The Quick Report

The 15 Best Foods for Your Immune System

While no food you eat can cure you of a disease or immunize you against pathogens, maintaining a diet with plenty of vitamins and nutrients can make your immune system stronger than it would be with poor nutrition. With the right diet, you could be much more resilient against colds, flus, and other common ailments.


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Broccoli is great for you, loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It’s also full of antioxidants and dense in fiber, making it a veritable superfood that deserves a spot on your plate. Steam your broccoli for the best results!


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Garlic is more than just yummy: it’s also pretty good for you! Eating garlic can slow the rate at which your arteries harden, and it’s been used as a blood pressure treatment in the past. These effects are likely due to the presence of allicin and other sulfurous compounds in garlic.

Citrus Fruits

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This one is straightforward. Everyone knows vitamin C helps when you’re sick, so eating lots of oranges, clementines, grapefruits, and tangerines can help you get over a cold. Getting enough vitamin C into your body is a daily endeavor: your body won’t create or store it!

Red Bell Peppers

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As great as oranges and citrus fruits are at getting vitamin C into your system, red bell peppers are even better! They’ve got a ton of beta-carotene, too. This can all help you keep your skin healthy and your vision sharp!


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Spinach is, of course, high in vitamin C. Like red bell peppers, it’s also densely loaded with beta-carotene, which breaks down similarly to vitamin A. And what’s more, spinach is full of antioxidants. It’s best for you when you cook it as little as you can.


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Ginger might be helpful for reducing inflammation, and some people take it to help with issues like sore throats. It’s also been said to have some ability to suppress nausea, hence the popularity of ginger ale for people with upset stomachs.


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Assuming you’re not allergic to it, shellfish is quite good for you. Crab, lobster, oysters, and mussels are all high in zinc. Zinc plays a major role in your immune function, so make sure you’re getting your daily recommended amounts!



It’s important to not overlook the power of vitamin E when you’re fighting a cold. Vitamin C always gets top billing, but if you want to help it out with its cousin vitamin E, make sure you eat plenty of almonds. Almonds are also rich in healthy fats!

Green Tea

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Green tea is great for your health due to its high concentration of antioxidants. It’s high in epigallocatechin gallate, an antioxidant that occurs infrequently in other foods. Epigallocatechin gallate might even have antiviral properties! Interestingly, epigallocatechin gallate occurs in all tea plants, but the fermentation process needed to create black tea destroys it.


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Yogurt is rich in probiotics, which is a fancy way of saying it’s got helpful bacteria in it. Don’t worry, bacteria aren’t all bad. In fact, the kind of bacteria that get you sick are much rarer than the ones that want to help you! Yogurt can encourage the growth of those helpful bacteria which, in turn, benefits your health.

Sunflower Seeds

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Believe it or not, sunflower seeds are packed full of helpful nutrients. Everything from vitamins B6 and E to magnesium and phosphorous is in sunflower seeds. They’re tasty to snack on, too! Just make sure you don’t get the salted ones or you might take in too much sodium.


Rich Broth with Chicken in Bowl
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Believe it or not, chicken can be good for you when you’re sick. The meat is rich in vitamin B6, which can help fight inflammation and can grow new, healthy red blood cells. Broth made from boiling chicken bones is also high in nutrients.


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The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are well-documented and largely agreed upon. It’s great for helping your muscles after you work out, too! Some research even suggests that turmeric might have antimicrobial properties, making it function as an immune booster.

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Eating even one papaya gives you your daily recommended volume of vitamin C. Moreover, papayas contain papain, a digestive enzyme that is said to have anti-inflammatory properties that are similar to turmeric. They’re also high in potassium, folate, and magnesium.

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brown round fruit on brown wooden table
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Are you eating enough kiwi? Kiwis, like papayas, are completely loaded with potassium, folate, and other nutrients. They’re a great source of the unusual (but necessary) vitamin K, and, as you’d expect, they’re also a major source of vitamin C.

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