Immune Boosting Foods
Could your diet be making you sick? If you’re not getting enough of the nutrients in these immune boosting foods, your immune system might be missing important things it needs to keep you healthy.
I battled an absurd number of colds when my eldest entered the public school system, so I took a hard look at what was missing from my mainly plant-based diet to up my odds of winning the war against elementary-school viruses. What I learned through hours of research has helped me eat to keep colds at bay more effectively. I’m so thankful I didn’t have to slog through another year feeling lousy all the time! I wanted to share this information with you in case fixing a shortfall in your diet could help you stay healthier, too.
Your immune system is a complex thing, and a lot goes into making it function well. Current research suggests certain vitamins and minerals play particularly important roles in keeping our immune systems humming. A varied, whole-foods diet is a great start, providing you with an array of critical immune-supporting nutrients and sufficient protein and healthy fats. But even us real foodies tend to eat a lot of the same things each day and may not get enough of the nutrients our immune systems require to do their job well.
Below are some of the most important building blocks for your immune system according to current research. Be sure you’re getting plenty of these immune boosting foods in your diet, from A to zinc!this page may contain affiliate links, which help to pay for this site. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting HealthyGreenSavvy!
Immune Boosting Foods: Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays a critical role in immune function, and if you’re not eating much orange food, you’re probably not getting enough. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t. Dig into those carrots! My favorite ways to get vitamin A are sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach and mangoes, all of which contain more per serving than you need each day.
Eat them plain or incorporate them into your favorite recipes. Dried mangoes are a delicious, sweet treat that can help you say no to the immune-suppressing sugary snacks. (You can make your own dried mango for a fraction of the cost of prepackaged.) More vitamin A-rich foods here.
Immune Boosting Foods: B Vitamins ~ B-6, B-12 & Folate
I got interested in B-6 when I was seeking ways to improve sleep quality (also vital to staying healthy!) and learned it’s also involved in immune function. Since many of the richest sources of B-6 are meat and fish, my mainly vegetarian diet may not have been providing enough to help me battle the cold viruses my kindergartener brought home.
Now I’m trying to eat more bananas, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, and squashregularly rather than just once in awhile. More suggestions for B-6 rich foods here.
Because of its important role in fetal development, you’ll find many processed foods fortified with folate. But if you avoid processed foods — generally a good idea! — you need to be a little more intentional about getting enough. Liver and spinach are especially rich sources. More food sources here.