9 Best immunity booster foods you should start eating right now

Your immune system is your body’s “defence team”. This well- organised squad is constantly at work defending your body against bacteria, viruses, parasites and other invaders.

Even when you are sleeping your immune system is wide awake and ever vigilant.

Just as every organ, tissues and cells need the energy to support their functions, the cells and tissues that make up your immune system do too and this comes from the food you eat and the supplements you take so it’s not surprising that what you eat impacts how well your immune system does its job.

Eating certain foods can help keep your immune system strong if you’re looking for ways to prevent illnesses like flu and other viral and bacterial infections. Focus on what you eat.  

Plan your meals to include these 9 immunity booster foods to boost immunity and fight infections.

9 Immunity booster foods

1. Papaya

Immunity booster foods- papaya

Papaya is a food that is loaded with vitamin C. [1]

You can find 157% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C in a single papaya.

Papaya originated in Central America and Southern Mexico but this fruit is now grown in many other parts of the world.

Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, [2] which can break down tough protein chains found in muscle meat and help in improving digestion.

Papaya has a decent amount of potassium, vitamin B and folate all of which are beneficial to the immune system. It also contains a decent amount of other antioxidants and vitamin A.

All these things make papaya a great fruit for boosting your immune system. 

2. Garlic 

Immunity booster foods- garlic

Garlic is one of the most widely used spices for adding that extra flavour to the food. It is known by one other name and that is immunity-boosting superstar.

It helps to treat the common cold, flu and a variety of other illnesses. [3]

Despite its strong odour, this plant actually belongs to the lily family.

As per WebMD, one Clove of garlic contains 5 milligrams of calcium, 12 milligrams of potassium and more than 100 Sulphuric compounds, powerful enough to wipe out bacterias and infections.

Raw garlic, not cooked or dried, is the most beneficial for health since heat and water inactivates sulphur enzymes, diminishing garlic’s antibiotic effects. 

Garlic also seems to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and also kills parasites in our body. [4]

3. Green tea

Immunity booster foods- green tea

Both green and black tea are packed in flavonoids which is a type of antioxidant.

Where green tea really stands out is its levels of epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. 

EGCG has been shown to effectively increase immune function. [5]

Black tea goes through a fermentation process which destroys a lot of EGCG present in it.

Whereas green tea is steamed and not fermented. So the EGCG is preserved.

It has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.

Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-Theanine, which may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.

[Also Read – Tea vs Coffee: Which is better]

4. Apple

Immunity booster foods- apples

There are many different reasons why apples are great for building strong immunity and good health.

First and foremost apples contain good quantities of all the essential vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B2 and vitamin C.

All these vitamins are essential for the proper function of the immune system.

Apples also contain pectin which is a type of fibre that acts as a prebiotic, which means that it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. [6]

Our gut bacteria directly regulates the function of our immune system by releasing compounds in the gut that act on our immune cells and modulate their function.

“Soluble fibre changes the personality of immune cells, they go from being pro-inflammatory angry cells to anti-inflammatory healing cells that help us recover faster from infection.

Gregory Freud

5. Broccoli

Immunity booster foods- broccoli

Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals.

It is packed with

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Broccoli also contains many other antioxidants and fibre and it is one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your diet.

The rich amounts of vitamin C found in broccoli helps to boost your immune levels.

100 grams of broccoli can contain up to 89 milligrams of Vitamin C which is more than a lot of citrus fruits.

Broccoli is also rich in beta-carotene and a host of other antioxidants which makes it a perfect vegetable for your overall immunity. [7]

The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible or better yet not at all.

Out of all the cooking methods, steaming is best if you want to preserve the nutrients present in broccoli.

6. Ginger

Immunity booster foods- ginger

Ginger is another ingredient that many people have trusted for ages for treating various types of illnesses.

Ginger may help decrease inflammation which can help reduce sore throat, joint pain, flu, common cold and many other inflammatory illnesses. [8]

Ginger may also help decrease nausea and vomiting. [9]

While it’s used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol.

This compound decreases chronic pain and possesses cholesterol-lowering properties.

Ginger helps the immune system to perform optimally by boosting it when it is underactive or suppressing it when it is overactive. Research also suggests that it can help fight drug-resistant bacterias also.

7. Spinach

Immunity booster foods- spinach

Spinach is rich in vitamin C, it is also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta-carotene which increases the infection-fighting ability of your immune system.

This vegetable can be incorporated quite easily into your diet, as well as it is easy to prepare.

Spinach is rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, folate and many other antioxidants which are essential micronutrients for your immune system. [10]

Similar to broccoli spinach is healthiest when it is cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients.

However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.

Spinach is also one of the best sources of dietary magnesium which is necessary for a healthy immune system and also to maintain your blood pressure levels.

8. Citrus fruits

Immunity booster foods- citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are one of the best sources of Vitamin C.

They help to build our immune system. [11]

Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells which are important for fighting infections. 

A study published in the nutritional journal shows that getting enough Vitamin C can reduce the symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections like the common cold.

It may also be useful in preventing and improving outcomes for conditions like pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea.

Antioxidants meanwhile can help protect against oxidative stress and prevent damage to your immune cells.

Citrus fruits include 

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges 
  • Lemons
  • Limes

Because your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, you need daily doses of vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. 

With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.

9. Red bell pepper

Immunity booster foods- red bell pepper

If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C.

Well, think again!

Red bell pepper contains twice as much vitamin C as compared to citrus fruits.

Red bell peppers are also a rich source of beta-carotene which helps to keep our eyes and skin healthy. 

A study shows an association between a diet rich in carotenoids and reduced incidence of many forms of cancer and it has been suggested that this is due to the antioxidant properties of carotenoids.


In addition to a good diet, regular exercise, proper sleep and proper supplementation are essential to building a good immunity at this time when the whole world is facing a pandemic.

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