Immune System Boosters: Foods, Vitamins and Supplements for Boosting the Immune System

Immune System Boosters: Foods, Vitamins and Supplements for Boosting the Immune System

A healthy immune system is essential to protect you against disease and prevent infection. You can boost your immune system by eating foods containing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Supplements are also helpful to strengthen your immunity as they can address any nutritional deficiencies and give your immune system a boost.

Some of the best foods that are immune boosters are garlic, ginger, green leafy vegetables, and citrus fruits. The rich vitamin C, vitamin E, and natural antioxidant content mean these types of foods are great for health. These immune-boosting foods can help you avoid colds, the flu, infections, and even prevent chronic infections.

Immune system supplements also help to increase white blood cells to help you when you are sick. Some of the best supplements for the immune system are selenium, zinc, curcumin, olive leaf extract, and echinacea.

In this article, you will learn about natural immune boosters that will help improve your health. Immune boosting supplements and foods can help to prevent disease and also help you recover quicker from a bacterial or viral infection.

At the end of the article, you will find a recipe for a health tonic that combines some of nature’s most potent plants which will help to kill your infections. This natural antibiotic has a strong taste and creates a powerful concoction.

How Diet and Supplements Boost Your Immune System

Boosting your immune system with a healthy diet and appropriate supplements can help keep you in good health.

Immune-boosting foods help your body fight infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Your immune system detects these ‘foreign’ invaders and increases white blood cells (WBC) to kill off the organisms. In order to ‘win’ the battle, your immune system should be as strong as possible.

Most doctors agree that the best way to strengthen your immunity is through a healthy lifestyle that involves a good diet, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.

For example, researchers from Harvard Medical School report that healthy nutrition helps decrease your risk of disease. An immune-boosting diet should contain micronutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C, and E. You also need to get minerals such as zinc, selenium, iron, and folic acid from vegetables and fruits. (1)

You can also take supplements that support a healthy immune system. This can help to prevent any vitamin or mineral deficiencies that can put you at risk of infection and disease.

In general, doctors from the Cleveland Clinic recommend boosting your immunity with fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. You also strengthen your immune system by getting exercise, plenty of sleep, and avoiding stress. (2)

Foods That Boost the Immune System

Let’s look at some of the best foods you can add to your diet to help keep you well and healthy.

Garlic Helps Strengthen the Immune System

Garlic is a pungent herb with antimicrobial properties that can help ward off infections and strengthen your immunity.

The Journal of Immunology Research reports that garlic contains a sulfur compound called allicin. This immune-stimulating compound increases natural killer cells in the body and helps prevent immune dysfunction. Garlic is a powerful medicinal herb for treating microbial infections, reducing inflammation, and keeping your heart healthy. (3)

Studies have also shown that garlic and garlic extracts help to increase WBC count and inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines. (3)

Help to boost your immune system with garlic by adding it to your meals. One 2015 study found that adding crushed garlic to a meal helped boost immunity. Researchers also noted that the meal with crushed garlic helped to kill off certain cancer cells. (4)

If you can’t add garlic to every meal, you can also take garlic as a supplement to boost your immune system. Research has found that aged garlic supplements help reduce the severity of respiratory infections such as colds and flu. (5)

Learn about other ways to use garlic as a natural antibiotic and why it is always best to crush garlic and wait few minutes before using it as a medicine.

Ginger for a Stronger Immune System

Ginger is an immune-boosting ingredient that you can take as a food or supplement for immune support.

A 2019 study into the medicinal properties of ginger found that ginger can strengthen the immune response in the body. Consuming ginger tea regularly helped to increase antibodies that help fight infections. Researchers also noted that ginger boosted the number of white blood cells and red blood cells in smokers. (6)

Another way that ginger helps to promote a healthy human immune system is that it positively affects thyroid function. Ginger can help to keep your thyroid working properly during acute infections. (6, 7)

Find out more information about why using more ginger in your diet can help to improve your health. You can also find a recipe to make your own anti-inflammatory ginger and turmeric tea.

Foods Rich in Vitamin C Strengthen Immunity

Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins to boost the immune system and help you ward off infections.

