10 Immune-Boosting Foods

10 Immune-Boosting Foods

            Cold and flu season is still lingering and the last thing any of us want to do is get sick. Who has the time for that? Check out these ten foods that might help boost your immune system to stave off germs (and, you know, wash your hands):*

  1. Garlic: Garlic has been used throughout history to help stave off infections, and science says those people were smart. “One clove contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds--powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection (it was used to prevent gangrene in both world wars). Raw garlic, not cooked or dried, is most beneficial for health, since heat and water inactivate sulfur enzymes, which can diminish garlic's antibiotic effects.”[1] Sure, people might not be super inclined to kiss you if you routinely chomp down on raw garlic, but don’t worry about it; other people are gross anyway.

  2. Turmeric: This increasingly popular spice might be more than just delicious. “Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is an orange-yellow component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a spice often found in curry powder. Traditionally known for its an anti-inflammatory effects, curcumin has been shown in the last two decades to be a potent immunomodulatory agent.”[2] In short, scientists are still studying the effects of curcumin in turmeric and the potential positive impact it can have on individual health. While we wait for more research, we’re going to order out for some curry...

  3. Spinach: We call know this is Popeye’s favorite leafy green, but there’s a reason: it’s packed with vitamins such as E and C! But unlike Popeye, try and eat your spinach fresh instead of from a can, the latter of which can have lots of added ingredients like high levels of sodium.[3]

  4. Ginger: Ginger “was exported from India to the Roman Empire over 2000 years ago, where it was especially valued for its medicinal properties. Ginger continued to be a highly sought after commodity in Europe even after the fall of the Roman Empire, with Arab merchants controlling the trade in ginger and other spices for centuries. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the value of a pound of ginger was equivalent to the cost of a sheep.” As it turns out, modern science reinforces the notion of ginger for health as it has been shown to exhibit antibacterial qualities.[4] Plus, ginger-breath tends to be favored over garlic-breath...

  5. Green Tea: Settle down for a cozy evening with a cup of your favorite immune booster! Green tea provides strong “antioxidants (polyphenols and flavonoids) that protect against free radicals and help destroy them*...Both black tea and green tea are rich in L-theanine, an amino acid thought to help enhance immunity that’s found in both regular and decaf versions.*”[5]

  6. Yogurt: Happy tummy, happy life! Okay, so that’s not exactly the saying, but it’s true that good gut health can lead to better overall health, from boosting immunity to improving sleep and digestion. This is where yogurt comes into play; it’s a natural source of probiotics, also known as the good bacteria that lives in your stomach. However, “be wary of foods that are infused with probiotics, though. Not all probiotics are made equal, and products that contain them don't always have enough active cultures to make a real difference.”[6]

  7. Blueberries: You’ve probably heard about blueberries in regards to antioxidants, but have you heard why? “Researchers from Oregon State University looked at the impact of 446 different chemicals on the human immune system. Findings published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research showed that two compounds, resveratrol found in red grapes and pterostilbene found in blueberries, when combined with vitamin D, could boost the body’s ability to fend off illness.”[7] We can’t confirm that these results are still valid when the blueberries are baked into a pie...probably best to just eat fresh or frozen.

  8. Citrus: This might be the most obvious item on this list; as soon as we start feeling rundown, we often reach for some citrus to get that vitamin C! Try squeezing a half of a lemon into a glass of water right after you wake up in the morning.[8]

  9. Oysters: While you might have anticipated seeing citrus on this list, we’re willing to be oysters weren’t the first food that came to mind when this post started. But oysters can actually be beneficial to your immune system. “They've got zinc in them, which appears to have some virus-fighting powers. That's probably because zinc helps create and activate white blood cells involved in the immune response.”[9]

  10. Apples: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” In reality, apples might not be solely responsible for you not needing to go to the doctor, but they can still help your immune system. “Apples are...high in fiber, which can help reduce the inflammation common during infections.”[10] Apparently there’s some truth in that old saying after all!



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Vemma Nutrition Company recommends following a healthy approach to weight loss by consulting with your physician or health care professional prior to starting any new exercise or diet plan.

[1] Schaufelberger, Katherine. “Garlic: An Immunity-Boosting Superstar.” WebMD, WebMD, 30 July 2007, www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/garlic-immunity-boosting-superstar.

[2] Jagetia, G C, and B B Aggarwal. “‘Spicing up’ of the Immune System by Curcumin.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17211725.

[3] “8 Vitamins & Minerals You Need for a Healthy Immune System.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 30 Jan. 2019, health.clevelandclinic.org/eat-these-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system/.

[4] Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/

[5] Bannan, Patricia. “6 Foods to Boost Your Immune System.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 10 Jan. 2015, www.foxnews.com/health/6-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system.

[6] Newcomer, Laura. “Eight Foods to Superpower Your Immune System.” CNN, Cable News Network, 7 Feb. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/02/06/health/foods-boost-immune-system-diet-partner/index.html.

[7] Patel, Arti. “Foods For Immunity: Why You Need To Eat Blueberries And Red Grapes.” HuffPost Canada, HuffPost Canada, 19 Sept. 2013, www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/19/foods-for-immunity-blueberries-red-grapes-_n_3954279.html.

[8] “Why You Should Start Your Day With Lemon Water.” PEOPLE.com, Time Inc, 26 Feb. 2015, people.com/food/lemon-water-health-benefits-boost-immune-system/.

[9] “Immune-Boosting Foods: Berries, Oysters, & More in Pictures.” WebMD, WebMD, 10 Sept. 2018, www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-immune-foods.

[10] Sifferlin, Alexandra. “11 Best Foods For Your Immune System.” Time, Time, 19 June 2018, time.com/5313656/best-foods-for-immune-system/.

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