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that reside in the gut. You can get your recommended daily allowance of antioxidants by taking a multivitamin with minerals.

Fermented foods are naturally packed with probiotics that promote healthy gut bacteria. Need help falling asleep? How about this 30 Minute Italian Sausage and Pepper Soup?

How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Vitamin D deficiency can suppress immune function too. Trim off the stems as they can have a bitter taste. Papayas also have a digestion-friendly enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects, and not to mention, folate, B vitamins and Vitamin A in the form of carotenoids for the proper functioning of a healthy immune system. Sadly, too many of us don’t eat enough of the fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods we need to keep ourselves healthy year-round. One cup of vegetarian baked beans provides over half of the recommended daily intake for zinc, and an ounce or quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains 20%. It’s great for its relaxing and mood-soothing benefits, as is the essential oil of chamomile in a diffuser. They contain polyphenols and flavonoids that are natural disease fighters. To be immunologically fit, you need to be physically fit.

  • Simmer until all the liquid evaporates, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Sunflower seeds Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6.
  • Or use oats when making cookies for a healthy treat.
  • Iron, which helps your body carry oxygen to cells, comes in different forms.


Amino acids found in foods can improve your immune function, and bone broth is a great source of these nutrients. When I’m a little stressed and run down, my immune system gets a little tired, so I make a conscious effort to improve the sorts of food I’m getting into my body. Flu season is the worst, right? Smithson stresses that vitamins A, C, and E are particularly useful in building immunity. Forgive the pun but onions provide layer upon layer of health benefits.

Nevertheless, foods rich in vitamin C including oranges, kiwifruit, berries, tomatoes, red capsicums and broccoli, are all rich in antioxidants that offer positive nutritional benefits. Many people like soaking in Epsom salts and some lavender oil in the bath when they’re sick, and lavender tea is another great way to enjoy its benefits. Simmer up your own soup and add nutrient-dense foods like carrots, onions and fresh herbs. 10 ways to strengthen your immune system, develops and activates T-lymphocytes. Carrots aren’t just for rabbits, you know.

Most nuts contain vitamin E, another vitamin that's crucial to fighting off sickness. Disinfect doorknobs and light switches. Chamomile tea is often used as a night-time tea when people need to wind down or need some help falling asleep. Rosemary isn't just a tasty herb to add to baked goods—it's also an amazing anti-inflammatory and is a rich source of antioxidants. Lemons are high in compounds called bio-flavonoids, which kill cancer-causing free radicals. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. A good way to sneak veggies into your diet is to blend them right into your fruit smoothie. Manufacturers freeze frozen fruits and veggies at “peak” ripeness, which means they’ll pack a similar nutritional value as their fresh counterparts.

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This gut friendly spice stimulates digestion, gut motility and bowel function, while helping to relieve bloating, cramping and nausea. Our first category is vegetables. Serve roasted squash with greens and avocado (fat will help your body absorb vitamin A) or serve as a butternut squash soup. They also provide bioactive compounds that release a chemical signal that optimizes immunity in the gut, the location of 70-80% of immune cells. But avoid drinking to excess. Carrots contain vitamin A precursors called carotenoids (Beta carotene) that help promote vision and support a healthy immune system. One type, called macrophages, inhabit all our body tissue and, says Cruickshank, “have all these weapons ready to go, but they’re not terribly precise”. Beta-carotene helps protect your skin from sun damage by deflecting and repairing cell damage caused by excessive UV exposure and vitamin A protects the body from cracking skin and dry sinuses, preventing viruses and bacteria from entering the body.

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For a healthy liver, cruciferous vegetables like Kale, Broccoli and Cabbage should be included in daily diet. Fennel has a variety of soothing effects that can help relieve you of your flu-like symptoms. Snacking can become problematic if you fill up on these 'nutritionally empty foods' and don't eat delicious healthy meals. Also, research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage. Before joining the SCMP, she was a television journalist, digital editor and travel writer for a host of well-known publications in the United States. How to boost your immunity: dr. oz shares advice as coronavirus spreads. It's estimated that eighty per cent of your 100 trillion bacteria are located in the gut. Not only is a cold or flu a nuisance, interrupting your daily life and routines and making you feel awful, but it’s also a sign of an immune system in need. Animal-based bone broths could be the key reason as to why soups are great for you when you're suffering from sickness.

