Can the way you eat enhance your immune system? The short answer is yes! After all- what we eat matters!  Eating high quality foods with a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients are definitely immune system boosters. What’s more?  There are specific “immune boosting” foods that contain nutrients shown to enhance our immunity. So what are these magical immune-boosting foods and how do they work?

Eating well and immunity

Clean eating has many health benefits including improving cardiometabolic health, reducing the risk of certain cancers, and improving cognitive health, to name a few health benefits, including of course, promoting a healthy immune system. A well nourished body is more likely to fight off infections and illness. That isn’t to say you should not or cannot ever indulge in a treat, but if you set your intentions on eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (in all the colors), whole grains, healthy fats, and well-sourced lean meats, your body will be better equipped to fight off pathogens as compared to a diet high in sugar, processed carbohydrates and empty-calories. Eating well is perhaps one of the best single possible things you can do to help your immune system! 

Foods that are immunity boosters

First let’s look at the vitamins and minerals that have been shown to improve immunity. Vitamin D, minerals including zinc, antioxidants such as anthocyanin and theobromine, and omega-3 fatty acids are all examples of micronutrients that help support the immune system. 

Eating a well-balanced, nutrient dense diet is an excellent way to boost your immune system. Eating a wide variety of good foods will ensure you’re getting the good stuff your body needs. But here are some helpful additions to get you through the flu and cold season.  

Blueberries: high in flavonoids, which were shown in a study to reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold. 

Turmeric: as a spice, it can easily be added to dishes for an added boost. It is rich in curcumin, which has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Spinach and other leafy greens: these are a great source of zinc, B vitamins and iron. 

Garlic: contains allicin, which has been shown to result in fewer colds.

Salmon: an excellent source of omega and vitamin D which has been associated with reduced respiratory infections.

Dark chocolate: a natural source of theobromine, an antioxidant. We have to include at least one treat! 

As you can see, eating well for immunity is not so hard. Enhance your immune system not only by eating well but by getting plenty of movement, sleep and sunshine. All of these immune system boosters have been shown in scientific studies to make your body strong and more resilient against bugs!

In good health.