Everyday Foods That Boost Your Immune System

There are ways to fend off these serious diseases and protect your immune system, and it’s by fortifying your diet with antioxidant-rich foods. These superfoods claim big bragging rights for lowering cholesterol, improving digestion, promoting weight loss, and maintaining healthy skin and hair. If you’re eating most of these foods already, good for you, but if you’re skimping on them, it’s time to load up your grocery cart.
Never underestimate the power of your diet: Loading up on nutrient-packed, immune-boosting foods can work wonders, especially during the colder months. Ready to power up? Here, everything you should know about how your immune system keeps you healthy—and the best foods to eat when you need a boost.


Probiotics, or the live active cultures found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs. Although probiotic supplements are available, a study from the University of Vienna in Austria found that a daily 7-ounce dose of yogurt was just as effective in boosting immunity as popping pills. Be sure to pick up containers free of excess added sugar. Plain varieties (which you can flavor with cinnamon and fresh fruit) are your best bets, but anything with less than 8 total grams of sugar is still a wholesome option.


Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition for women as a source of easily digestible protein, healthy fats and choline, a nutrient that’s been linked to lower rates of breast cancer. Start your day with omega-3, cage-free eggs when possible for the most nutritious, helpful option.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in anti-cancer compounds, essential for women of all ages. Their high amounts vitamin C, A and E also help to stop free radical damage, keeping skin looking youthful. From kale to broccoli to cauliflower, there’s endless possibilities for incorporating more cruciferous veggies in your daily diet.


Eating probiotics from yogurt and fermented foods can help, but sometimes when foods are pasteurized (which is a must to keep you from being vulnerable to pregnancy-threatening bacterial infections), their levels of probiotics decrease. That’s why one of the safest ways to improve your gut health during pregnancy is through eating more prebiotics like spinach. This super veggie is full of sulfoquinovose, a source of food for your gut bugs which studies have found to play a role in developing a protective barrier in the gut, preventing the growth and colonization of bad bacteria.

Dark Chocolate

One nine-year study in the journal Circulation Heart Failure found women who ate one to two servings of high-quality chocolate per week had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure than those who said no to the cocoa. Researchers attribute cocoa’s health benefits to its high concentrations of polyphenols and flavanols, anti-inflammatory compounds that help protect the heart. When you’re buying it, just make sure to pick up dark chocolate that contains 74 percent or more cocoa solids, as these are the flavanol-rich compounds.


Fatty fish like wild salmon, mackerel, and herring owe their super health-promoting powers to their high omega-3 content. These powerful anti-inflammatory fatty acids can help decrease your odds of dying from heart disease by more than 33 percent, help lower your risk of arthritis, and possibly make your baby smarter. To see which omega-3 fish you should be reeling in, check out our exclusive report of fish ranked for nutritional benefits.


Zinc deficiency is one of the most common nutritional shortfalls among American adults, especially for vegetarians and those who’ve cut back on beef, a prime source of this immunity-bolstering mineral. And that’s unfortunate because even mild zinc deficiency can increase your risk of infection. Zinc in your diet is essential for the development of white blood cells, the intrepid immune system cells that recognize and destroy invading bacteria, viruses, and assorted other bad guys, says William Boisvert, PhD, an expert in nutrition and immunity at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA.

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