Eating for your best immune system Eating for your best immune system

Cold and flu season is upon us. The good news? There are many ways to prevent getting sick.

You can work towards a healthy immune system by not smoking, by exercising, and by maintaining a healthy weight.

A healthful diet can also help your body fight off illness. This blog will focus on the nutrients and foods that can help support your immune system all winter long!

Vitamin A

Sources of vitamin A [2]:


B vitamins

Sources of B vitamins:

Vitamin C

Sources of vitamin C [6]:

red bell pepper


Sources of zinc [8]:


Sources of selenium [9]:

Immune booster spotlight

Some foods work overtime for our immune system. Here are four immune system superstars!

Green tea

Green tea has been shown to protect against tumors and may help prevent heart disease [10]. Green tea can also be an antioxidant.

green tea


Honey has many cancer fighting benefits. It can help reduce inflammation [10]. It is also an antioxidant. Honey may help prevent cell death.


Curcumin is found in the bright orange spice, turmeric. Curcumin fights inflammation and has cancer fighting benefits [9]. It is also an antioxidant.




Garlic may also help our immunity. One research study found that people who ate aged garlic extract every day for 90 days had more immune cells and less cold and flu symptoms compared to people who did not eat the extract [10]. They also missed less days of work or school due to illness.

Bottom line: Eating a diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lean proteins will help boost your immune system. Taking extra supplements is not necessary unless you are deficient in a certain nutrient. Talk with your doctor before supplementing.

Written by Taylor Newman, PhD/DI student | Edited by Laurel Sanville, MS, RDN, LD 

Posted November 12th, 2018


Original photo sources:

Sneezing | Carrots | Red pepper | Tea | Turmeric


[1]Albert, 2017

[2]Vitamin A sources

[3]B6 sources

[4]Folate sources

[5]Vitamin C sources

[6]Wintergerst et al. 2005

[7]Zinc sources

[8]Selenium sources

[9]Cooper and Ma, 2017

[10]Nantz et al., 2012


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