Foods and Recipes to Boost Your Immune System
Fight the threat of flu and other infectious diseases by boosting your immune system. Keeping your immune system strong is one of the best ways to prevent winter colds and flu. According to the World Health Organization, plan your meals to include 15 powerful immune-boosting foods!
Citrus Fruits – Most people turn to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells.
Red Bell Peppers – Ounce for ounce red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits.
Ginger – Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which will aid in reducing a sore throat and other inflammatory diseases.
Garlic – Garlic may help lower blood sugar and slow down the hardening of your arteries, garlic was used as a home remedy for fighting infections in early civilizations.
Broccoli – Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals, it is also packed with vitamins A, C, and E, and loads of antioxidants. Broccoli has the most effect when it is less cooked.
Spinach – Spinach like many of the other superfoods is packed with vitamin C, but also with numerous antioxidants and beta-carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Like broccoli, spinach has the most effect, when it is less cooked.
Turmeric – Turmeric is best known for use in curries, but has been used for years as an anti-inflammatory for treating arthritis.
Almonds – Loaded with vitamin E, nuts such as almonds, are packed also with healthy fats. A half-cup serving of almonds provides almost 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.
Yogurt – Look for yogurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.
Green Tea – Both green and black tea are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant.
Poultry – Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily-recommended amount of B-6.
Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6, and super filled with vitamin E.
Papaya – Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.
Kiwi – Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
Shellfish – Shellfish such as clams, crab, lobster, and mussels are loaded with zinc, which our bodies need, so that our immune cells can function as intended.
Here are some simple recipes that you may want to try!
Ginger, Carrot, Orange Soup
(Adapted from The Daily Meal)
- 4 cups vegetable broth, organic if you can find it
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 ½ cup sliced red onions
- 1 ½ teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 oranges, peeled and halved
- Peel of ¼ orange
- 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
- ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of coriander
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Put ½ cup of the broth in the skillet and heat slightly. Add the carrots, onions, and ginger and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes or until the carrots and onions are soft. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining broth, beans, oranges, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, salt, and pepper.
- Puree in a blender in batches until smooth. Transfer the soup to a large pot and heat gently. Serve the soup hot.
Super Immune-Boosting Soup
- 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1½ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 12 cups water
- 4 heads baby bok choy, bottoms chopped off
- ½ head kale, chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- Heat Olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add in garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add in celery and mushrooms and sauté for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms have wilted. Add in spices (including ginger, if using) and water and bring to a boil.
- Then let simmer, covered for 1 hour or in a crock-pot for 3-4 hours on low. Add bok choy and kale in the last 10 minutes of cooking to wilt.
- Serve warm or store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Yields 6-8 bowls.
Thyme Roasted Almonds
(Adapted from an Ina Garten Recipe)
- 1 pound roasted, salted almonds
- 2 teaspoons good Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. Sea Salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the almonds, olive oil, thyme, and kosher salt on a sheet pan and toss together. Roast the almonds for 10 to 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes with a metal spatula, until they are lightly browned. Watch them carefully, they burn very easily. Sprinkle with sea salt, toss and set aside to cool, serve at room temperature.
Green Cold Fighting Smoothie
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 ripe apple, chopped
- 2 cups kale leaves, stems removed
- ½ cup orange juice, cold or frozen, no sugar added
- ½ cup cold water
- 12 ice cubes
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or flax meal
- ½ Tbsp. ground turmeric
- Place bananas, apple, kale, orange juice, water, ice cubes, flaxseed, and turmeric in a blender. Pulse a few times, then puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Serves 2. Each serving contains Calories 213. Fat 2.5 g., Sodium 16 mg., Carbohydrates 50 g., Fiber 8 g., Sugar 29 g., Protein 4 g.