12 Foods That Strengthen Your Immune System

1. Foods rich in vitamin C

We all know vitamin C benefits the immune system, but foods rich in vitamin C also contain antioxidants. You don't have to chug orange juice or OD on Emergen-C — leafy greens, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, papaya, bell peppers, lemons, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, kiwis, and cantaloupe are all great sources.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are the healthy bacteria your intestine needs to keep your digestive system free of germs. Eat it plain or mix it with berries or granola.

3. Oats

Oats contain beta-glucan, which is an antimicrobial fiber and antioxidant. Also, the protein in oats will give your body a much-needed energy boost and dose of fiber.

4. Garlic

Okay, so maybe you don't want to consume copious amounts of garlic (and if you do, please eat a mint), but garlic fights infection and bacteria.

5. Black tea

Tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which fights viruses.

6. Coconuts

Coconut milk, coconut water, or coconut oil — coconuts are rich in lauric acid, which is converted to monolaurin in your body. Monolaurin is a compound that strengthens your immunity. Not to mention the taste of coconut may trick you into thinking you're in Hawaii.

7. Fish

Fish, especially shellfish, helps white blood cells produce proteins that clear flu viruses. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which helps your lungs allow good airflow and avoid respiratory infection.

8. Berries

Berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly blueberries and raspberries. Make a smoothie or toss them in your cereal, yogurt, or granola. You can also just eat them plain.

9. Zinc

Zinc helps with the production of white blood cells and can be found in beef, oysters, fortified cereals, pork, poultry, yogurt, and milk.

10. Mushrooms

Mushrooms also help produce white blood cells. Mixing them into a stir-fry or putting them in a salad are great ways to sneak them into your diet.

11. Turmeric

This spice is high in antioxidants and antibacterial components. Sprinkle it on top of your rice, grilled veggies, or potatoes.

12. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin A, a nutrient that helps build strong, healthy skin. Your skin is an important part of your immune system, as it acts as a physical barrier.

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