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Immune Boosting Foods

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Immune Boosting Foods

The seasons they are a-changing, a presage of attempted insults to the immune system. But we can help fortify our defenses through diet, even if we can’t reverse the flow of cold.

And don’t forget, boosting your immune system also helps with other health issues like arthritis, allergies and more.

Here are some immune-boosting foods to help you kick those cooties to the curb:

Protein- the building blocks of all living things, and part of the body’s defense mechanism. It’s what our ANTIBODIES are made of! And we need protein to normalize our bodies stress-response. But even though we need protein, most people are under the impression that they need much more than they do.

[ A standard guide is to take your body weight in kilograms (weight in pounds divided by 2.2), and multiply this number by .8: this is the average grams of protein you need a day. (If recovering from injury or illness, multiply by 1.2 instead of .8 to support tissue repair and cellular growth). ]

Eat a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Zinc-helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, whole grain products, beans, seafood and nuts.

Vitamin A -keeps skin and tissues in your mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. This is a type of protection most of us don’t think about but it’s important. Eat foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or foods labeled vitamin-A fortified (cereal, for example).

Vitamin E -works as an antioxidant. It neutralizes free radicals- we all know a little about these bullies. Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts, spinach or peanut butter.

Vitamin C- stimulates the formation of antibodies (proteins!) and boosts immunity. Foods  citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice or foods fortified with vitamin C are all good choices.

Garlic- One clove contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds - this can help wipe out bacteria and infection (it was used to prevent gangrene in both world wars). Raw garlic is most beneficial for health, so heat and water don’t compromise sulfur enzymes and diminish garlic's antibiotic effects.

*In clinical trials, the toxin-fighting staple seems to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and kill parasites in the body. 

Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, also may influence immune response.

Make a salad full of these immune-boosting foods: use a dark, leafy green, and add some black beans, organic corn, quinoa, bell peppers, cilantro, tomato, onion and maybe some seeds or nuts. Toss it with this great avocado dressing recommended by and RD:



1 avocado 

¾ cup water 

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic

¼ teaspoon dried dill 

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Salt and pepper to taste


    Blend everything in a blender.

    Store in a plastic squeeze bottle in the fridge.

Nutrition Information 

Serving size: 2 tablespoons

Serves 8

Calories: 45; Total fat: 3.5g; Saturated fat 0.5g; Cholesterol: 0; Sodium: 80mg; Carbohydrates: 3g; Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 0; Protein: 1g




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