America isn’t immune anymore. 3.4 million Americans had to go to the hospital due to an infectious or parasitic disease in 2018. 

If you want to avoid a lengthy hospital stay, you should try to boost your immune system naturally. One of the best ways to boost your immune system is to eat healthy foods. But not every fruit and vegetable is going to help you fight off colds. 

What foods boost your immune system? Why do these foods help your immune system? How can you incorporate these foods into your diet? 

Answer these questions, and you can master how to boost your immune system in no time. Here is your quick guide.

Citrus Fruits

Ask someone about foods that boost your immune system, and they’ll probably talk to you about citrus fruits. Oranges, lemons, and limes contain high amounts of vitamin C, which produces white blood cells. White blood cells fight off infections in all parts of the body and decrease inflammation.

Try to eat an orange every day. You can also squeeze lemons or limes over grilled or roasted meat for added flavor. 


Blueberries have anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and bolster the immune response in the upper respiratory system. If blueberries are too tart for you, you can try mulberries and black chokeberries. 

Elderberries are a traditional folk remedy for the common cold. They contain anthocyanin alongside potassium, which regulates how cells receive signals from the immune system. You can find elderberries at most grocery stores, and you can forage for them in the fall.

If you want to try a new fruit, you can eat acai berries. Acai berries are rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins. They contain pits, so be careful when eating them.


Yogurt is a probiotic food, meaning it contains bacteria that can stimulate your immune system. It also contains vitamin D, which can boost the immune system against viruses and bacteria.

Try to find plain yogurt, as many sweetened yogurts contain added sugars that can weaken your immune system. You can combine berries and yogurt with nuts to make a parfait, which can serve as a breakfast or snack.


Garlic is another home remedy for colds and infections. It can also lower your blood pressure and slow down inflammation and hardening in the arteries. 

Garlic contains allicin, a chemical compound that kills bacteria. Allicin is sulfuric, meaning that garlic can have a very strong flavor. You can saute garlic or sprinkle it into sauces to cut down on the taste.


You may take ginger pills or ginger extract to reduce stomach discomfort or indigestion. You can eat pieces of ginger or drink ginger juice to boost your immune system as well. A 2020 meta-analysis of 109 studies found that ginger can help with inflammation, diabetes, and cancer. 

If the flavor of ginger is too intense for you, you can make a smoothie out of it. You can use almond milk, orange juice, or green tea as a base. You can combine chopped ginger with spinach leaves, carrots, citrus fruits, and other ingredients.


Turmeric is a spice common in Indian and South Asian dishes. It can clean your respiratory tract, removing viruses and bacteria in your nose and mouth. It also has curcumin, a chemical compound that relieves the stress response during infections. 

Turmeric has a flavor akin to black pepper, so you should use it sparingly. You can sprinkle some turmeric into a vegetable curry or a soup. Many curry mixes contain turmeric in them, so read the ingredients label to see if turmeric is already in yours.


Oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can mitigate rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. Try to eat salmon and tuna at least once a week. 

Shellfish also has immune benefits because it has zinc, which replenishes immune cells. Try to eat oysters, crab, and lobster. You can eat raw oysters, but you should select cooked crabmeat and lobster. 


Chicken and turkey have vitamin B-6, which forms new red blood cells and triggers chemical reactions that increase immune responses. Eating just a few ounces of chicken can give you your daily recommended amount of B-6. 

If you like soup, you can make stock out of boiled chicken bones. Bones contain gelatin and chondroitin, which repair cells in your intestines.


One of the healthy benefits of dairy foods is that it bolsters the immune system. Milk contains high amounts of zinc alongside vitamins A and D. If you don’t like the taste of milk, you can eat cheese instead. 

Try to select dairy products that have probiotic bacteria in them. Probiotic dairy foods include kefir and feta cheese. 

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has theobromine, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals. The body produces free radicals when it encounters pathogens and breaks down food, so dark chocolate may be most effective after big meals. 

Chocolate can contain high amounts of saturated fat and sugar, so find a low-fat version. You can eat dark chocolate bars, or you can melt the chocolate down and dip berries into it. 

So What Foods Boost Your Immune System?

A lot of people have questions about their immune systems. What foods boost your immune system?

Citrus fruits, berries, and yogurt are three of the biggest boosters. They contain antioxidants that preserve blood cells and support the respiratory system. 

But you can also get vitamins from spices like ginger and turmeric. If you want protein, you can have poultry, shellfish, and dairy. Try to eat a balanced diet with dishes that contain natural ingredients.Keep learning about healthy foods and practices. Ingredia provides premium health and wellness guides. Read our guide on naturally lowering your blood sugar today.