Every year as cold and flu season approaches our bodies are put to the test. Will your body be able to fight off the viruses or will you catch the dreaded seasonal flu or cold? This is why building a strong immune system is so important so that your body is ready to fight off and protect you from viruses, bacteria, and other toxins you may come into contact with. While strong immunity doesn’t always guarantee that you won’t get sick, it may help you get over the sickness faster than someone who has a weaker immune system. Either way, it’s an important part of your health.

The immune system works by recognizing foreign substances (called antigens) and works to get rid of them to keep you healthy. While everyone is born with natural immunity and we gain an adaptive immunity throughout our lives by being exposed to diseases (or immunized through vaccines), it is still imperative to build up a healthy immune system through our own efforts. Maintaining, or building a strong immune system starts with proper hygiene, adequate sleep, managing stress, not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, daily exercise, and diet. Today, we’re going to dive into the top foods and recipes to boost your immune system, so that your body is equipped to combat whatever comes at it.

Note: Remember, we are not medical doctors. Be sure to speak to a medical professional before making any drastic dietary changes, or to seek more information on how to build strong immunity.

1. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are chock full of vitamin C which is known to strengthen your immune system. This is because it can help boost the production of white blood cells which play an important role in fighting off infections. Since your body doesn’t naturally produce or store Vitamin C, it’s so important to consume it daily. Some great ways to add more citrus into your diet is to drink lemon or lime water and freshly pressed orange or grapefruit juice. You can also find Vitamin C capsules on Amazon that can help you reach your daily quota.

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2. Ultimate Cold & Cough Smoothie Recipe

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a cold and/or cough, do yourself a favor and make this easy 2-minute smoothie. Not only will the smoothie provide you with relief but it will also help fight off the symptoms of your dreaded cold in an all-natural way! Our recipe requires immune-boosting ingredients like lemon, and ginger and comes together quickly with the help of a blender.

https://www.forkly.com/recipes/ultimate-cough-cold-remedy-smoothie/ PHOTO AND RECIPE HERE: FORKLY

3. Red Bell Peppers

Citrus fruits often come to mind as the fruit that contains the most vitamin C but that’s actually not true! Red bell peppers have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable. In fact, one cup of chopped bell pepper contains almost three times more vitamin C than an orange! Better yet, red bell peppers are a great source of beta carotene which our bodies convert to Vitamin A. This is an essential nutrient which not only boosts your immunity but also helps to maintain healthy skin and eyes!

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4. 5-Minute Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Sure you can enjoy red bell peppers raw or you can chop them into a salad or add them to a stir fry but you really need to try this roasted red pepper dip! It’s a great and fun way to add more red peppers into your diet! this dip is creamy, full of flavor, and incredibly easy to make. In fact, it can come together in just five minutes. You simply toss the six ingredients into a food processor, blend, serve, and enjoy! The dip can be enjoyed with fresh veggies, crackers, pita bread, or can be used as a sauce for sandwiches and pasta — your choice!

https://deliciouslittlebites.com/roasted-red-pepper-spread/ PHOTOS AND RECIPE HERE: DELICIOUS LITTLE BITES

5. Ginger

Ginger has a pungent spicy aroma and sweet yet peppery flavor. It’s also is known as a natural antibacterial which helps support your immune system. This is due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Not only can it help boost your immunity, but it can also act as a remedy when you are sick. Ginger can help prevent nausea, soothe an upset stomach, and it can also help reduce a sore throat. Some of the best ways to consume it are to boil it in water and to drink as a tea, added to soup or smoothies, or used as a seasoning.

Source: Shutterstock

6. Homemade Ginger Shots

Ginger can add a lot of great flavor to a variety of dishes but you can also reap its benefits by blending it and drinking it as a shot. These homemade ginger shots are not only easy to make but include other immune-boosting ingredients like lemon and turmeric. Simply toss the ingredients into a blender, and store in the fridge for up to a week. Some would even recommend taking a shot daily leading up to cold and flu season so that your body is ready to fight viruses!

https://www.aline-made.com/apple-ginger-shot/ PHOTOS AND RECIPE HERE: ALINE MADE

7. Turmeric

Turmeric is known for its bright golden color and its bitter flavor. But what you may not know is that it is known to help boost your immune system. This is all thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. There are so many ways to add turmeric into your diet such as adding it to soup, smoothies, lattes, and so much more.

