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Healthy Nutrition

for Immune Strength


Providing our body with nutritious foods puts us in a much better position to prevent and fight off illness and disease. It is widely agreed that the following foods represent solid guidelines as to what to eat for helping strengthen our immune system and for supporting overall optimal health. Try incorporating one or two new foods into your daily meals!

Image by Dan Gold
Yogurt with Fruit
Blueberries on the vine
Image by Maksim Shutov
Tea Set

Nutritious Foods

Vitamin A is found in foods rich in beta carotenes, which functions in the immune system to help antibodies respond to toxins and foreign substances. Foods rich in Vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, apricots, spinach, kale, broccoli, squash, and cantaloupe.


Vitamin B6 is an important factor in supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. Vitamin B6-rich foods include chicken, salmon, tuna, green vegetables, and chickpeas/hummus.

Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, and may reduce the duration of symptoms of the common cold. One study found that Vitamin C "increases blood levels of antibodies and helps to differentiate lymphocytes (white blood cells) which helps the body determine what kind of protection is needed." Foods rich in Vitamin C: oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cooked cabbage, and cauliflower.  

Vitamin D is believed to "regulate the production of a protein that selectively kills infectious agents, including bacteria and viruses. It also alters the activity and number of white blood cells, known as T 2 killer lymphocytes, which can reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses." Foods that are high in Vitamin D:  fatty fish, including canned salmon, eggs, fortified milk and plant milk products, cheese, fortified juice, tofu, and mushrooms


Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infections by fighting off free radicals, which damage cells. Foods high in Vitamin E include almonds and other nuts, seeds, spinach and other leafy greens, and avocados.

Zinc is important to the immune system's ability to activate T lymphocytes (T cells), which regulate immune response and help attack infected cells. Foods rich in zinc are shrimp, oysters, crab, lobster, red meat, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fortified cereals, wheat germ, and yogurt.

Probiotics/Prebiotics: A healthy gut supports a strong immune system. Probiotics are good bacteria in your digestive tract that help protect us from harmful bacteria and viruses, and also help regulate inflammation. Prebiotics are useful because they serve as food for this good bacteria. Foods that help increase your probiotics include fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, kombucha, onion, pickles, plain yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), garlic, and ginger. Preobiotic food sources include whole grains, bananas, onions, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, beans, and garlic.

Green tea is also beneficial by providing disease-fighting antioxidants that play an important role in immune health!

Try And Eat Less...

Image by Jamie Albright

...processed foods and foods that contain added sugar, which have been found to temporarily weaken the immune system for up to several hours afterward. Some suggest that these foods may diminish your white blood cells' ability to fight as effectively against bacteria and viruses. Don't go too crazy. Still enjoy that ice cream or cookie once in a while! Just try and limit your intake of sugary  beverages, cookies, and candy. Reducing sugary foods also allows for an increased intake of more nutrient-rich foods.

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