A strong immune system is important during the cold and flu season and the current COVID-19 pandemic. While quality sleep, regular exercise, proper hand-washing and social distancing all play a role in maintaining a healthy immune system, the foods you eat can also help. These recipes all contain specific ingredients that support immunity with antioxidants, key vitamins and minerals.
Why it made the cut: Citrus fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, an important nutrient that supports the immune system and, in particular, helps with white blood cell formation to fight infections. Yogurt contains vitamin D and probiotics, which are great for gut health. Finally, almonds are rich in vitamin E, an oft-overlooked nutrient that supports immunity.
Why it made the cut: Eating salad for breakfast is a fantastic immune system win. This recipe contains several immune-supporting phytonutrients; it has carotenoids from spinach, healthy fats from avocado and vitamin C from roasted cauliflower.
Why it made the cut: This low-carb dish is full of veggies and leafy greens rich in vitamins A and C. Using garlic is also great for adding flavor and has been shown to help support the immune system.
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Why it made the cut: You may not think of chicken as an immune-supporting food, but it contains nearly 1/3 of your needs for vitamin B6, which is important for forming healthy red blood cells, a key player in immune function. This recipe is also rich in vitamin A, iron, B vitamins and calcium, all of which help keep your immune system functioning optimally.
Why it made the cut: This recipe contains veggies high in immune-supporting vitamins A and C, including carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. It also has turmeric-rich curry powder and curry paste, plus ginger — all of which contain anti-inflammatory compounds known to support a healthy immune system.
Originally published December 2020, updated with additional reporting