Nutrition Articles

8 Foods That Strengthen Your Immune System

Give Your Body an All-Natural Booster Shot

Surely you've heard the old saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."  While a daily apple is a better strategy than nothing, it'll actually take a much stronger plan to really boost your immune system. Almost every year, we hear that this cold and flu season is predicted to be a doozy, and we're cautioned to be proactive to fight against germs. The best weapons in germ warfare are adequate sleep, regular exercise and appropriate hand washing.  But don't stop there: Give your immune system an all-natural "booster shot" by eating more of these readily-available, budget-friendly foods. 

Foods That Fight Colds & the Flu
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Sweet Potatoes do double-duty when it comes to fighting off infection. They're filled with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that transforms into vitamin A, another antioxidant that keeps your skin strong and elastic, which helps keep those harmful bacteria and viruses out of your body.

Try It: Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Swap It: Other foods rich in these antioxidants include carrots, acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkin.
Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant shown to attack free radicals and fight infection. Vitamin C it can lessen the time it takes your body to fight off a cold.  
Try It: Grapefruit Salad

Swap It: Other vitamin C-rich foods to try are oranges, tangerines, kiwis, bell peppers, papaya, strawberries and broccoli. Continued ›
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • I only see seven. Do we get to pick one of our own?

    Trailtrodder - 10/31/2015 10:11:21 PM
  • They left out the broccoli in the picture. Not great editing there. You had to read the article to find it. And the article was pretty weak about beef and list Roast Beef. I don't like the first 4 things on the list so it wasn't very relevant for me. - 1/18/2015 8:47:08 AM
  • Maybe they are counting the berries with the yogurt? Or maybe not counting??? - 11/19/2014 10:58:43 AM
  • Only 7 in that photo or am I crazy? - 11/16/2014 8:05:16 PM
    I often fall short of the minimum req. for some of these vita.. & min.. Folate for instance. I found this article very helpful. Thank you. - 9/9/2014 5:25:22 PM
  • Grapefruit interferes with many prescriptions drugs, especially blood pressure meds. I love the things but have to use other vitamin C sources.
    - 9/8/2014 1:23:38 PM
  • Good article..but.. Why when they tell use to have certain foods for our benefit they rarely tell how many servings we need ? - 9/8/2014 12:47:55 PM

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