They have different properties that help things like a sore throat, upset stomach, and congestion, and can help you feel like your symptoms are fading away. For example, some researchers are looking at whether extreme amounts of intensive exercise can cause athletes to get sick more often or somehow impairs their immune function. Start with these flu prevention basics and then read these seven tips for flu-proofing your home. Yes, citrus fruits like oranges are full of vitamin C—but bell peppers, strawberries, mango, kiwi, and broccoli pack a bigger punch. From there, it responds by sending white blood cells (or immune cells)—your body’s frontline defense—to attack and destroy anything that it interprets as risky or dangerous, according to the National Institutes of Health. The immune system consists of organs, cells, tissues, and proteins.

Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition's effect on the immune system, however, is not certain.

Improve Immunity With Herbs And Supplements?

Consume a diet rich in fresh, whole foods with abundant organic vegetables, and fruits, avoid sugar, chemicals and processed foods; refer to my book Go Vegan for more dietary information, delicious easy to follow recipes and words of wisdom to keep you in great health as you age. Add fermented foods such as good-quality miso soup to your diet. It has been shown to help lower blood pressure, inhibit blood clotting and promote healthy cholesterol levels.

When people are exposed to situations they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person's subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate. A few grams of sugar can destroy your white blood cells' ability to resist infections for several hours. Foods like watermelon, cucumber and strawberries can help you stay hydrated. It is best to eat the whole fruit. Boost your immune system & support immunity naturally, choose your country United States of America Afghanistan Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, Democratic Republic of Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d'Ivoire Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Faeroe Islands Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Monaco Mongolia Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands Netherlands Antilles New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Palestinian Territory, Occupied Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Republic of Korea Republic of Moldova Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Helena Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia and Montenegro Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Virgin Islands (U. There isn’t necessarily a direct link between lifestyle and immunity. Other research suggests that garlic lovers who chow more than six cloves a week have a 30 percent lower rate of colorectal cancer and a 50 percent lower rate of stomach cancer.

Some examples of foods rich in Vitamin A includes sweet potatoes, broccoli, red bell peppers, and carrots.

Stock your cupboards and enjoy these in sickness and in health! But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. Munch on bell peppers. Research done at Carnegie Mellon University has found that people who are stressed are more susceptible to developing the common cold.

Reach for Elderberries

Certified organic produce is the best choice you can make for your health. It’s hard to stay active during the winter months, but a friend who shares your goals can be a great source of accountability. However, you will miss out on other nutrients thought to strengthen the immune system. So far, scientists do not know the answer.

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It has vitamin A, E, C, and K, folate, manganese, zinc, selenium, and iron. This produces a delicious tea that is soothing for the throat and also is great for helping with any nausea or digestive complaints. So is there a perfect equation to prevent dehydration? Kukicha (bancha) tea has a strengthening effect on immunity. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body's natural defenses against diseases. You don’t realize how hard your immune system is working until you come down with a really nasty bug your body may have never dealt with before.

Blueberries in particular may help you fend off colds and flu, though, as they are high in pterostilbene. Increase B6 by eating a sweet potato yogurt almond butter breakfast parfait. Be wary of foods that are infused with probiotics , though. Seventy percent of your immune system lives in your gut, so, it's important to keep it healthy if you want to fend off any cold-causing germs. For example, researchers documented an increase in upper respiratory infections in competitive cross-country skiers who exercise vigorously in the cold, but whether these infections are due to the cold or other factors — such as the intense exercise or the dryness of the air — is not known. The last days of the blue-blood harvest, our safety, while receiving treatment, whether it's surgery, complicated procedures or getting intravenous medications is because of an unlikely source, the baby-blue blood of the horseshoe crab. Vegetarians have been shown to have more effective white blood cells when compared to nonvegetarians, due to a high intake of vitamins and low intake of fat.

Indeed, you can save yourself a lot time and money by avoiding the pharmacy altogether and simply eating your way towards better immunity. Instead, we should be thinking about optimising our body's ability to fight infections. Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with vitamin D. While it's used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin.