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8. Healing Chicken Soup

There’s something so comforting about eating chicken soup when you’re sick and it’s more than nostalgia. If it’s made with the right ingredients, chicken soup can actually help ease your symptoms and could even act as a preventative to sickness. Our healing chicken soup recipe is chock full of immune-boosting ingredients like turmeric, chicken, and bone broth. This soup comes together quickly using an Instant Pot but you could also toss the ingredients into a slow cooker, or boil them on the stove-top — your choice!

https://www.forkly.com/recipes/instant-pot-healing-chicken-soup/ PHOTO AND RECIPE HERE: FORKLY

9. Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent food to eat that will keep your gut happy. It’s chock full of vitamins and protein and is also a great source of lactobacillus (a probiotic) that will help fight off the bad bacteria and in turn, give your immune system a boost! Here’s the catch, be sure to avoid overly processed yogurts as well as yogurts that are full of added sugar. It’s best to look for plain yogurt that contains “live and active cultures”. Don’t forget, you can always naturally sweeten the yogurt with fresh fruit and/or honey!

Source: Shutterstock

10. Mandarin Orange Spinach Salad With Chicken

This is truly a powerhouse meal. It features not one but seven immune-boosting foods featured on our list! The base of the salad starts with nutrient-rich spinach and is combined with tender chicken, chopped red bell peppers, and a luxurious lemon ginger salad dressing. The recipe provides instructions to create the homemade dressing, homemade wonton strips, and how to assemble the salad. It’s full of wonderful flavor, great texture, and most importantly, your body will be thanking you for this meal!

https://www.cookingclassy.com/mandarine-orange-spinach-salad-with-chicken-and-lemon-honey-ginger-dressing/ PHOTOS AND RECIPE HERE: COOKING CLASSY

11. Green Tea

While there are many great teas to choose from, green tea stands out from the rest. This is because in comparison to other types of tea, green tea has the highest concentration of polyphenols (plant compounds with antioxidant properties). This is what gives green tea it’s excellent immune-boosting effects. Green tea is also a good source of caffeine making it an excellent and healthy option if you’re looking for an afternoon pick me up.

Source: Shutterstock

12. Poultry

Chicken noodle soup isn’t only comforting while your sick but poultry can actually help bolster your immunity too. Chicken and turkey are full of amino acids that your body uses to build antibodies to fight infections. Furthermore, boiling chicken and turkey in a soup will release chondroitin, gelatin, as well as other nutrients that may help promote a healthy gut and boost your immunity.

Source: Shutterstock

13. Easy 90-Minute Bone Broth

Bone broth seems like all the rage nowadays but it’s for good reason! For starters, bone broth can help protect your bones and joints and it can even provide a natural source of energy making it a great swap for coffee. Not only that, but it has gut-healing properties which can help reduce inflammation in the body. You can drink it on its own or you can add it to soups, sauces and more! Most recipes require 24-48 hours of cooking but our bone broth recipe comes together in less than 2 hours with the help of an Instant Pot!

https://www.forkly.com/recipes/easy-90-minute-instant-pot-bone-broth/ PHOTO AND RECIPE HERE: FORKLY

14. More Fruit

Citrus fruits and red bell peppers aren’t the only fruits that can help boost your immunity. Papayas and Kiwis are also great fruits that can help strengthen your immune system. This is because they’re chock full of vitamin C and K, as well as folate and potassium. Since these fruits are naturally sweet, it’s easy to add them to your daily diet!

Source: Shutterstock

15. More Veggies

There are a plethora of healthy veggies that we should all be consuming more regularly but a few stand out from the rest. Broccoli and spinach are both superfoods as they contain many vitamins and minerals that play an important role in strengthening your immunity. The key thing with both broccoli and spinach is to cook it as little as possible to ensure these veggies retain their nutrients. You can enjoy broccoli raw with a dip while spinach can be easily incorporated into salads and sandwiches!

Source: Shutterstock

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa loves experimenting with food of all cultures to make unique healthy dishes. When she’s not browsing Pinterest for new recipe inspiration she likes to pick up a DIY project and use her creative hands to make art or crafts. In her down time you can find her watching the latest documentaries on Netflix or going for nature walks.

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