Fight Winter Colds With These Immune System Foods and Recipes

— Written By and last updated by
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

Sadly it’s the time of year again when germs are running rapid, fight back the threat of flu and other infectious disease by boosting your immune system. Keeping your immune system strong is one of the best ways to prevent winter colds and flu. Plan your meals to include these 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.
Who would have thought?
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 super charged with vitamins and minerals, it is also packed with vitamins A, C, and E, and loads of antioxidants. Broccoli has the most nutritional benefits when it is less cooked.
Spinach – Spinach like many of the other super foods 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, with the added benefit of protein.
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!

Turmeric Ginger Lemonade

(This tangy lemonade will fight fatigue as well as inflammation)
4-5 cups of Water
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 teaspoons ginger, shredded
¼ cup or more fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons local honey
Pinch of Black pepper
Fresh mint leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Additional non sugar sweetener as desired
Fresh mint leaves
Bring water to a light boil on the stove. Add in your spices and let it boil again for a minute, then
reduce and simmer turmeric for 10 minutes. Remove from the stove and let it cool a bit. Then
strain the liquid to get rid of excess ginger root or spice powder. Add the crushed mint, if desired.
Strain with a mesh strainer or cloth. Pour the rest of the liquid into a pitcher along with your lemon juice, extracts, and sweetener of choice. Mix again so that the honey and lemon juice are combined with the turmeric ginger brew.
Garnish with extra lemon slices, fresh mint, and store in fridge. Add ice if desired but note it will dilute flavor.
Do not over simmer, this will reduce the beneficial compounds from the turmeric and ginger
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 38. Fat 0.1 g., Sodium 1.8 mg., Carbohydrates 10.3 g., Fiber
0.2 g., Sugar 9 g., Protein 0.2 g.

Super Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups of leeks, or onion, finely chopped=
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
¾ cup green beans, cut into thirds
¾ cup green peas
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups leafy greens, for example kale, or spinach, or a combination

Oil for Drizzle

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 ½ tablespoons fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon agave, optional
Heat a large pot over medium and add oil.
Add leeks or onions and garlic and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add celery, zucchini, green beans and peas and stir. After a minute or two, add in cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper.
Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, add in lemon juice, leafy greens and garbanzo beans and cook a few more minutes, until greens are wilted.
Meanwhile, add all herbed oil ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and well incorporated.
Serve soup with a drizzle of oil over top and enjoy!
Serves 4-6, each 1 bowl serving contains; Calories 381. Fat 24 g., Sodium 1872 mg., Carbohydrates
35 g., Fiber 9 g., Sugar 6 g., Protein 10 g.

Vegetable and Ground Beef Skillet

1 tablespoon avocado or Olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large crown of broccoli, chopped
6 radishes, chopped
1 pound grass fed ground beef
1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
2 teaspoons ground or fresh ginger
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 large yellow squash, chopped
Heat avocado oil in a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, broccoli, and radishes and stir well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften,
about 5 minutes.

Scoot the vegetables to one side of the cast iron skillet and add the ground beef. Flatten the beef against the skillet, creating a beef layer. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground ginger.
Allow beef to brown 2 minutes, then flip to the other side and continue browning another 2 minutes. Break the beef up into chunks with a spatula and stir into the vegetables so that everything is combined.
Add the zucchini squash and yellow squash and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked through and vegetables have reached desired done-ness, about 5 minutes. Taste the vegetable and ground beef skillet for flavor and season to taste with sea salt.
Remove the lid and continue cooking and stirring occasionally until much of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve in bowls and enjoy!
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 284, Fat 16 g., Carbohydrates 9 g., Sugar 3 g., Protein 25 g.

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 degrees. 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.