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Think prevention, not reaction. Tekka – This condiment is made from 1 cup of minced burdock, lotus root, carrot, miso, sesame oil and ginger flavour. The pungent aroma comes from sulfur compounds, including allicin.

Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, also may influence immune response and play a role in a healthful eating style. Many fortified bowls of cereal pack an entire day’s worth of zinc. Soup in general hydrates, making it a smart meal pick when you’re sick. Spinach is a major superfood that is great for your overall health. Pair walnuts with dried tart cherries as a snack, or chop and use as a garnish for fresh fruit or cooked veggies. Eat more greens. Eat citrus as is or paired with nuts, use sliced red bell pepper to scoop up hummus or guacamole. Flu fighting nutrition: give your immune system a boost, try to eat a rainbow every day in order to consume a variety of antioxidants, which help fight disease, and phytochemicals, plant-based nutrients. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

Bring to a simmer, stirring continually to avoid lumping. The best known of these being antioxidants; Phytonutrients can be found in all plant foods. Some of the mushrooms that are really good for immune systems are — A Turkey tail mushroom, Maitake and Shiitake Mushrooms, Tremella Mushrooms. Selenium is also a potent antioxidant, meaning it acts like a bodyguard to prevent cells from being attacked in ways that damage DNA. Immune system boosters and busters, eat foods with certain nutrients. The right combination of fruits and vegetables can give your body an immune boost during the winter months. Meditate on the go. So if you’re looking to go to war with an evil disease microbe, it might well be time you crunched on a bit of orange. The following story is excerpted from TIME’s special edition, 100 Most Healing Foods.

Eat more citrus.


2 It’s a powerhouse for your immune system! However, the researchers noted that more studies need to be conducted in order to validate garlic's true impact on the common cold. Antiviral herbs: protect against viruses and how to use. Blackmon advises against consuming these things in excess because research has proven them to compromise your immune response, making infections more likely: So as the temperature drops, get into the habit of cooking up a weekly batch of soup using a bone broth to help supercharge the immune system. Some people tend to pop a zinc tablet when they feel a cold coming on. While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases and, even more importantly, more likely to die from them.

You can make your own ginger tea by grating fresh ginger and steeping it in hot water with some lemon. That means getting enough sleep, managing stress, being active, washing your hands properly, and yes, eating well. A strong immune system is one of the many gifts of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. If it works for flu infections, it may help your immune system against coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. A truly healthy immune system depends on a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals over time, plus normal sleep patterns and a hefty dose of exercise. Studies have shown that low zinc levels are associated with a reduced number of T cells, or white blood cells that help your body fight infection. Turmeric is hot right now, thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, strawberries and papaya are also excellent sources. But despite the reduction in efficacy, vaccinations for influenza and S. Consume two or three 4-ounce servings per week. Eat chicken soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup

5 The same was shown with the resveratrol found in red grapes. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. But make sure the leafy vegetable you’re ordering from the economy rice stall isn’t overcooked as the nutrients are easily destroyed by heat. A reduction in immune response to infections has been demonstrated by older people's response to vaccines. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, which are high in mercury. • Watch your diet. After hearing about the fiber, vitamins and probiotics in this Orange Probiotic Smoothie, you’ll want to have one all winter long. Below, our experts answer the four most common questions they receive about how to choose the best immune system-boosting foods, so you can stay healthy and energized.

Here are some tips for getting the top vitamins and minerals your immune system needs to perform. NEED A DELICIOUS + CONVENIENT WAY TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY? Research has found that adults with low levels of vitamin D in their system were more likely to have recently suffered from a cough, cold, or upper respiratory infection. Green tea Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Research shows people who drink in excess are more susceptible to respiratory illness and pneumonia and recover from infection and wounds more slowly. It’s great to eat, but it also comes in a supplement form, and studies have shown that daily supplementationwith garlic can reduce colds by 63% when compared with placebo. ” But there’s more: However, chamomile tea is also great to help calm an upset stomach, which is why many people use it when they have colds or flu.

