You take care of yourself by eating well and staying active. Keeping your immune system strong is an important part of your game plan.
That’s why it is the job of health experts to research and teach you how to boost your immune system—what works and what doesn’t.
You know viruses and bacteria can make you sick. And since you don’t live in a bubble, there’s no way you can avoid contact with people. How in the world are you supposed to stay healthy—and NOT catch something?
Get ready for some good news. We researched the best immunity-boosting foods, vitamins and supplements for you that’s backed by up-to-date research—no quackery here.
Top Immunity-Boosting Foods
Whole, unprocessed foods contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that make them the best of all natural ways to boost your immune system.
What makes a whole food whole? It’s all about the ingredients. The ingredient of a whole food is itself. The ingredient for an apple is an apple. An apple is a whole food.
What makes a food processed? If the food goes through a process, it’s processed. Processed meat is cut, cooked, and packaged. Packaged food is created in a factory and has lots of ingredients.
Focus more on eating more of eating whole foods to turbo-charge your immune system. Plus, these foods are super cheap to buy so it IS possible to eat healthy without having to cough up a kidney to pay for them!
Also See: 7 Habits of People Who Never Get Sick
Garlic has potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-parasitic properties. The immune-boosting properties of garlic are thought to come from a sulfur compound called allicin which is only released briefly when garlic is crushed, chewed, or chopped—giving it that wonderful smell.
Ginger is another powerhouse for the immune system due to its key ingredient, gingerol, that’s been found to be effective against the common cold, flu and nausea. Because it’s such a versatile food, it’s easy to cook with or simply grate up and add to hot water to make a soothing tea.
The bright golden yellow color of curry powder is due to its key ingredient, turmeric. Like ginger, turmeric is a versatile spice that tastes amazing in food or tea and gives a huge boost to your immune system, and may even help if your immune system is compromised.
Broccoli is another super food that’s nutrient, vitamin, and antioxidant-rich. Broccoli is easy to cook in stir fries, soups and is delicious roasted or eaten fresh while it strengthens your immune system against many illnesses—including cancer potentially.
Blueberries are nature’s candy—and they contain a flavonoid chemical called anthocyanin which helps bolster your immune system. And get this! A study has shown that foods high in flavonoids are particularly important in strengthening the immune function of the tubes and passages leading to your lungs.
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So what exactly are vitamins? Good question! These are vital substances your body needs to work, grow, and heal properly. Vitamins to boost your immune system include:
1. Vitamin C
No surprise here! Vitamin C is still thought to be the most potent immune-boosting vitamin in the alphabet. The kicker though is your body doesn’t make or store vitamin C so you have to get it daily from your food or a supplement like Emergen-C from Amazon.
2. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is needed to help the immune system (and brain!) perform its many functions. People with kidney disease and other health conditions may need Vitamin B6 because they might not be able to pull the vitamin B6 from their food, so they might need to supplement.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is responsible for almost 200 chemical reactions in your body—including helping your immune system function well. Although vitamin E deficiency is uncommon, people with digestive system problems or cystic fibrosis may be lacking in this immunity building block and need to supplement.
4. Vitamin D
This is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because your body makes vitamin D through your skin in the presence of sunlight. This vitamin is crucial for boosting your immune system and helping with many other health issues. More importantly, experts say vitamin D is one of the vitamins you need to supplement because you can’t get enough in your diet.
5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another important vitamin for protecting your immune system, however, research shows it has a ton of other benefits for your body as well. It’s usually found in foods such as carrots and green leafy veggies although it’s often included in a good multivitamin because it can be a problem at too high a dose.
What’s the difference between a vitamin and supplement? The word “supplement” refers to a wide variety of substances including “vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes”.
1. Oil of oregano
Research has shown that oil of oregano can inhibit viruses, particularly respiratory viruses. This is great news, however, people with certain allergies, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those on blood thinners or with blood disorders should NOT use oil of oregano.
Zinc is a mineral that plays a key role in strengthening your immune system. Although many people receive adequate zinc in their diet, women who are breastfeeding, those following a strict vegetarian diet, the elderly, and those with other health conditions may be lacking and need to supplement.
The root of this herb is one of the best herbs to boost your immune system. Astragalus is showing so much promise, early research has found it might help protect the immune system of chemotherapy patients when given IV (intravenously).
Tips to Save Money When Buying Immunity-Boosting Products
1. Ibotta Saves on Groceries ($20 Welcome Bonus)
Before you go to the grocery store (or shop online) to buy immunity-boosting foods, download the Ibotta app to keep more money in your pocket. Ibotta is a legit app that earns cash back nearly every time you grocery shop.
Download Ibotta, save money on groceries, and grab your $20 Ibotta welcome bonus while you’re at it.
Learn to maximize your Ibotta savings with the help of our Ibotta explainer video.
2. Vitamin Shoppe Promises Quality (10% Off Coupon)
Want to benefit from immunity-boosting vitamins and supplements, but would rather skip a trip to the store? Order online through Vitamin Shoppe. Vitamin shoppe requires their products to pass rigorous purity testing before hitting the shelves.
Have confidence in the Vitamins you buy. Order vitamins online through Vitamin Shoppe. Don’t forget to grab 10% off your Vitamin Shoppe order after signing up for their email list.
3. Vitacost (20% Off Coupon)
Vitacost offers a variety of natural and organic vitamins and supplements, plus healthy foods. Get 20% off coupon for your first Vitacost order when you sign up for Vitacost’s email list below.
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Leona Werezak is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about personal finance and health & wellness. When she isn’t writing or wearing her nursing hat, she’s coming up with new business ideas. She also freelances with Wooster Media Group LLC.