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Foods that boost your immune system

Acai berry  


Like blueberries, it is sometimes promoted as a "super food". Its dark colour signals that it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. Acai berries can be found most often in juice, smoothie, dried and mixed with muesli.




A 60 gram serving which carries nearly 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E can help to build up your immune system. And they also have riboflavin and niacin (B vitamins) which studies suggest are good for the nervous system.




Broccoli is good for your immune system. One study reports that a chemical in broccoli helped stimulate the immune systems of mice. It is also full of nutrients that help maintain a healthy body like vitamin A, vitamin C and glutathione.




Mushrooms are full of the mineral selenium which the deficiency of have been linked to an increased risk of developing more severe flu. The B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, found in these mushrooms, may play a role in a healthy immune system. Animal studies have also shown mushrooms to have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-tumour effects.




Cabbage helps maintain the body’s immune system. Cabbage ranks right up there with broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts with a reputation for fighting cancer. It's also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other nutrients.




Garlic offers several antioxidants that can be used to battle against immune system invaders. You can increase the health benefits you receive from garlic by letting it sit after you've chopped it or crushed it. If you give your chopped/crushed garlic time to sit before changing its temperature through cooking, it will give the enzymes in garlic an opportunity to work on behalf of your health.




Grapefruit has flavonoids - natural chemical compounds which may reduce damage to cell DNA and cell membranes. A grapefruit contains a good amount of vitamin C needed for a healthy immune system. Grapefruit can interfere with some medicines, therefore seek medical advice.


Low fat yoghurt


A daily pot may reduce your chances of getting a cold. Look for labels listing "live and active cultures." Some researchers believe they may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Also look for vitamin D.




Oysters are rich in zinc. Zinc plays an important role in wound healing and in maintaining a healthy immune system. It also may help to prevent night blindness. Zinc deficiencies are common in alcoholics and people with kidney disease. They're also a good source of other minerals including calcium, magnesium, and iron. Oysters are a good source of vitamins including vitamins A, B, C, and D.


Sweet potato


The deep orange-yellow color of sweet potatoes tells you that they're high in the antioxidant beta carotene. Food sources of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in your body, may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of some cancers. In addition to being an excellent source of vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin B-6 and potassium. And like all vegetables, they're fat-free and relatively low in calories.




Experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient in tea that promote health. These polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent cell damage. Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers, UK nutritionists found.




Spinach is high in folate, which helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA.

Spinach is a good source of vitamins A, C and of magnesium. Spinach may boost your immune system and may help keep your hair and skin healthy. The carotenoids found in spinach — beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin — are also protective against age-related vision diseases, such as macular degeneration and night blindness, as well as heart disease and certain cancers.




Sweet, juicy watermelon is actually packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. They are known to help strengthen the immune system so it can fight infection.  Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene. Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals.



Wheat germ   


wheat germ is found at the center of a grain of wheat, and is the part of the seed that's responsible for the development and growth of the new plant sprout. The wheat-germ is only a small part of the wheat seed, but it contains many nutrients. It's an excellent source of thiamin and a good source of folate, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. The germ also contains protein, fiber and some fat. Substitute wheat germ for part of the normal flour in cakes, biscuits and other recipes.


Researched and Written by Elizabeth SamCoffie



1. Mayo Clinic, ‘10 great health foods for eating well’

Acceessed: 23/06/2012


2. WebMD, ‘Food and your immune system’

Accessed: 22/06/2012

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