Top 29 Foods that strengthen your immune system

It’s no secret that you are what you eat. Research over the years has shown that a well-balanced diet filled with nutritious foods is your strongest defense against chronic and dangerous conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. 

But did you know the foods you eat can also help you fight illnesses such as the flu? There are certain foods that are known immune system boosters. That means they help your body fight disease. 

Let’s take a closer look at your immune system and which foods affect your body’s ability to respond to threats.

What is the immune system?

Foods that strengthen your immune system

The immune system is how your body defends itself from threats from the outside world. This complex system of cells, tissues and organs identifies when something has entered your body such as the flu virus. It then triggers an automatic, coordinated response to help you heal, using what is known as your white blood cells. 

When your immune system is strong, your body is better prepared to fight off sickness. When your immune system is weaker, you are more likely to get sick. 

Your immune system is also key to fighting diseases such as cancer. In fact, immunotherapy is a treatment that trigger’s your body’s own immune system into attacking cancerous cells. Given its important role in your health, we need to do what we can to keep the immune system strong.

Foods to strengthen your immune system

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes provide vitamin A, which prevents the damage that can be caused by ultraviolet rays. Besides being good for the skin, they are low in calories and have a lot of fiber.


This fruit contains vitamin E, a fundamental antioxidant that also strengthens the defenses

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate, rich in cocoa, contains theobromine. This is a substance that protects white blood cells from molecules that are produced when food is processed or makes contact with contaminants. Since chocolate tends to have a lot of calories and saturated fat, it is best to pick dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa.


It has various antioxidants that function as anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. Garlic prevents colds and is effective against fever, as well as lowering blood pressure.


Nuts in general, and almonds in particular, contain vitamin E. In addition, it contains the fats necessary for it to be optimally absorbed to maintain a healthy immune system.


Its antioxidant properties come from anthocyanin, which is also what gives it its dark color. Blueberries are remarkable protectors of the respiratory tract.


It has different minerals and vitamins, the most remarkable being A, C and E, and also antioxidants and fiber. To provide their maximum strength, broccoli should be cooked as little as possible.


They contain basic elements to increase the defenses and sugar molecules that favor its immune function.

Citrus fruit

Lemons, oranges or tangerines, and grapefruits, rich in vitamin C, stimulate the production of white blood cells. It is advisable to eat them every day. Among other things, they help prevent colds.


Crustaceans have a large amount of zinc, which is necessary for the cells that regulate the immune system.


This is a yellow spice used in many varieties of curry. It is an anti-inflammatory and can help with muscle damage, especially from over-exercise.


Rich in vitamin A, its main benefits are to improve defenses and promote skin rejuvenation


Spinach has antioxidants, beta carotenes, and vitamin C, which help fight infection and repair DNA. The best way to cook them is to boil them very little, so as to take full advantage of these components.

Wheat germ

With zinc, vitamin E, and especially vitamin B6, wheat germ helps the immune system respond optimally to any threat.


Pomegranate extract stops the increase of bacteria such as E-coli, salmonella, and listeria. It also prevents the growth of dental plaque and gum disease, has antiviral properties, and increases intestinal flora.


Ginger can relieve sore throats and help with nausea or reduce chronic pain. It is also being studied as a force against high cholesterol.

Kefir and yogurt

Kefir (fermented from milk) develops bacteria that help fight other bacteria, reduce inflammation and increase antioxidant activity. Other yogurts contain vitamin D and provide protein, calcium and zinc.


With folate, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin C, kiwi helps white blood cells fight infection. It also contains many other nutrients important for the proper functioning of the body.


They provide selenium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, high-quality proteins, and zinc, which are necessary for an efficient defense system.


Very rich in vitamin C, it also contains enzymes (the papains) that serve as anti-inflammatories. Besides these, it has potassium, vitamin B, and folate. Papaya is very good for general health.

Red bell pepper

This is one of the vegetables with much vitamin C. It also provides beta carotenes which increase skin and eye health.

Chicken and turkey

Poultry provides vitamin B-6, which is vital for producing healthy red blood cells. Chicken soup helps with colds and the immunity of the intestines.


Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel are rich in Omega 3 acids which fight rheumatoid arthritis.


It helps boost the system’s immunity by providing potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B, and glutathione.

Green Tea

Its antioxidant function is very remarkable, and thanks to its EGCG and flavonoids it improves immune function. With the amino acid L-theanine, green tea drives the production of white blood cells. Ideally, you should drink unfermented green tea.

White beef

It provides a lot of zinc and iron, as they are absorbed by the body better than those found in foods of vegetable origin.


Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a natural pigment that helps the production of white cells responsible for fighting infections and diseases.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds contain phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. It is a great antioxidant and it also maintains the optimal immune system.


Eggs provide a large amount of zinc, which helps combat external agents and contributes to the development of a healthy organism.

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