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

Extracts of elderberry have antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to make skin healthy and may even provide some protection against skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Do vitamins actually help? Getting your flu shot might not be convenient, but neither is getting the flu! Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging, Sept. Miso is made from soy, which contains isoflavone antioxidants that help boost the immune system.

The health benefits of tea are impressive and include a lower risk of infections.

The likely scenario if you catch the infection is, he says, “you’ll be sick for a while and you will recover”. It’s got a number of immune system boosters, including vitamins C, A, and E and a number of antioxidants. Some scientists are investigating whether ongoing stress takes a toll on the immune system. However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed. (Check out these science-backed ways to relieve stress.) And regular apple eaters report fewer asthma symptoms, according to British research (a flavonoid called khellin may open up airways). There are other ways to stay hydrated, like drinking this Classic Peach Iced Tea.

Research suggests these qualities make turmeric a strong defense against colds , coughs, and congestion. 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. So, if you aren’t getting enough through your diet, your body can’t make enough antibodies to help you fight whatever germs you pick up throughout the day. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. Helping support your adrenals and stress response is a great way to support your immune system! Above 30 is optimal.

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%. Cook cranberries and oranges or other citrus fruits on a stove top to make a jam. Tinctures and extracts offer a unique way for your body to absorb compounds that may not be as readily available from water extraction, and increase the potency and benefits of these compounds compared to when they are not in tincture or extract form. The right combination of fruits and vegetables can give your body an immune boost during the winter months. Since the majority of Americans don't get enough vitamin D, most experts recommend a D supplement. With ways to keep your immune system healthy and kick sickness to the curb. You can also add this earthy herb to bean soups and chicken, pork and beef dishes. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine.

  • Dark chocolate contains much higher levels of flavonoids, antioxidants that protect our cells from damage and inflammation.
  • People who regularly consume foods containing vitamin C may have slightly shorter colds or milder symptoms.
  • More chocolate, please.
  • Antioxidant- and vitamin C-rich apples contain a flavonoid called quercetin, which may help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • The avocado’s creamy counterbalance to the tartness of the grapefruit also contributes healthy monounsaturated fats, which boost absorption of carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • Excessive alcohol can damage the lungs, and impair the mucosal immune system, which is essential in helping the body recognize pathogens and fight infection.
  • What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another.

Ginger Tea

There is no quick-fix for the immune system – genetics, age and exercise are all contributing factors – and no one single addition to your diet will protect you from infection. If you want to avoid coming down with the flu, here are 65+ immune-boosting tips you can employ to equip you to fight off germs all season long. Turmeric is a yellow spice that many people use in cooking. Everybody has got colds, and now we are braced for a coronavirus epidemic. He or she can do a blood test to determine the appropriate dosage for you.

High doses of ultraviolet light (usually from the sun) can affect it negatively, weakening any protective functions (as well as triggering immune suppression in the skin itself). Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli. Not only is there little clinical research showing that vitamin E supplements benefit your health, they may be harmful in some situations.

For can't-miss news, expert beauty advice, genius home solutions, delicious recipes, and lots more, sign up for the Good Housekeeping newsletter. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, are known for their high Vitamin C content. These three recipes highlight some key ingredients with powerful germ-fighting, health-promoting properties. Papaya is a rich source of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body and promotes healthy eyes, skin and tissues. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon and grapefruit juices, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Hashimoto's diet: intermittent fasting for your thyroid health — boost thyroid: hashimoto's and hypothyroid app. Say “Thank You” and reap the health benefits of practicing gratitude.

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in probiotics may also lend a hand in strengthening your immune system.
  • Chlorophyll also helps to nourish the digestive system, supports detoxification and the elimination of toxins.
  • Check out these 7 Trail Mix Recipes and find a new favorite!
  • “These cilia form the first line of defense against respiratory infections,” Dr.
  • Almonds are another excellent source of vitamin E.
  • But fortifying your immune system doesn't end at the doctor's office.

Reach for Elderberries

A version of this story was published in May 2020. For a healthy morning treat, broil grapefruit with a little cinnamon sugar. No one knows for sure why this happens, but some scientists observe that this increased risk correlates with a decrease in T cells, possibly from the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight off infection.

Red bell peppers have the most vitamin C of all varieties, and all bell peppers also have lots of phytochemicals and carotenoids, like beta-carotene, which are chock full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Heat oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. 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. Restricting your calorie intake can actually weaken your immune system, which could counteract the positive effects of weight loss.

Eat Plenty Of Fruits And Vegetables.

These foods also have macronutrients that consist of protein, carb and fats. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, detoxifying and amazing for digestive health. Simmer over very low heat, partially covered, for at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours. Of course, you can do everything right and still get sick. Set a goal, make a chart, and give yourself a gold star each time you empty a glass.

This opportunity for research based on updated biomedical technology can be employed to give a more complete answer to this and similar questions about the immune system. The production of certain immune cells is limited when zinc intake is low, and adequate zinc is crucial for the normal development and function of the immune system. Dark chocolate contains a heavy concentration of theobromine, an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing. This potent antioxidant is produced by your body but with age, its level can drop, according to a study published in Integrative Medicine:

It also cut down the duration of symptoms by eight percent in adults and 14 percent in children. It's also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Fighting the cold war, or its somatic equivalent, is not just for politicians—it’s for ordinary people, struggling to fend off the upheaval viruses can wreak. Garlic and olive oil have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help fight off infection. The body turns these carotenoids into vitamin A, and they have an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system against infection. Turns out this herbal remedy has some science behind it: Anecdotally, I think it shortens my cold and lessens the severity of my symptoms.

The Surprising Effects of Caffeine on Your Body

Water helps your body produce lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells. Eat a balanced diet, exercise and skip unproven supplements. Journal of Toxicologic Pathology, published online July 10, 2020. 12 foods to boost your immune system, in the meantime, general healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand. Now that it is cold and flu season, it is important to take steps to prevent illnesses. Obesity has been linked to increased risk for influenza and other infections such as pneumonia. It's best to stick to other natural sources, like kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut. It also contains zinc, Vitamin A, calcium, potassium and carbohydrates to fuel your body and help you recover. Regularly eating probiotics, so-called "good bacteria" found in foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, may help your immune system work better and improve digestion.


Immunity booster foods in India are eggs, fruits, green vegetables and many more things that come under the category of natural immunity booster foods. As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Garlic has built a reputation for being one of the best cold-curing foods, and for good reason. Cook pasta for dinner. If you are concerned about immune health, you may consider having your vitamin D level checked and talking to your doctor about whether to take a supplement. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, published online May 20, 2020. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease. This probably comes to no surprise to you, but it is important to get enough of this immune-boosting vitamin.

This is great for those with elevated adrenal levels who are prone to illness and becoming run down. “It’s more effective to change your diet,” says Cruickshank. This produces a delicious tea that is soothing for the throat and also is great for helping with any nausea or digestive complaints. People take elderberry syrup as a remedy for colds, flus, and bacterial sinus infections. Hear all about Deep Immune and its benefits on this radio podcast:

Eat more citrus to encourage a healthier flu season.

What to Eat This Week

The antioxidant capacity is higher in blueberries compared to the other fruits. Spinach is full of many of the vitamins and minerals that boost our immune systems. Most nuts contain vitamin E, another vitamin that's crucial to fighting off sickness.

Be wary of foods that are infused with probiotics , though. Some experiments with mice suggest that cold exposure might reduce the ability to cope with infection. While raw it is very healthy for you, cabbage is even better for your immune system and digestive tract when it’s fermented in the form of sauerkraut or kimchi. However, there are foods, herbs, tonics and teas that you can use to help strengthen your immune system to try to prevent getting sick, and also things you can include in your diet to help you if you’re already sick. 5 times more Vitamin C, eight times more Vitamin A and 11 times more beta carotene, according to the University of the District of Columbia’s Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health.

Getting outside during the cold of winter isn’t easy, but spending more time in nature encourages good health. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is with proper nutrition. 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. Whole grains and leafy root vegetables are good plant sources of zinc. Their sugar content is lesser too, thus, they can boost immune system to a great extent. Spinach is a major superfood that is great for your overall health. The acids also assisted in boosting the immune system and guarding the body of infection.


Studies have shown that ginger has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. “When you come into contact with a germ you’ve never met before,” she says, “you’ve got various barriers to try to stop it getting into your body. How exactly can your diet affect your overall health? 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.

And while you have good health on the mind, don't forget to wash your hands , get enough sleep, and get a flu shot ahead of flu season to help you stay your healthiest. The classic comfort food’s staple ingredients—protein-rich chicken and vitamin A-rich carrots—make chicken noodle soup an illness-fighting superstar. A cocktail or glass of wine while you are sheltering in place during coronavirus is fine. Get this immune-boosting vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or foods labeled "vitamin A fortified," such as milk or some cereals.