Not necessarily more, but better. Although probiotic supplements are available, a study from the University of Vienna in Austria found that a daily 7-ounce dose of yogurt was just as effective in boosting immunity as popping pills. Plus, they taste better and are better at protecting your health than supplements. Still, the nutrients in these berries support immune-system health and may curb the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system.

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You’ve probably heard of turmeric as a superfood herb, with its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I realize that is difficult advice at a stressful time like this, but stress compromises the immune system greatly. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are preflavored and loaded with sugar. You’re washing your hands 10 times a day and have stopped touching your face. This post was reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr. Give yourself lots of T. The more animals we concentrate in small spaces the more these contagions spread and become stronger. Maintaining a healthy weight can also benefit the immune system.

Only 1 or 2 small pieces are eaten each time.

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Supplemental doses of healthy bacteria enhance and replace the good bacteria that have been naturally weakened by things like stress due to high mileage or hard workouts, illness, and antibiotic use. Light cooking is all it takes to enhance its Vitamin A and allow other nutrients to be released from its oxalic acid. Getting out into the fresh air can stimulate the immune system cells in lungs and help make our immune system more active. Free radicals are molecules that the body produces when it breaks down food or comes into contact with pollutants. Now, more than ever, we understand the extent to which our gut health affects our overall immune function.

No wonder this drink boosts our immunity! It also cut down the duration of symptoms by eight percent in adults and 14 percent in children. Plan your meals to include these 15 powerful immune system boosters. It also helps form the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract, which acts as a protective barrier to keep germs out of the body. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Sage, which can be made into tea, is an ancient remedy for sore throats, cough and colds. Pairing these and other fruits and vegetables with adequate protein intake will help supercharge your immunity, says Smithson. You can add it to smoothies for a little extra texture or sprinkle it on your favorite breakfast cereal.

Pretty much any fresh, colorful food is packed with a powerful antioxidant called beta-carotene.

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For now, even though a direct beneficial link hasn't been established, it's reasonable to consider moderate regular exercise to be a beneficial arrow in the quiver of healthy living, a potentially important means for keeping your immune system healthy along with the rest of your body. Too little of the mineral selenium has been shown to delay immune response, and adequate amounts are known to enhance immunity. Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables provide nutrients—like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E—that can boost immune function.

Will my workouts improve? Try to avoid overdoing beverages that can made you dehydrated, like coffee. Research suggests these qualities make turmeric a strong defense against colds , coughs, and congestion.

Don’t worry; when berries aren’t in season frozen berries are just as nutritious. Germs are everywhere and being exposed to them is a natural part of life. Here are 16 top picks, and how to incorporate each into your regular eating routine. “The biggest issue with curcumin and turmeric is its bioavailability,” says Tavis Piattoly, M. Excessive drinking has been linked to a weakened immune system. One of the best uses of holy basil tea, when you are sick, is to help with respiratory disorders, though it’s also beneficial for fever, asthma, lung disorders, heart disease, and stress. You watch helplessly as your child puts his fingers in his mouth or rubs his eyes, and you have to wonder if getting sick is just the inevitable outcome of the season. Frozen is fine.


Chlorophyll also helps to nourish the digestive system, supports detoxification and the elimination of toxins. “How Antioxidants Work. Anti-Viral by Natural Factors is a potent tincture that includes Echinaceato help fight colds in a powerful way. I also love recipes such as my Immune-Boosting Chicken Soup or Super C Immune Boosting Smoothie that make me feel healthy and strong!

Reddy writes the Your Health column for Personal Journal. Most of the protein found in our body is in our skeletal muscle or about 40%; over 25% is found in our organs; and the rest in our skin and blood. Regardless of whether you have a cold or a fever, you should make sure you're consuming enough nutrients to give your body the energy it needs to fuel its immune defenses, says Smithson. A new way to unleash the immune system against cancer. Fungi also have high levels of ergothioneine, an immune system-stimulating antioxidant, according to a study by Pennsylvania State University researchers that was published in Food Chemistry. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? Healthy liver ensures the body’s’ natural detoxification process. I can’t promise you that you can totally shield your kids from getting sick. But make sure you eat enough!