Foods to Boost the Immune System


By Gabrielle Hungate a recent ASU nutrition student



It is clear that the world is going through a major shift and could be changed forever. We are going through something that will be in the history books. Covid-19 has taken over the world and it is hard to read about anything else, as it is consuming our world. Everyone is different and everyone gets hit differently, not just by the virus, but many of the viruses going around our planet. There is no cure for this virus and no real documented medicine to truly help. There are some things that we can do as an individual regarding diet, that may help boost our immune system.



Everyone knows that eating healthy is the right thing to do and may make our immune system better, yet many people do not know where to start or how certain foods affect us and how they can make our bodies stronger. Our immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies that combat, bacteria, viruses and other foreign bodies. People that eat a high amount of fruits and vegetables have been shown to have antibodies that are more effective against these things (1).



There are many vitamins that assist in the immune system become stronger. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are very strong antioxidants that assist in the immune response. There are many foods that contain Vitamin C. While supplementing can be beneficial, nothing can replace the absorption from food. Great sources of Vitamin C are strawberries, oranges, red peppers, mangoes, and lemons. Vitamin E sources can be found in spinach and broccoli. A great way to incorporate these is in smoothies. They are quick and easy and always taste great. Juicing is another way to get a large number of nutrients as well.


Vitamin D has recently started to show in research that it can reduce the risk of infections, this can include respiratory tract infections (1). Vitamin D can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory compounds (1). Vitamin D has actually been linked to many diseases that are can help prevent, such as tuberculosis and heart disease. Some great sources are milk, plant-based milk and supplements are an option as well. Again, smoothies are a great source of this as you can have a cup of milk in the smoothie daily to increase your vitamin D.



Zinc has gained popularity with the masses when it comes to fighting off cold and flu. The supplements can sometimes cause gastrointestinal upset or heartburn. This mineral helps with boosting white blood cells (1). Instead of supplementing, throw some nuts, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds in your smoothie. Make some tasty tacos with beans or lentils added to them as well to get the full benefit.



There is no guarantee that anything will protect against this looming virus, as it is new to us in this country. The best we can do is use the tools that we know have been around a long time and see what will help some of us in preventing the virus and keeping the numbers low. There are no side effects for these measures and will only benefit us in the long run. Hopefully everyone can do the best they can incorporate these vitamins in our daily life and stay safe in their life.



  1. Foods to Boost the Immune System. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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