7 Immune-Boosting Foods

Publish Date October 9, 2023

Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet is an excellent way to help your body stay healthy, especially during the fall and winter. We spoke with our registered dietitian, Jessica Colón, to get her suggestions on the best immune-supporting foods to add to your plate.

1. Garlic

Garlic is a small yet mighty food that provides both flavor and immune-boosting benefits. It has been used as a natural remedy for centuries due to its immune-supporting compounds such as allicin, which also gives garlic its strong aroma. According to Jessica, “Allicin has been shown to boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells, which may improve our body’s ability to fight infections.” Garlic is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. Although raw garlic offers the most health benefits, it’s still a nutritious addition when cooked.


2. Broccoli

Packed with vitamins and fiber, broccoli offers digestive, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and is naturally low in calories. Jessica recommends eating raw broccoli for the most nutritional benefits, but steaming it also helps retain more of its nutrients.

3. Red Bell Peppers

Did you know that red bell peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges? They also provide immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamin B, fiber and antioxidants. These bright peppers can be added to soups or served with hummus as a nutritious snack.

4. Spinach

Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, folate and beta-carotene. “Adding ½–1 cup of spinach a day can give you a good dose of nutrients and health-promoting compounds,” says Jessica. Tip: Blend a handful of fresh leaves into your favorite smoothie.


5. Yogurt

Yogurt provides an excellent source of calcium, protein and probiotics, which can improve overall gut health by increasing good bacteria. “Improving your gut microbiome may support immunity and strengthen your immune response,” says Jessica. Not all yogurts are created equal, so it’s important to read the label and look for phrases like “contains live and active cultures” for probiotic benefits. Added sugar is another watchout, so Jessica recommends choosing options with 5 grams or less of added sugar per serving.

6. Almonds

These little tree nuts are filled with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber to not only support your immune system, but overall body health. Eating almonds can help lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and blood pressure. They also contain calcium and phosphorus to support bone health. “A 1-ounce serving of almonds (28 grams), has 7.3 milligrams of vitamin E, which is 48% of the daily recommended vitamin E intake for adults,” says Jessica.

Oranges and grapefruit

7. Citrus Fruit

Juicy and flavorful citrus fruits are celebrated and enjoyed for their high vitamin C content, which provides excellent immune system support. “To access the antioxidant content and immune-strengthening potential of these fruits, pick up some oranges, grapefruits or lemons next time you’re at the store,” says Jessica. Not only do they contain a burst of vitamin C, but many citrus fruits are filled with other essential nutrients like dietary fiber and flavonoids. Research shows that these plant-based nutrients may protect cells against free-radical damage and reduce inflammation.

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Jessica Colón, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian

Jessica Colón, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian