Can We Improve Our Immune System with Food?

By Roni DeLuz ND, RN, PH. D

How does food help our immune system?

As coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted communities around the world, many people have wondered whether there are steps that we can take to stay healthy with food. Everyday preventive measures—such as handwashing, avoiding contact with sick individuals, and good hygiene—can go so far in reducing your risk for viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. There’s proof that nutrition and other lifestyle measures influence immune strength and susceptibility to infectious diseases.

With diet, you can influence your immune functioning and skin

The immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies to combat bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. A healthy balance of power nutrients can alter your cellular environment to produce healthier immune protective cells. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from power foods provide essential nutrients to the entire body including the skin which enhances skin hydration and anti-aging.

Studies have shown that essential fatty acids such as almond oil, salmon oil or fish oils help strengthen immune defense and may help white blood cell function.

From oranges, mangoes to sweet potatoes, fruits, and veggies pack a punch when it involves immunity-building nutrients.

• Vitamin C (cantaloupes, oranges, broccoli, and brussels sprouts)
• Vitamin E (vegetable oils, nuts, spinach, and broccoli)
• Vitamin D (salmon, mushrooms, tofu, cheese, and eggs)
• Zinc (beef, nuts, whole grains)
• Beta-Carotene (sweet potatoes, carrots, green leafy vegetables)

Eat and drink nutrients at the first sign of illness

People who are deficient in one or more of the above nutrients tend to get infections and viruses more often than those who are not deficient. One of the simplest ways to remain healthy is by purging toxins from the system. While eating the proper foods helps, one also can optimize the liver functioning and aid the digestive system by drinking healthy detox juices. Try chugging down these juices at the early sign of illness, fatigue, fever, cough, runny nose, etc.

• Kale juice: Nutrient-dense kale provides the simplest ways to fortify the system
• Pomegranate juice: Prevents embolism, boosts heart health and bone development
• Beetroot juice: Powerful antioxidants that lower risk of heart condition and inflammation

What are immune supporting supplements?

• Vitamin D – your key immune defender!
• Vitamin C – immune support and antioxidant
• Vitamin A – immune support
• Zinc – a key mineral for immune function
• Selenium – a serious antioxidant (Brazil nuts will offer you what you need)
• Magnesium – vital for adrenal health, relaxation, and energy production

Top 10 foods to build your immunity

1. Broccoli
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. It is also full of roughage and antioxidants. Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you will place on your plate.

2. Blueberries
Blueberries contain a kind of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties, which will help boost a person’s system. A 2016 study noted that flavonoids play an essential role within the respiratory tract’s immune defense system.

3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, a kind of an antioxidant that provides the skin of the potatoes its orange color. Beta carotene may be a source of vitamin A. It helps to form skin healthy and should even provide some protection against skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

4. Shellfish
Shellfish is not what jumps to mind for many people, but some sorts of shellfish are full of zinc. Zinc does not get the maximum amount of attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.

Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:
• oysters
• crab
• lobster
• mussels

5. Mushrooms
Mushrooms are great for enhancing your immunity, consistent with a study by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Research suggests that participants who ate shiitake mushrooms a day for four weeks had a significant increase in numbers and strength of immunity-boosting T-cells.

6. Purple Cabbage
It is among the most uncomplicated healthy foods; it is not expensive and readily available with a high level of antioxidant. Purple cabbage is additionally a vegetable in the brassica family, helping with cancer fighting properties, relief from depression, and more.

7. Kale
You may have seen purple kale, with its green leaves and purple stems. This veggie is grown for eating but also for ornamental purposes – many people find it stunningly beautiful. Young, tender purple kale is utilized in many salads. And therefore, the more mature leaves are best when cooked – steaming works well.

8. Arugula
Arugula leaves, also referred to as rocket or roquette, are tender and bite-sized with a tangy flavor. Along with side other leafy greens, arugula contains high levels of beneficial nitrates and polyphenols.

9. Collard
Collard refers to specific loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica oleracea, an equivalent species as many common vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli. Collard is a strong high antioxidant green vegetable with cancer preventing properties.

10. Beets
Beetroots, commonly referred to as beets, are a well-liked vegetable utilized in many cuisines around the world. Beets are full of essential vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, several of which have medicinal properties. Beets increase your Iron levels.

Your system is formed from cells and proteins that defend against infection and viruses. To develop these essential components, your body needs energy, which comes from the food and drinks you give it. The key is to supply your body with the proper amount of fuel. The fuel comes from high density, readily absorb-able food full of enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. An added benefit is these foods burn calories at a higher rate than process and high simple carbohydrate foods. For more information visit

7 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. Hi Guys,
    Am a vegetarian, and it’s really difficult to get most of all this stuff in Nigeria, and when you do, it’s very expensive cause of the scarcity and rareness of them…so mostly I just get carrots more…
    And I think my immune system is not that strong cause I could easily fall sick,
    I need help with substitute meals also one I could find in Nigeria…
    Thanks a lot

  2. […] since it’s the new year, there’s a course on superfood nutrition that focuses on the world’s most nutritious foods, allowing you to boost your diet for faster weight loss, muscle building, and […]

  3. How can I connect with Dr. Roni DeLuz ND, RN, PH. D

  4. The information on healthy eating and what the key fruits and vegetables are that target a healthy immune system is truly valuable for ALL Walks of Life! I hope there’s a section on the necessity and overall benefit of physical exercise. Thank You! Peace.

  5. Where can we find your supplement.

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