Foods that Help Support Your Immune System

There's no better time then NOW to be reminded of simple ways to boost our immune systems with the foods we eat...I know I've been cooking more then ever these days and love to incorporate recipes with lots of these healthy options below! The immune system plays a pivotal role in overall health. In short, it is the body’s first line of defense that keeps us healthy.  Switching up your diet is one of the best strategies for how to support your immune system health naturally. In fact, many foods provide an array of specific nutrients that can help support immune function and support a healthy you.

Fruits and vegetables, for example, are a great source of vitamin C, which is an important water-soluble vitamin that, generally, supports a healthy immune system. Other foods like nuts, seeds and fatty fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that can help support healthy cardiovascular function and healthy cognitive function.

Some ingredients are also high in antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds, which may support a healthy immune system. 

Here are a few suggested healthy immune system–supporting foods for kids and adults:

  • Fruits: apples, oranges, lemons, limes, kiwi, papaya, melons, berries
  • Vegetables: bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, kale, cauliflower
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts
  • Seeds: chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds
  • Protein Foods: grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, free-range poultry, eggs, tempeh, yogurt, legumes
  • Whole Grains: couscous, quinoa, brown rice, oats, farro, barley, buckwheat
  • Fats and Oils: avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter
  • Herbs and Spices: ginger, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper
  • Beverages: green tea, kombucha, coconut water, kefir

Try mixing and matching some of these healthy immune system-supporting foods in your favorite recipes.

Rachael Link, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian based in New York City. She completed her undergraduate degree in Dietetics at the University of Central Missouri and later received her Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Rachael is passionate about plant-based nutrition and enjoys providing easy-to-understand information to readers looking to support their health.