11 Immune-Boosting Foods Everyone Must Have In Routine Diet

immune boosting foods

“Your body is already equipped with a self-defense mechanism. Immune-boosting superfoods fix the weak spots.”

Ever noticed how some people are more susceptible to flu and bacterial infections than others?

Our body’s immune system is directly linked to our stomach. 

The gut hosts certain “good” bacteria that fight pathogens—disease-carrying microorganisms—to protect our body from harm. If their number weakens, it could, in turn, weakens the body’s immune system—hence, the perpetual suffering.

Luckily, your body is not entirely dependent on them.

Nature has blessed us with certain superfoods that you can add to your diet to boost your body’s immunity. 

Here, I am sharing 11 such powerful immune-boosting foods enriched with Vitamin A, C, D, E, iron, zinc, and selenium, among others.


immune boosting foods
Yogurt boost your immune system by aiding microbes

Remember the “helpful bacteria” I mentioned above? Yogurt is an excellent source of those probiotics.

Probiotics break down carbohydrates—which your body can’t digest itself—allowing your body to absorb the nutrients. They also release protective enzymes, boosting your body’s immunity.

Anne Maczulak—a microbiologist and author of “Allies and Enemies— thinks probiotics have a symbiotic relationship with our body.

As long as humans can’t live without carbon, nitrogen, protection from disease, and the ability to fully digest their food, they can’t live without bacteria.

Your stomach provides these good bacteria food and shelter, while they reciprocate it by digesting food. (Want to know more about boosting your metabolism? Check out “There’s a Cloaked Culprit Behind Your Growing Weight“)

Aside from Yogurt, Sauerkraut, salami, sourdough, Kombucha, and Miso soup are also immune-boosting superfoods with similar properties.

2. Shellfish

boosting your immunity with oysters
Boost your immune system with Zinc loaded oysters

Often at the first sign of a pathogen, your body’s defense mechanism activates immediately standing alert for the kill. Left unchecked, it usually tumbles out of control, causing extreme inflammation and alarming fever.

As an immune-boosting food, Shellfish is brimmed with zinc, which rests a firm hand on the trigger-happy response to keep your body from producing excessive B cells.

Daren Knoell—a professor of internal medicine at Ohio State University—found this intriguing tidbit during one of his experiments concerning the immune system.

“The benefit to health is explicit: Zinc is beneficial because it stops the action of a protein, ultimately preventing excess inflammation,” said Knoell.

Interestingly, zinc shortens the viral infection during a common cold, as well.

Protect your body from adverse effects by adding shellfish to your diet. .Oysters, Alaskan crab, shrimps, and molasses relatively maintain the recommended 10mg zinc level in your body.

For vegans, chickpeas might provide the necessary zinc. (Scroll below to 4rth to find the benefits of chickpea)

3. Salmon

immune boosting vitamin D
Salmon is a great source of Vitamin D

After sunlight, if there’s one thing highly concentrated in Vitamin D, it’s the fatty fish salmon.

Vitamin D is extremely popular for bone health but also works surprisingly well in boosting your immunity.

It fuels the white blood cells and decreases the inflammation frequently caused by your body battling free radicals. Those who take Vitamin D daily usually experience less severe symptoms of flu and respiratory infections.

Since salmon is rich in Vitamin D, riboflavin, iron, and zinc, a 100-gram of this fatty fish is more than sufficient for a healthy person.

To be on the safe side though, the American heart association recommends Salman twice a week.

If seafood is not your preferred choice, no worries, egg yolk is also an excellent source of Vitamin D.

Likewise, almond fortified milk and mushrooms is a meat-free option.

4. Chickpeas

immune boosting foods
From the family of Legumes, Chickpeas are enriched with iron.

Loaded with iron, chickpeas is one of the major immune-boosting foods.

Since Iron is an oxygen carrying-vessel, it’s an integral part of your blood. Any less than a daily intake of 11mg of iron could seriously weaken your body.

Chickpeas, additionally, contain zinc and folate to help your body absorb nutrients during your weakened state from the cold.

Typically, one cup of chickpea covers 50% of your daily allowance. 

Combine it with Vitamin C-infused superfoods, such as tomato or chili, and your body will absorb twice as much.

5. Broccoli

Immune boosting vegetables
Broccoli is a treasure trove of micronutrients

Just as every good thing comes with a catch, broccoli, with its acquired taste, is also hooked with countless nutrients.

This immune-boosting food is so immensely infused with micronutrients it might take you a while to sort out benefits!

For instance; Broccoli builds up your immune system with Phytochemicals. The lutein in Broccoli prevents viral infections, and sulforaphane keeps the heart vessel healthy.

And that doesn’t even cover the minerals present in this immune-boosting vegetable.

You gain a small amount of iron and zinc from broccoli which, I might add, play major parts in boosting your immunity.

A cup of broccoli could also fill 50% of your Vitamin C allowance.

Dr.Rangan Chatterjee, author of The Four Pillar Plan, in one of his interviews with the BBC resident presenter, said if you have a choice to pick one food, opt for broccoli.

“Broccoli is a lifesaver.” 

