immune system

Between stress, extra sugar, and lack of sleep, the holiday season can leave our immune systems pretty shot. Fortunately, there are certain foods you can eat to boost your immune system! Here are 5 of the top best foods to boost your immunity in the new year.

Citrus foods

When it comes to protecting your body from getting sick, citrus foods are immunity powerhouses. Oranges, mandarins, and grapefruits all contain vitamin C, which helps our immune system ward off pathogens, kill microbes, and fight infections. Vitamin C is one of the top vitamins doctors recommend you increase when you’re either getting sick or are sick.


Another nutritious food you should consume to increase your body’s immunity is berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. are high in antioxidants and help reduce inflammation and boost your body’s immune response.

Greek yogurt

If you want to strengthen your body’s ability to fight illness, Greek yogurt is another great food to start eating on a regular basis because it contains probiotics. Vanessa Rissetto M.S., RD, CDN explains just how valuable probiotics are to our immune system. “Once inside the body, probiotics interact with receptors on the intestinal cells and modulate both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Probiotics also strengthen the lining of the gut, which protects the GI tract from harm by bad bugs. These good bacteria also boost immunity by decreasing inflammation in the body.”

Vibrant Vegetables

What do spinach, red peppers, carrots, and broccoli all have in common? You guessed it: they’re all immune system boosters! Vegetables are good for us in general, but these vegetables in particular aid your immune system via antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Foods rich in zinc

In order for your immune system to function the way it should, your body needs zinc, the second most abundant trace mineral in your body (after iron). Foods that are rich in zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Lamb shank
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Crab
  • Cashews
  • Chickpeas
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lobster

Foods to avoid to boost your immune system

Just like there are certain foods you should eat more of to boost your immune system, there are also foods you should avoid to keep it strong. Foods that break down your immune system include:

  • Processed meats like hot dogs and bacon. 
  • Sugar and desserts. 
  • Processed, fried and fast foods. 
  • White or refined breads and grains. 
  • Margarine. 
  • Alcohol.

Why your immune system needs whole, healthy foods

This fascinating video demonstrates just how amazing our immune systems are and just how much they rely on good, healthy foods to function the way they are supposed to. According to this video, posted by Synapse: Center for Health & Healing:

“Our cells are replaced with whatever we’ve been eating at the time. And so it’s important to know that these lymphocytes have to go in and clean up all of these cells…This is why it’s so important to eat a healthy diet with real, whole foods. Because our cells need those big building blocks, not fake foods that are going to break down and add more work to your lymphocytes. And when your immune system gets overworked, then it can’t protect you as well.”

Eating nutritious food helps your body defend itself from viruses and infections but it also helps you heal faster when you do get sick. So give your immune system a helping hand this year by incorporating these foods into your diet.