Assorted fruits and vegetables on a green background.

Foods to Support a Healthy Immune System

The human body is quite remarkable, with the immune system being one of the MVPs. It helps to ward off sickness, fights against unwanted bacteria, and is essentially the watchdog of your overall health.

The immune system does a great job on its own but there are certainly ways you can give it an extra boost. Even with social distancing and mask-wearing in a COVID-19 world, we can all use a little extra help to maintain our healthy bodies.

While you can reach for vitamins, paying attention to the foods you eat can go a long way in supporting your immune system. Try incorporating these nutritious foods into your diet to help support immune function.

Immune System Supporting Foods

  1. Broccoli

There’s a reason your parents always told you to eat broccoli. It’s not only highly nutritious with plenty of vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron, but it also has a chemical in it called sulforaphane, which may help to boost antioxidants and enzymes in specific immune cells.

  1. Blueberries

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that may help to reduce cell damage and support a healthy immune system. They also have plenty of vitamin C, vitamin A, and magnesium, which are all power players to support a healthy functioning immune system! Don’t be shy with the other berries. Strawberries and blackberries also have immune support benefits too.

  1. Red bell pepper

When you think of vitamin C, usually oranges are the first fruit to pop into mind. But, did you know that red bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges? Vitamin C may help support cellular function in a healthy immune system and the rest of the body, so be sure to incorporate some powerful, red bell peppers into your diet!

  1. Kale

Kale has recently been in the spotlight for being a leafy-green superfood, and for good reasons. It’s packed with vitamin A, antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium. To get the most nutrients out of kale, cook it in a pan with some olive oil. Since kale is a fiber-dense leafy green, the heat and the oil break down the fiber so your body can digest its nutrients easier.

  1. Tomatoes

Do not underestimate the power of tomatoes! This vegetable (or fruit, depending on which side of the debate you fall in) is rich in lycopene, which is an antioxidant that may help fight against free radical damage and may support a healthy immune system.

  1. Nuts

Eating a handful of nuts every day can do wonders for your overall health. Nuts are a great source of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, like zinc. When you need a quick snack, reach for almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or brazil nuts.

  1. Mangos

One cup of mango gives you an entire daily dose of vitamin C, so don’t be shy with this delicious and tropical fruit.

Always aim to eat the rainbow

Your overall health relies heavily on the nutrients you feed your body. While it may be easy to reach for junk food, understanding food as fuel for your body can help you make healthier choices.

Always aim to eat the rainbow, which means having an array of colorful foods on your plate. Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and oily fish to get a well-rounded mix of nutrients. Avoid processed foods and sugar when possible, and drink plenty of water!

Before making any changes to your diet, please check with your healthcare provider first to determine what type of nutritional plan is right for you.