Immunity is your body’s ability to defend you against infections and diseases. A strong immune system helps you stay healthy by fighting off viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders.
However, during winter, AKA the flu & cold season, your immunity can be faced with more than it can handle, which could ultimately weaken it. This makes you more susceptible to illness. How to combat that? You should prepare ahead for the cold and flu season by boosting your immunity and arming your immune system with the tools it needs to fight off any infection that may come its way. The best way to do so is by regularly consuming healthy and natural foods and beverages with immunity-boosting properties to keep your body strong and healthy throughout the dreaded flu season.
The following list contains 25 of the best foods and beverages that can help boost immunity and keep you sound and healthy throughout the flu season. So read on and stay healthy!
1. Citrus Fruits & Its Juices
Citrus fruits are often associated with the cold season, but did you know that they can actually do more than just help you fight off a cold? Citrus fruits are packed with Vitamin C, the magic nutrient essential for boosting your immune system. In fact, research has shown that people who consume adequate amounts of Vitamin C are less likely to get sick during the cold season.
Citrus fruits are not only healthy, but they’re also delicious! Whether you enjoy them as a snack or use them to make homemade juice, they’re a great way to get your daily dosage of Vitamin C.
So next time you’re feeling under the weather, reach for a citrus fruit instead of an over-the-counter medication—your body will thank you for it!
Great citrus fruit options include:
Ginger is known to be a healthy and immunity-boosting root. It is commonly used in cooking, baking, and medicinal purposes. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, or powdered. Not only is it packed with antioxidants, but this mighty plant also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling. Ginger is commonly used to treat nausea, colds, and flu. It also relieves pain from migraines, arthritis, and menstrual cramps.
When used fresh, ginger can be grated, sliced, or minced. It can also be juiced and then taken as shots —which, in our opinion, is a great way to boost your immunity—. Dried ginger is typically used in powder form and can be added to food or made into tea. You can find fresh ginger root all year round in the produce department of most grocery stores. Dried ginger can be found in the spice aisle. The powder form of ginger can be found pre-packaged or in the bulk section of many health food stores.
Spinach is a powerful leafy, green vegetable packed with various nutrients. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like iron and calcium. Spinach is also a good source of fibre. These nutrients make spinach a powerhouse food when it comes to boosting immunity.
In particular, the vitamin C in spinach is essential for fighting off infection. At the same time, iron helps the blood carry oxygen to the cells.
Spinach is also healthy for other reasons—for example, the antioxidants in this leaf help protect against cancer and heart disease. To top it all off, the fibre in spinach can help promote good gut health. As a result, eating spinach is a great way to keep your body healthy during cold and flu season.
As the weather changes and the days get shorter, most people begin to worry about getting sick. Cold and flu season is looming, and no one wants to spend their winter cooped up indoors. A straightforward way to help boost your immunity and stay healthy all season long is to add turmeric to your diet.
This vibrant yellow spice has been used in traditional medicine in India for centuries and is now gaining popularity as a natural remedy for many ailments. Furthermore, turmeric is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which makes it a powerful tool for boosting immunity.
Moreover, turmeric has been shown to help fight off infections and speed up recovery time if you do happen to get sick. So, next time you’re stocking up on supplies for cold and flu season, remember to add some turmeric to your shopping list. It may be the key you’ve been searching for to staying sound and healthy all winter long.
5. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are not only delicious, but they’re also rich in nutrients that can help boost your immunity. Rich in vitamins A and C, red bell peppers are an excellent option for your daily dose of antioxidants. They’re also a good source of beta-carotene, which helps the body produce vitamin A, an essential vitamin for a healthy immune system. It’s safe to say that eating red bell peppers can help you stay healthy during the cold and flu season, so make sure you have them at hand all the time.
On top of the immunity-boosting benefits, red bell peppers are also low in calories and fat, making them the perfect choice for people watching their weight. So next time you’re looking for a tasty and nutritious snack, reach for a red bell pepper!
Broccoli is a key ingredient in many immunity-boosting recipes because its nutrients can keep you healthy during the cold season. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it is part of the Brassica family, along with kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. Broccoli is also high in fibre, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals that help boost your immune system.
Broccoli can be steamed, stir-fried, or roasted, making it a versatile and easy addition to any meal. When buying broccoli, look for firm heads with bright green florets. Avoid heads that are yellowing or have brown spots. You can store broccoli in your refrigerator for up to five days; just wash it before you use it to preserve its nutrient content. Add broccoli to soups, stews, and pasta dishes, or serve it as a side dish with some spices. Broccoli can also be eaten raw as a healthy snack, or you can whip it in a salad with a dressing of your choice. So, you have no excuse to not include broccoli in your daily diet for a sickness-free winter.
7. Green Tea
As the weather gets colder, people start to stock up on orange juice and chicken soup in an effort to ward off sickness. Something else you can try to help your body fight off colds and flu this season is green tea.
