Immunity-Boosting Foods

Protect yourself during cold and flu season by stocking up on these 11 immunity-boosting foods.

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Eat Well to Stay Well

Although cold and flu season hits hard during the winter, your immune system is working hard all year round. Eat these fresh foods to help boost your immunity.

Nuts

Snack on almonds, cashews or walnuts: the nuts are packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps kick pesky free-radicals out of your body and creates antibodies that fight the bacteria that make you sick.

Citrus Fruit

The famous vitamin C helps fight infection and is a good antioxidant to eat alongside vitamin E. Grapefruits, clementines, lemons, limes and tangerines are all part of this family. You can find a variety of citrus fruit in season throughout the year. Citrus not your thing? Try bell peppers — they have more vitamin C than an orange!

Shrimp

Shrimp is extremely low in fat and contains the antioxidant selenium. This mineral needed in small amounts and works to support a healthy immune system.

Yogurt

Probiotics, the "good bacteria" found in yogurt and other foods, keep your digestive system up and running. According to research from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, consuming foods with probiotics regularly may also help boost your immune system. Sauerkraut, miso and tempeh are other food sources to try.

Green Tea

The polyphenols in green tea act as potent antioxidants. Research suggests that catechins, a specific type of polyphenol, may stimulate the immune system cells and hinder disease-promoting compounds. Although you may detect a bitter taste, you can disguise it with a bit of honey. Adding milk is a no-no, as it will bind to the polyphenols and stop their immunity-building benefits.

Garlic

This member of the onion family contains antibacterial agents and is brimming with antioxidants. There’s no need to munch on whole cloves, rather, add garlic to dishes like sautéed vegetables, salad dressing, hummus and pesto.

Turmeric

This spice contains a natural antioxidant compound called curcumin, which can help decrease inflammation. Add fresh or dried turmeric to your morning cup of tea or smoothie, soups, or roasted orange veggies like carrots and butternut squash.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is good for the soul, though the exact reason isn’t clear. It could be the combo of the chicken and vegetables packed with good-for-you nutrients or the minerals and electrolytes that are leached from the chicken bones into the broth.

Ginger

This root is known to help aid in digestion, but it also contains powerful disease-fighting phytochemicals. Grate fresh ginger into salad dressings, marinades, soups and smoothies.

Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries contain hefty doses of vitamin C. This antioxidant helps fight free radical damage created when your body is warding off foreign invaders. Berries are also a rich source of anthocyanins and other flavonoids, which have been shown to have antimicrobial activity which help support a healthy immune system.

Lean Beef

Beef is one of the highest sources of zinc, a mineral essential for proper immune function. Choose lean cuts like eye round, flank steak, sirloin tip and boneless strip steak.

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