The journal Nutrients reported in 2017 that vitamin C helps build the body’s defenses against infection and disease. Vitamin C for immunity is important because it kills off free radicals that can cause oxidative damage. (8)

There is also evidence to support the fact that vitamin C increases white blood cells and natural killer cells. It is also a known fact that people who are vitamin C deficient are more prone to infection. (8)

Some studies show that taking vitamin C supplements along with zinc helps to shorten the duration of cold and flu infections. Also, vitamin C is a great immune booster supplement for kids. (9)

Studies also show that increasing your vitamin C intake through food or supplements at the first sign of a viral infection can help you recover quicker. (10)

The best foods containing vitamin C include red bell pepper, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and tomato juice. Researchers say that consuming 5 varieties of vitamin C-rich foods every day can help meet your daily vitamin C needs of 200 mg. (11)

Citrus fruits are great for boosting your immunity

If you really want to boost your immunity when you are sick, then you should increase your intake of citrus fruits.

Citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C that can give your immune system a boost when you have an infection. Researchers have found that citrus fruits contain antioxidants and vitamins that are essential to human health. Citrus fruits also contain anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and cardiovascular protective properties. (12)

Consuming oranges, lemons, and grapefruit can help to increase your body’s ability to fight off infection.

You may be surprised to learn that guava fruit has 4 times the amount of vitamin C than oranges.

Find out why starting your day with a glass of lemon water can help to keep you healthy and improve your immunity.

Foods Rich in Vitamin E Boost Immunity

Another vitamin needed for your immune system to function properly is vitamin E. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps to stimulate your body to fight disease.

Extensive research into the uses of vitamin E has shown that it is essential for good health. Dietary intake of vitamin E helps to boost immune cell responses and help fight off infectious diseases. The antioxidant effect of vitamin E helps to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and age-related vision problems. (13)

Vitamin E also helps to boost white blood cells which are necessary for enhanced immune function. (14)

The best way to maintain a healthy immune system with vitamin E is by making sure food in your diet contains it. Foods to boost your immune system that contain plenty of vitamin E include nuts and seeds, olive oil, green vegetables, and some fortified cereals. (15)

You can also supplement your diet with vitamin E capsules at the recommended dose of 15 mg daily. (16)

Find out why one of the best nuts to consume for healthy immune function are walnuts.

Probiotic Foods for a Healthy Gut and Stronger Immune System

Regularly consuming foods such as raw yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso help keep your immune system healthy.

The reason why these foods are good for your immunity is that they contain probiotics.

The journal Microorganisms in 2017 reported that your gastrointestinal health is connected to your immune response. Increasing your intake of probiotic yogurt can help to improve your gut’s microbiota and, therefore, build up your immune system. (17)

Another interesting study from 2018 found that probiotic supplements can help to reduce the time it takes to recover from the common cold or flu. Taking probiotic drinks containing Lactobacillus strains helped to reduce the severity of respiratory infections by promoting healthy immune function. (18)

For more information on the benefits of probiotics to your digestive health, immunity, and mental health, please see my article on probiotics for good health.

Green Leafy Vegetables

One of the best food groups to include in an immune-boosting diet is green leafy vegetables.

Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, chard, and beetroot tops are packed with vitamins and minerals for a healthy diet. Many studies point to the fact that consuming many such vegetables help to strengthen your body’s immune response. (19)

Because elderly people usually have impaired immune systems, it is very important to ensure a high intake of vegetables to maintain a healthy body. In fact, fruit and vegetable consumption can help reduce the risk of chronic disease in people over the age of 65. (20)


A 2018 study on the benefits of eating broccoli found that compounds in broccoli help to boost immunity and may also help prevent the development of cancer. (21) You can read more about the health benefits of broccoli in this article.


Spinach is a good source of beta-carotene that helps the body produce vitamin A. Researchers say that vitamin A is an immune enhancer that helps protect against infection. (22)

Button Mushrooms

You may be surprised to learn that consuming mushrooms can be good for your immune system.

The Journal of Nutrition reported that the benefits of mushrooms for your immunity are that they improve the microbiota in the gut. The results of laboratory results have led scientists to realize that eating white button mushrooms can help to reduce your risk of disease. Consuming button mushrooms also helped to reduce inflammation. (23)

Mushrooms also contain compounds such as selenium, vitamin D, and other minerals that may help lower your risk of developing chronic diseases. (23)

Learn more about the benefits of adding maitake and shiitake mushrooms to your healthy diet.

Colored Foods to Support the Immune System

Including fruits and vegetables in your diet that have vibrant colors can help to ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals for a strong immune system.

The journal Advances in Nutrition reports that colored fruit and veg usually contain healthy compounds for boosting immunity. (24)

For example, orange and yellow vegetables contain beta-carotene that strengthens the immune system.