Green tea has antioxidants and nutrients that can boost your immune system, making it an ideal beverage for the cold months. What’s more, green tea has been shown to have numerous other health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving brain function, and protecting against heart disease.
We recommend reaching for a cup of hot green tea before the cold medicine when you feel you’re about to catch a cold; you might find that it is just what your body needs.
Tomatoes are not only healthy and immunity-boosting, but they are also perfect for the cold season. Evidence shows that Lycopene, found in tomatoes, reduces the risk of some cancers, heart disease, and macular degeneration. They are also a great source of fibre, potassium, folate, and vitamins A and C.
Tomatoes are also packed with antioxidants that can help purify your body and boost your overall immune system. So, not only are they delicious, but they also do wonders for your body!
Garlic is a healthy and immunity-boosting food that has been used for centuries. Allicin, garlic’s main active ingredient, is known for its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Studies show that garlic can help to prevent and reduce the severity of common colds. It also effectively treats other respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
In addition to boosting the immune system, garlic is also a healthy food with high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients. It has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and protect against some types of cancer. Garlic is easy to add to many recipes and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or as a supplement. Adding garlic to your diet is a simple and effective way to improve your overall health and protect yourself during flu season.
Cold season is upon us, meaning it’s time to strengthen and boost our immunity if we want to spend a healthy winter! One delicious and healthy way to do that is to incorporate yoghurt into our daily routine.
Yoghurt contains beneficial bacteria, which can help fight off infection. It’s also a good source of calcium and protein, both of which are essential for maintaining strong bones and muscles. If you want a light, healthy snack, reach for some yoghurt!
Kiwis are an excellent source of vitamins C and E, potassium, and fibre. They have been shown to boost immunity, improve heart health, and protect against colds and other respiratory infections.
Kiwis can be a particularly valuable addition to the cold season to your diet. They can be the perfect addition to your yoghurt for a healthy way to fight off the winter blues.
Guava is a tropical fruit rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It is one of our top choices for boosting immunity. This delicious fruit is also high in fibre and very low in calories, so it is the perfect healthy option for those on a weight loss journey.
Guavas are available year-round but are especially abundant during the cold season. When selecting guava, look for a fruit lighter in colour and slightly soft to the touch. Avoid bruised fruits or soft spots, as these may be overripe. Guavas can be eaten fresh, made into juice, or used in jams and jellies. For immunity boosting, try consuming guava regularly throughout the cold season to improve your Vitamin C intake.
Almonds are a type of tree nut that originated in Asia and the Mediterranean. They are now grown worldwide and are a key ingredient in many dishes. Almonds are not only delicious, but they also have some nutrients that can boost your health and immune system. For example, they are a good source of vitamin E, an important antioxidant. Vitamin E helps to protect your cells from damage and also helps reduce your risk of some chronic diseases.
Almonds are also a fantastic source of magnesium. This mineral plays a vital role in over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. Magnesium is essential for maintaining healthy and sturdy bones and muscles and a healthy immune system. Research suggests magnesium may also help reduce stress levels and promote better sleep.
Given all these benefits, it’s no wonder that almonds are often touted as a superfood. This winter should be the perfect time to start incorporating more almonds into your diet, whether as a snack or on top of your favourite salad and yoghurt bowl.
Blueberries are not only a delicious addition to your morning smoothies, but they are also packed with nutrients that can do wonders for your immune system. These little berries are loaded with antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage.
Not only that! Blueberries contain vitamins C and E necessary for a healthy immune system. If you’re looking for a way to fight off colds and flu this season, make sure to include blueberries in your diet. You can enjoy them fresh, frozen, or dried; they are a great addition to breakfast cereals, yoghurt, or smoothies.
Whichever form you choose, blueberries are a delicious and easy way to keep your immune system strong and sturdy all winter long.
15. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are way more than just a snack food. They are packed with nutrients that can boost your immunity and keep you healthy during the cold season. One of these nutrients is Vitamin E which helps protect your cells from damage and maintain a well-functioning immune system. They also contain selenium which helps your immune system fight off viral infections.
These nutty seeds are a great source of magnesium that help keep your bones strong and prevent colds.
Enjoy a handful of sunflower seeds during the cold season and benefit from all its nutrients by just snacking!
16. Ginseng Tea
Ginseng tea is made from the root or extract of the East Asian ginseng plant. For centuries, ginseng root has been a vital resource in traditional Asian medicine, especially in China, to treat various illnesses. Today, ginseng tea is gaining popularity as a healthy beverage with many health benefits.
Several research studies have confirmed that ginseng tea is an ideal remedy for boosting immunity, making it a valuable drink to have on hand during this cold season.
