15 Foods That Boost the Immune System

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Regularly eating a variety of nutritious foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as citrus fruits and spinach, can help boost your immune health.

Immune system boosters

Immune system boosters
Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong.
If you’re looking for ways to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. Plan your meals to include these 15 powerful immune system boosters.
Important note
No supplement will cure or prevent disease, and no supplement or diet can protect you from COVID-19. Currently, no research supports the use of any supplement to protect against COVID-19 specifically.
Food Fix: Immune System Boost

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1. Citrus fruits

1. Citrus fruits
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Most people turn straight 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, which are key to fighting infections.
Most citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
Popular citrus fruits include:
grapefruit
oranges
clementines
tangerines
lemons
limes
Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. The recommended daily amount for most adults is:
75 mg for women
90 mg for men
If you opt for supplements, avoid taking more than 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day.
Also keep in mind that while vitamin C might help you recover from a cold quicker, there’s no evidence yet that it’s effective against COVID-19.

2. Red bell peppers

2. Red bell peppers
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Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost 3 times as much vitamin C (127 mg) as a Florida orange (45 mg). They’re also a rich source of beta-carotene.
Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help you maintain healthy skin. Beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

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3. Broccoli
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Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and many other antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate.
The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all. Research has shown that steaming or microwaving are the best ways to keep more nutrients in the food.

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4. Garlic
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Garlic adds flavor to food and has long been used for medicinal purposes.
Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also slow down hardening of the arteries, and people use it to treat high blood pressure.
Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

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5. Ginger
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Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. It may also help with nausea.
While it’s used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin.
Ginger may also decrease chronic pain and might even possess cholesterol-lowering properties.

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6. Spinach
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Spinach made our list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C — it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta-carotene, which may both increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking makes it easier to absorb the vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid, an antinutrient.
Check out some spinach recipes here.

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7. Yogurt
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Look for yogurts that have the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.
Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.
Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with this vitamin. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
Clinical trials are even in the works to study its possible effects on COVID-19.
Research so far suggests that vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk for COVID19 and the severity of disease progression in people with the infection. Experts therefore believe supplementation may protect people with a vitamin D deficiency. However, there is no evidence that vitamin D can treat a COVID19 infection.

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