12 Top Foods That Boost the Immune System (#4 is Wicked Cool!)

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com


If you want to avoid that summer cold going around or you want to pump up your protection for the coming flu season, in addition to practicing good hygiene, making changes to your diet to improve your immune system is a great way to start.

What you eat plays a huge part in strengthening your immune system. Most people do not eat nearly enough fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds to stay healthy.  Have you ever seen someone at the office, who usually drinks coffee or energy drinks, suddenly drinking orange juice all day because they caught a cold?  Someone should tell them you can’t just eat something healthy one or two weeks out of the year, and think that you will avoid getting sick.  Keeping your immune system healthy depends on eating a balanced mix of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, seeds, and getting plenty of rest along with exercise.

You can greatly improve and strengthen your immune system by eating the following 12 foods, all of which are known to have immune-boosting compounds. It takes a great deal more than just an apple a day, folks! (But that is a great place to start!)


1. Spinach

Yup, you knew Popeye was on to something good here! Spinach is loaded with vitamin E, C, K, folates, and beta-carotene, all of which are vital to a functioning immune system. Add spinach instead of lettuce to your sandwiches, soups, and salads.


2. Yogurt

About 90 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and yogurt with live cultures lines your gut with those good bacteria.  Of course, you can buy these probiotics in a supplement form, but one University of Vienna study found that eating seven ounces of yogurt was more effective at boosting immunity than supplements. In another study, from Sweden, 181 factory employees who took a probiotic supplement drink containing lactobacillus reuteri, (known to stimulate white blood cells) took 33 percent fewer sick days than the subjects who took a placebo. Always choose yogurt that has live and active cultures for the best immune-boosting benefits.


3. Carrots

Well, despite what that sci-fi novel might have told you, eating carrots will not give you night vision superiority … But they will help you fight off those cold and flu viruses. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene. Try to eat your carrots raw to get as many of the health benefits as possible. If the texture bugs you, try baby carrots. They tend to be sweeter and less grainy.

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