5 Fresh Foods To Boost Immunity

by in Healthy Tips, February 17, 2009

This winter, protect yourself from those cold or flu bugs going around. Eat more of these fresh foods to build up your immunity.

1) Nuts
Snack on almonds, cashews or walnuts, which are packed with vitamin E. This antioxidant helps kick those pesky free-radicals out of your body. Vitamin E also helps create antibodies that fight bacteria that make you sick. Other healthy vitamin E-rich foods are seeds and whole grains.

2) Citrus Fruits
The famous vitamin C helps fight infection and a good antioxidant to have — along with vitamin E. But there is more to citrus than just orangesgrapefruits, clementines, lemons, limes and tangerines are all part of this family, and they’re in season in winter so you can enjoy them at their juiciest. Citrus not your thing? Try bell peppers — they have more vitamin C than an orange! Potatoes, tomatoes and kiwi are also great sources.

3) Shrimp
So you’ve heard shrimp has cholesterol, but it’s also extremely low in fat and contains the antioxidant selenium. Many foods have a combination of nutrients, and you need to weigh the “bad” with the “good.” Selenium is a mineral needed in small amounts and works to support a healthy immune system. Seafood and meat are great sources for it.

4) Yogurt
The probiotics — or “good bacteria” found in yogurt and other foods — keep your digestive system up and running. According to research from the Journal of the American Dietetics Association, consuming foods with probiotics regularly may also help boost your immune system. Sauerkraut, miso and tempeh are other food sources to try.

5) Green Tea
The polyphenols in green tea act as potent antioxidants. Research suggests that catechins, a specific type of polyphenol, may stimulate the immune system cells and hinder disease-promoting compounds. Although you may detect a bitter taste, you can disguise it with a bit of honey. Adding milk is a no-no as it will bind to the polyphenols and stop their immunity benefits. (See some of Dana’s ideas on enjoying tea.)

Immunity Downers
Eating tons of high-fat foods and forgoing your daily fruits and veggies can also weaken the immune system. Smokers have an added disadvantage as smoking increases free-radicals, which definitely takes a toll on the immune system (another good reason to quit).

Be wary of restaurants promoting specialty drinks or products with add-ins that claim to increase immunity. The makers of Airborne settled a $23.3 million dollar false advertising suit last year because they claimed the vitamin and mineral mixture miraculously fights the common cold. Your best bet is sticking with whole, natural foods.

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Comments (104)

  1. Gita says:

    Yes, I agree with a lot of viewers,I really appreciated the “old” programming that was more informative on foods and nutrition. I especially liked “Taste” with David Rosegarten although Alton Brown is wonderful on “Good Eats”. Please bring more shows like that for the evening viewing most of us have jobs during the day and miss all the better shows.

  2. deidere says:

    ok come on guys. I love everything about the FN. The challenges are NOT too much. If you love food and cooking you would also love the challenges. The only thing i can agree with is the Ace of Cakes marathons can be a bit much. Outside of that EVERYTHING IS GREAT!!! Lighten up people. It’s not like you’re always taking back these recipes to your own kitchens. Some of it is simply entertainment. The new website is a little difficult to navigate though.

  3. Tami says:

    The vieweres have spoken; if it ain’t broke DON’T fix it. Bring back our beloved Chefs,with receipes we serve our REAL families fresh,easy & delicious food,its that simple! PS-I’m watching more PBS because they air the old Chefs shows…

  4. Anne says:

    I actually like all of the competitions. My family loves Iron Chef! The main reason we watch FN. We also love the FN cake, sugar, etc. competitions.

  5. Lynne says:

    I've been turning Food Network off more than on lately. I have learned so much from your chefs, but now that there are so many "challenges", I find I am not enjoying any of them, and certainly not learning anything. Please, please bring back the old way of programming! I really miss it.

  6. ewwww says:

    I love the challenges! Don't get why ya'll don't???? You still have plenty of the people like Ina, Giada, and Paula! And it's good how you have the regular shows in the morning and challenges at night! Anyways, this article is about foods that immunity, not this! And, if you really want to see the reg. shows, just record it on your tv and watch it at night! and there on ALL THE TIME on weekends!!!!!!!!!!

  7. ewwww says:


  8. tona says:

    I beg to differ, on your comment re: airbourne, it does work in combatting the cold virus! I drank it while I had a cold, and it did work! I’m a firm believer and I do recommend it to others.

  9. Chris says:

    What about the nutritional value of pecans?

  10. Barbara Hardcastle says:

    I LOVE the Food Network, but I am lucky that I can record the daytime cooks. I don't care much for the challenges either. It seems like that's all that's on at night. However, I do like guy and Unwrapped! I love to watch the cooks prepare a great recipe and get good hints and techniques from them. I can do without the challenges! Paula Deen is one of my favorites! I also like Big Daddy, Sunny, Giada, Ina and the Neeley's! Keep them coming!

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