Red vegetables such as tomatoes, pink guavas, and watermelons contain lycopene that has powerful antioxidant activity and immune-boosting properties. (25)

Purple vegetables such as purple sweet potato or purple carrots contain anthocyanins that are bioactive compounds that help improve the immune response. (26, 27)


Carrots are an immune-boosting food due to the presence of carotenoids. Research has found that carrots help enhance immune function and may help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. (28)

Sweet potatoes

Another orange-colored vegetable that boosts your immune system is sweet potatoes. The vitamin A content in sweet potato helps to promote healthy immune function. (29)

Purple potatoes

Sweet potatoes with purple flesh also have immune-enhancing properties. One 2019 trial on mice found that compounds in purple-fleshed sweet potato stimulated the immune response and enhanced immunity. (30)

Red tomatoes

The journal Molecules reported that tomato and tomato juice can help to boost immunity by helping to prevent inflammatory responses in cells. (31)

Brazil Nuts to Boost Your Immune System

Another of the great foods to enhance your immune function and help stay healthy is Brazil nuts.

The reason why Brazil nuts are good for your immune system is that they are a rich source of selenium. Researchers have found that selenium stimulates the immune system to be more active. One of the best sources of selenium is Brazil nuts. (32)

To get enough selenium to help improve your immune system’s function, you only have to eat one or two Brazil nuts a day. One Brazil nut contains around 90 mcg which is 130% of your daily selenium requirement. (33)

Further reading: the amazing health benefits of Brazil nuts.

Green Tea to Boost Your Immune System

Regularly drinking a cup or two of green tea every day can help keep you healthy and prevent disease and infections.

Studies have shown that green tea contains powerful antioxidants called catechins. These compounds support the immune system by helping to reduce the effects of oxidative stress. Scientists also found that green tea compounds enhance immune responses and help lower inflammation. (34)

You can find more information about green tea in my article about the proven benefits of green tea.

Chicken Soup

Consuming chicken soup is one of the best foods to eat if you have a cold or other viral infection.

It is not just an old wives’ tale that chicken soup is good for boosting your immunity. Scientists have found that chicken soup contains compounds that inhibit mild inflammation. Other studies have found that chicken soup can help to prevent influenza virus infection. (35, 36)

Did you know that chicken soup is one of the proven remedies to help break a fever fast?

Supplements That Boost the Immune System

All of the foods that help to boost your immune system work effectively due to one or more minerals or vitamins in them.

You can also help to prevent infection by using the best supplements to enhance the immune system.

Turmeric (Curcumin) is an Immune System Booster

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that helps to strengthen the immune system and prevent disease.

Various studies into the benefits of curcumin have found that the yellow spice can enhance the activity of immune-related antibodies. The effect of curcumin on the immune system can help to prevent various chronic diseases and treat immune disorders. (37)

Learn more about the many health benefits of taking curcumin supplements to help strengthen your immune system.

Folic Acid Strengthens Immunity

Another of the immune system supplements that can help prevent disease and infection is folic acid.

Scientific research has found that people who have a folate (vitamin B9) deficiency often have poor resistance to infections. Taking folic acid supplements could help to address this vitamin deficiency and act as a supplement to strengthen the immune system. (38)

Iron for a Healthy Immune System

In order to keep your immune system functioning as it should, you need to have adequate levels of iron in your blood.

Iron is an important mineral to help deliver oxygen to cells to keep them healthy. Researchers have found that iron is linked to the immune system and poor iron absorption can negatively affect the immune system. (39)

Other scientists have found that a lack of iron can put a person at greater risk of developing infections. (40)

It is important to spot the signs of an iron deficiency to determine if you need to take a supplement to increase iron levels.

Selenium is an Immune Boosting Supplement

You need to have adequate levels of selenium to make sure that your immune system works effectively to combat disease.

Scientists say that selenium levels have a direct effect on your body’s immunity and inflammation. Adequate levels of selenium can help to prevent the invasion of certain pathogens that can cause infections. Selenium can also lessen the severity of viral infections such as influenza. (41)

Learn about the tell-tale signs of a selenium deficiency and what you can do to prevent it.

Zinc to Boost the Immune System

Many supplements to enhance the immune system contain zinc because it helps to prevent immune dysfunction.

Research into the immune-enhancing properties of zinc has found that it is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists also say that zinc boosts the immune system in a number of ways. (42)

If you have a zinc deficiency, you can take a zinc supplement to help support your immune system.

Shellfish such as oysters, red meat, beans, and nuts are also dietary sources of zinc that can help to keep your immune system healthy. (43)

Olive Leaf Extract for Immune System Support

One of the best immune booster supplements you can take to stay healthy is olive leaf extract.