The tea is antioxidant-rich and has been linked to lower blood sugar levels. Moreover, ginseng tea is thought to improve brain function and help reduce stress levels. While more research is needed to confirm these few health benefits, there is no doubt that ginseng tea is a healthy option for those looking to improve their wellness.
The lush papaya is a tropical fruit native to both Mexico and Central America. Papayas are usually yellow, orange, or red in colour and have black seeds in the centre. The flesh of the papaya is soft and sweet, making it a popular choice for juices and smoothies.
This tropical delight is also a good source of fibre and vitamins A and C. Although most people only think of papaya as a delicious treat, it also has several health benefits. Papaya is an excellent natural immunity booster, high in antioxidants and minerals; it’s our go-to choice for any type of diet!
18. Wild Salmon
Salmon is a fantastic source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. So, yes, it is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to improve their health and boost their immunity. Salmon is also a rich source of selenium which plays a vital role in maintaining immunity.
In fact, studies have shown that regularly consuming salmon can help reduce severe and lingering common colds and other respiratory infections. With its wide range of health benefits, it’s no wonder wild salmon is a popular choice among health-conscious individuals.
Shellfish are a great source of healthy nutrients that can help boost your immunity as well as satisfy your hunger, making them the perfect delicacy to enjoy during the cold season. Oysters, clams, and mussels are all high in zinc, which helps the body fight off infection. They are also a good source of selenium which we have explored its benefits.
Additionally, shellfish are a great and rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that help ease respiratory illnesses’ symptoms. With various types of shellfish, you now have a luxurious, healthy way to enjoy the colder months.
Poultry is one of the oldest domesticated animals, with a history that stretches back thousands of years. Today, poultry is widely considered a healthy and delicious source of protein.
But protein isn’t all there is to your roasted chicken! Poultry is known for its immune-boosting properties, making it an ideal food to eat during the cold season. There are many ways to prepare and cook poultry. From braised duck to a hearty Sunday roast, the options are infinite! We recommend you dedicate a part of your grocery budget to your monthly poultry stock.
21. Dark Chocolate
Many people enjoy indulging in a delicious chocolate treat, but did you know that dark chocolate can actually be good for you? That’s right; this rich and decadent treat has some surprising health benefits.
For starters, dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, which are great for purifying the body and enhancing its immunity. So eating some dark chocolate on a daily basis can help you stay healthy and content during the cold season.
Additionally, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which promote heart health. So, next time you’re looking for a sweet snack, reach for a bar of dark chocolate!
We all know the famous saying from childhood: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, it is true, and not only to make little kids eat their apples. They are an excellent source of nutrients. Such nutrients can help boost your immunity and keep your body healthy and able enough to survive the cold & flu season with as little damage as possible.
Apples are a fantastic source of vitamin C, which is what we exactly need to maintain a healthy immune system. They are also rich in antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage. On top of this comes pectin, a dietary fibre that helps promote gut health. All these nutrients work together to maintain your health during the cold months.
23. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest oils out there. It is high in healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. These properties make it great for immunity boosting, heart health, and cognitive function. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil can help lower bad cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control.
Because of these health benefits, many experts and nutritionists recommend including extra virgin olive oil in a healthy diet during winter when our immune systems are more vulnerable. Doing so can keep us healthy and strong enough to fight off any infection that the cold season may throw our way.
There are many ways to include extra virgin olive oil in our diets. We can use it in cooking, as a salad dressing, or even add just a spoonful to our morning smoothies. Whichever way we choose, incorporating extra virgin olive oil into our diets is a great way to boost our overall health and well-being.
Did you know that eggs are one of the most immunity-boosting foods around? That’s right. Not only are they generally considered healthy, but eggs can help our bodies fight off sickness and infections. How do they do this? Well, eggs are packed with nutrients like protein and vitamin D, which are essential to keep your immune system strong.
In addition, the fatty acids in eggs can help to reduce inflammation in the body, making you less likely to get sick in the first place. So next time you feel under the weather, reach for an egg; it might be the best medicine.
25. Whole Grain Bread
Whole-grain bread is packed with nutrients that can help boost your immunity, making it an essential part of a healthy diet during the cold season. Whole grains are a good source of fibre, which helps to keep your digestive system functioning properly. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals, including selenium, which is essential for a robust immune system.
That’s not all; whole grains also contain phytochemicals that can help protect cells from damage. All these nutrients work together to make whole-grain bread an excellent choice for people looking to boost their immunity during the cold season. So eat whole grain bread and stay healthy in the face of those nasty flu infections.
Our list is versatile. From citrus to tropical fruit and sunflower seeds to wild salmon and shellfish, some of these natural remedies might already be among your favourites, while others might be way outside your palate. However, for optimal results of strong and healthy immunity, consider incorporating all of them into your diet one way or another. Your body will thank you for it.
If you feel inspired to lead an all-around healthy lifestyle, check out our post on healthy drink ideas.