Lifesaver, indeed.

If only 70% of the population hadn’t an unfavorable opinion of its bitter taste, I would have placed broccoli at the top of the list.

You’ve to admit. Taste matters!

6. Bell Pepper

immune boosting superfoods
Bell Pepper is an incredible superfood

This vegetable might seem an unusual choice to be on the list, but being a major source of Vitamin C, bell pepper a powerful foe against respiratory infections.

Dr. Bruce Ryan Bistrian, in his letter to Harvard health, expressed explicitly that people who take Vitamin C have higher chances of preventing cold.

Vitamin C in a bell pepper—also known as ascorbic acid—is an effective antioxidant agent. It detoxifies infections, repair cells, and boost your immunity all in one go.

Astonishingly, Bell pepper contains thrice the Vitamin C than in oranges.

You can, of course, supplement it with vitamin C tablets—as many prefer, but organic will always be a better choice. Dr. Bistrain thinks similarly.

“The preferred mode of intake is food, although nearly 50% of Americans take a vitamin C supplement in some form,” says Dr. Bistrian.

Besides, supplements are fairly complicated. The more you take, the less your body absorbs it. Meaning, your body will most likely consume 98% of Vitamin C if the dosage is 20mg than 1000mg.

The good news is since your body’s daily requirement is 90 mg of Vitamin C; you can easily stock it with half a cup of bell pepper.

If half a cup seems too much, you can compensate it with other immune boosting foods, such as Papaya, kiwi, and, of course, oranges.

7. Carrots

Immune boosting vegetable
Carrots Possess Anti-inflammatory properties

Dr.David Samadi, a chairman at Lenox Hill hospital, once remarked, “If there are three foods one should have in their daily diet, its apple, walnut, and carrot.

Widely known as a vegetable for the eyes, carrots are highly saturated with Vitamin A and pectin.

Vitamin A builds up the endurance of your immune system by producing regulatory T-cells. In addition, it aids in the regeneration of the stomach’s layers.

Pectin, on the other hand, keeps the gut healthy by providing nutrition to the “good bacteria”.

You’ll not find any problem adding carrots to your pantry. They’re easily available in the market and tasty to boot. Still, you can substitute carrots with other red and orange vegetables.

8. The Ginger Garlic Duo

immune boosting herbs
Ginger and Garlic lessens cold symptoms

Ginger and garlic have long been revered as immune-boosting superfoods due to their powerful medicinal properties.

In ancient times, when seasickness would strike the passengers during sea voyages, they often used ginger to abate nausea.

On land, laborers consumed garlic cloves to enhance their muscle strength.

It was quite evident early on that both garlic and ginger are incredible immune-boosting herbs and possess properties most beneficial to your health.

Let’s take garlic first.

If you’ve noticed the garlic scent, which is hardly unnoticeable, it’s drawn from the sulfur compounds that enhance the white blood cells. By adding a clove or two of raw garlic to your diet, you can lower the chances of catching a cold.

The Gingerol in ginger whereas is a classic solution for sore throat.

The bioactive components in ginger have some massive antioxidant effects to boost your body’s immunity and keep the cold at bay.

While I would not go so far as to say it’ll keep the COVID-19 at bay as well, there’s no harm in fortifying your immune system against common flu.

If you must know, ginger also maintains your blood sugar and cholesterol level. Just saying.

9. Brazil Nuts

Immune boosting superfoods
Brazil Nuts boost your Selenium ratio

Native to Rainforest, Brazil nuts are highly enriched with Selenium.

It might not be widely known but Selenium—a mineral— is keenly associated with your body’s immune system.

It assists in cell growth, reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases, and prevents cognitive depreciation.

By snacking on a couple of roasted nuts you might never need supplements to cover the selenium deficiency. As a matter of fact, one nut possesses 96 mcg of selenium–which pretty much covers your daily intake.

Brazil nuts are also loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin E, and phenols to fortify your body’s defense mechanism.

Moreover, they have a higher quantity of copper, zinc, and magnesium

Succulently put if broccoli was not in the contest, Brazil nuts might have taken the crown.

10. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Seeds are healthy snacks

Seeds, regardless of any kind, are largely famous for concealing powerful ingredients beneath their shells.

Sunflower seeds, naturally, share similar traits.

Accumulating micronutrients, Sunflower seed contains a certain part of Vitamin E called alpha-tocopherol that specifically fights cell membrane damage.

This makes it an excellent snack for senior citizens.

If roasted, they can fill almost 50% of your daily Vitamin E intake from a mere one ounce.

Likewise, you can also get Vitamin E from almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts.

11. Berries

Berries possess remarkable immune-boosting properties

With a tart and tangy flavor, berries not only taste amazing but hold an astonishing influence on your immune system.

They Hoard Vitamin C and flavanols and protect your body from foreign attacks. Every berry also owns its distinct place in your immune system.

For instance; Elderberries reduce the severity of the flu virus. Blueberries protect your heart from cardiovascular diseases. Strawberries strengthen your mind.

Carry a stock of these immune-boosting foods. They are one of those items none would mind adding to their diet.

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