A 2018 study on the immune-enhancing effect of olive leaf extract found that it can help prevent chronic diseases. Olive leaf extract supplements have antioxidant properties that help improve cardiovascular health. Taking these olive leaf supplements regularly can also help to increase your body’s ability to fight off disease. (44)

Learn more about the health benefits of olive leaf extract and find out how to make your own immune-boosting olive leaf tea.

Echinacea to Boost Your Immune System When Sick

Echinacea is a medicinal herb that stimulates the immune system and can help you fight off a cold or flu infection quicker.

Scientists have found that taking echinacea to strengthen your immunity works because it increases the number of white blood cells. Research has shown that echinacea supplements help to prevent and treat infections of the upper respiratory tract. (45)

Echinacea also contains compounds that have immunostimulatory properties that help to kill off viruses. (45)

If you want to get rid of a winter cold virus quicker, find out how to make your own health-boosting echinacea tea at home.

Astragalus for Immunity Strengthening

One of the supplements to boost your immune system is astragalus.

The journal Molecules reports that astragalus supplements help regulate the immune system that results in a stronger immune system. (46)

Other studies have shown that taking astragalus may help to ward off the influenza virus. (47)

Ginseng to Increase your Body’s Immune Response

If you are feeling sick and under the weather, taking ginseng supplements can help your body recover quicker.

Ginseng contains a number of antioxidants that help to maintain healthy immune function. However, taking ginseng also helps to increase your body’s resistance to disease and infection. Ginseng stimulates killer cells that are essential for an effective immune system. (48)

Other studies have shown that the beneficial effects of ginseng include helping to relieve stress, improve your cardiovascular health, manage diabetes, and help protect against cancer. (49)

Read more: Natural Antiviral and Antibacterial Foods and Substances (Based on Evidence)

Kill Your Infections With This Natural Antibiotic – Recipe

This wonderful health tonic combines some of nature’s most potent plants and brings them together in a powerful concoction. It is not for the squeamish as the taste is strong and hits your taste buds with unusual force. But the health benefits are manifold, so it is definitely worth the effort.

The master tonic has been credited with healing not only common colds and infections, but also chronic conditions and antibiotic-resistant infections. It is 100% natural and works as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal substance. It boosts your immune system and helps you combat even stubborn diseases.

It combines garlic, onion, horseradish, ginger, hot peppers (chilies) and apple cider vinegar. All ingredients should preferably be organic and have to be used fresh.


– 1 part garlic, chopped
– 1 part white onion, chopped
– 1 part ginger root, grated
– 1 part horseradish, grated
– 1 part hot peppers, chopped (you can use cayenne, habanero, serrano, jalapeño, etc.)
– 1 gallon raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar


Prepare all your ingredients. Put them in a glass jar so that the jar is ¾ full with equal parts of the chopped and grated ingredients. You can either use small jars or go for big gallon glass jars.

Pour apple cider vinegar over the ingredients until the jar is full. Make sure all the ingredients are covered by the liquid.

Close the jars and shake them vigorously, so the ingredients mix and bind.

Store the jars in a dark and cool place for at least 2 weeks and shake them daily.

After 2 weeks, use a colander to drain the liquid into a different bowl. Line the colander with cheesecloth and place the mixture in it. Press all the moisture out of the mixture. At the end, wrap the cheesecloth around the remaining mixture and squeeze out the rest of the liquid.

Pour the tonic into glass bottles using a funnel. You can use 8 oz. (200 milliliters) amber bottles or any other size.


For a general immunity boost or for fighting candida overgrowth, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons in a cup of water. Drink twice daily. As mentioned earlier, be prepared for the spicy, potent taste.

If you are battling an infection, take the tonic 3 to 4 times a day.

How do the ingredients work?

The tonic’s ingredients quickly enter your bloodstream and detox the body. They stimulate your immune system and improve the circulation. Each of them has numerous health benefits.

Garlic is a natural broad-spectrum antibiotic (read more about garlic in my article how to use garlic as a medicine). Onion has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory potential and is very good for respiratory infections.

Horseradish is antibacterial and anti-parasitic. Ginger is known for its antimicrobial properties and it aids digestion (read more about ginger in my article how to use ginger as a medicine). Hot peppers act as natural painkillers (read more about cayenne pepper here).

The list of apple cider vinegar’s healing benefits is very long.

When all these jewels come together, you get a universal tonic that will help you maintain and improve your health.

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