You can make yummy raw vegan noodles out of young sweet potato.

 Although it's not known whether omega-3s can help fight off infections (such as the common cold), research suggests that omega-3s can protect against immune system disorders like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s hard to stay active during the winter months, but a friend who shares your goals can be a great source of accountability. If you want your family, and especially your children, to avoid a cold this winter season, then you should be giving them zinc-rich foods.

Experts & Community

Check out my Protein Calculator for more info on how much you need every day. Like salmon, light white tuna is filled with zinc. ” This problem is unlikely to affect most of us unless, says Cruickshank, “you’re a couch potato and suddenly try and run a marathon, this could introduce stress hormones and be quite bad for your immune system”.

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.

Get your flu shot. But adding foods that are rich into zinc into your diet is an incredible way to boost your immune system in a balanced way, Haas says. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. Protein from lean animal sources and plant-based versions (like chickpeas, beans, lentils, and peas) can also boost immunity by regulating existing cells and generating new ones. Spinach gives you a great bang for its buck! How can you improve your immune system? But this bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Eat more yogurt.

It helps to relieve stress and increase relaxation, which is so vital when you’re feeling under the weather.

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Because inflammation can affect your body's immune response, anti-inflammatory ginger can play a key role in boosting your immunity. The flavonoid antioxidants found in pomegranate juice have also been shown to combat viruses, and decrease the length of a cold by as much as 40%. They provide a boost when her blood sugar is low and serves as the ideal pre- and post-workout snack. Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, which offers protection from seasonal illness such as the flu and other health problems including arthritis, allergies, abnormal cell development and cancers. Plus, licorice has been shown to enhance immunity more directly by boosting immune system chemicals that help ward off viruses. You can also get it (in small doses) from fatty fish, such as salmon, and fortified milk-and your body makes vitamin D from the sun. Making sure your immune system is in tip-top shape by using food to power it.

That’s especially true during cold and flu season—and with an outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) sweeping the country. Positive thinking could support your immune system as it fights off the flu this year. Respiratory infections, influenza, and particularly pneumonia are a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide. This is because plants contain phytates that inhibit the absorption of zinc, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services. Fennel A licorice-tasting culinary herb and medicinal plant, fennel is a lesser-known immune-boosting herb but very much worth adding to your stable of home remedies. Almost every mother has said it: Initial research suggests that drinking kefir may boost the immune system.

” As well as skin, we have mucus – “snot is a really important barrier” – and a microbiome, the collective noun for the estimated 100tn microbes that live throughout our bodies, internally and externally. Keep a gratitude journal. A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. An essential nutrient, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant.


Howell, Amy B. Since yogurt is a great source of probiotics, it often tops the list of immune-boosting foods. To be immunologically fit, you need to be physically fit. It is also present in some alternative medicines.

“Ginger is a nutrient-dense root that cleanses the lymphatic system and treats inflammation,” says Hayim. And if your local supermarket is running low on fresh produce, frozen fruit and veg is just as beneficial. A half-cup serving, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E. It adds a little zing to food and it's a must-have for your health. Herbs are a passion of Janet Jacks’. Animals bred with no microbiome have less well developed immune responses.

Red peppers contain at least 1.

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Boosting immunity system of our body is highly essential as prevention is always better than cure. Animal sources of zinc such as chicken are better absorbed than plant ones such as legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans) and wholegrains (oat, quinoa, brown rice). The food that we consume and the surroundings that we reside in play a significant role in deducing the condition of our immunity system. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, October 1999.

Wolfram says, “I also like to eat foods that contain probiotics, which help keep our gut microbiomes in balance. And, just like vegetables, certain fruits have amazing immune-boosting benefits that you may not know about. Soups and stews (which provide immune-boosting amino acids and minerals) can feel soothing, while the heat helps open up congestion. Some people tend to pop a zinc tablet when they feel a cold coming on. Sign up to receive the latest health and science news, plus answers to wellness questions and expert tips. While vitamins and supplements can help fill in the gaps in your diet, the best way to load up on essential nutrients is to get them straight from food. Most scientists studying the relationship of stress and immune function, however, do not study a sudden, short-lived stressor; rather, they try to study more constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as that caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or sustained challenges to perform well at one's work.

It's good if you're feeling under the weather, too.

If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. Refrigerate in quart-size containers for up to three days or freeze for six months. This recipe includes some ginger and lemon. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. A meta-analysis published in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine found that probiotics can help to prevent and treat the common cold. Don’t like water?