Immunity Boosting Foods: Fight the Flu and Infection With Your Diet!

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

immunity boosting foods

Believe it or not, but there are immunity-boosting foods that are highly effective for many different illnesses and diseases.

Eating the right foods and taking other steps to strengthen your immune system reduces time spent feeling sick and improves your quality of life!

Immunity-boosting foods are those that strengthen your body's immune system by providing key nutrients proven to lessen the risk of severe illnesses and diseases.

Examples of immune system-boosting nutrients include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Folate
  • Protein
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Beta carotene
  • Probiotics

Choose foods rich in these nutrients whenever you can to fight off illnesses and diseases naturally!

Keep reading to find out what immunity-boosting foods are highly effective for fighting the flu, COVID, other illnesses, and even chronic diseases!

Learn about the immune system and what you can do to increase your immune strength!


Top 11 Immunity-Boosting Foods

Consider adding the following top 11 immunity-boosting foods to your meal plan to stay as healthy as possible!

Orange and Red Fruits

You probably know that vitamin C is an immunity-boosting nutrient.

What better way to consume a daily dose of vitamin C than by eating orange and red fruits?

One medium orange provides nearly 78% of the daily value of vitamin C for men. 100% orange juice is another excellent source of vitamin C, though it contains less fiber than oranges.

Papayas, strawberries, and cantaloupe are fruits within the same color family that provide rich sources of disease-fighting C or vitamin A.

Aim to eat about 2-3 servings of fruit daily to round out a well-balanced, immune-strengthening menu.

Kiwi Fruit

Kiwi fruit is packed with immune-strengthening nutrients.

In fact, one kiwi fruit contains 71-85% of the daily value of vitamin C.

Eat kiwi fruit for breakfast or between meals to increase vitamin C, as well as fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and other micronutrients.

Top Greek yogurt with kiwi fruit, eat it as a snack between meals, or add kiwi fruit to immune-boosting smoothies.

Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood are immune boosters for numerous reasons.

These foods are packed with high-quality protein, as well as zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamin D.

Fish and seafood are also healthy for your heart, reducing the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease when eaten in place of processed meats or high-fat cuts of red meat.

Combine fish and seafood with a variety of fruits and vegetables to maximize health and wellness.

Aim to fill 1/4 of your plate of food with fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, or other protein-rich options as part of a well-balanced immune-boosting meal plan.


Yogurt is an immunity-boosting food that's often referred to as a superfood.

It's packed with protein and probiotics, which studies show support a strong immune system.

Yogurt is also an excellent source of immune-enhancing vitamin D and zinc.

Choose Greek yogurt for an extra boost of protein and less sugar than traditional yogurt.

Eat Greek yogurt for breakfast, before or after workouts, or between meals as a snack topped with berries, papaya, or kiwi fruit.

You can also add Greek yogurt to immunity-boosting smoothies.

Red and Orange Vegetables

The reason red and orange veggies are immunity-boosting foods is that they are rich in beta carotene, vitamin A, or vitamin C.

Examples of red and orange veggies include red peppers, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin.

Vegetable juices are also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, or both of these immunity-boosting nutrients.

Fill half of each plate of food with non-starchy vegetables and the other half with protein foods plus starchy vegetables or whole grains.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Green Vegetables

The reason green vegetables are immunity-boosting foods is that they're packed with folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene.

Examples of nutrient-packed green vegetables include spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, asparagus, green beans, and broccoli.

Eat green vegetables as part of an immune-boosting meal plan by sautéing them, eating them fresh, adding green veggies to salads, or mixing dried veggie powders into nutrient-dense smoothies.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are loaded with immune-boosting vitamin E, a superior antioxidant that helps your body fight infections.

Many nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, zinc, fiber, heart-healthy fats, and other essential nutrients.

Eat nuts and seeds as a snack between meals, add nut butter to smoothies, dip fresh veggies or fruits in nut butter, or add nuts to salads, rice dishes, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, or whole-grain cereals.

Chicken Soup

Mom and grandma were right!

The benefits of eating chicken soup to stay healthy or recover faster from illnesses aren't just myths.

According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, ingredients in chicken soup, including turmeric, vegetables, chicken, garlic, ginger, and N-acetylcysteine, help strengthen your immune system and reduce the severity of respiratory infections.

Eat hearty chicken soup containing skinless chicken and vegetables to your weekly menus — especially when you feel under the weather.


Chicken, turkey, and duck are lean sources of immunity-boosting protein, as well as iron, selenium, zinc, and other essential nutrients.

Eat plenty of protein by filling about 1/4 of each plate of food with poultry, fish, seafood, or other protein-rich options.

Grill or bake poultry. You can add it to kabobs, soups, salads, casseroles, and rice or pasta dishes.


Turmeric, a nutritious spice used to season meals, is also an immunity-boosting food.

Studies show that turmeric helps treat inflammatory diseases and enhances immune system functioning.

Consider adding turmeric to frittatas, veggies, rice dishes, soups, smoothies, and more!

Green Tea

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, so it's no surprise that it helps keep your immune system strong.

Research shows that components in green tea are beneficial for immune-related health problems by reducing the risk of cancer, other diseases, and inflammation.

Drink green tea in the morning during breakfast, between meals, or as an ingredient in immunity-boosting smoothies!

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Other Ways to Boost Your Immune System

In addition to consuming immunity-boosting foods regularly, other ways to keep your immune system strong include:

Exercise Regularly, but Don't Overtrain

Exercising daily, or most days of the week, is an excellent way to build up strength, endurance, and your immune system.

But avoid overtraining, let your body recover properly after workouts, and eat plenty of immunity-boosting foods.

Prioritize Your Sleep

Insufficient sleep is a surefire way to weaken your immune system.

In addition to eating immunity-boosting foods often, get at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night.

Set a regular bedtime and sleep in a quiet, cool, dark room.

Limit or Avoid Unhealthy Foods

Eating unhealthy foods can fill you up with empty calories, making you less likely to get the immunity-boosting foods and nutrients your body craves.

Limit or avoid highly processed foods, especially processed meats (hot dogs, ham, deli meats, regular bacon, sausage, etc.), sweets, and sugar-sweetened drinks.

Steer clear of white bread, other refined grains, and fried foods as much as possible.

Use Caution with Alcohol

Studies show that alcohol, particularly excess alcohol consumption, contributes to a weak immune system and a higher risk of pneumonia, acute respiratory stress syndrome (ARDS), certain cancers, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), sepsis, postoperative complications, and poor healing.

Limit alcohol as much as possible or avoid it altogether to maximize immune system functioning.

Don't Smoke

Smoking is harmful to your immune system, making you more susceptible to becoming ill or developing a disease.

If you're a smoker, quit on your own or seek help from a smoking cessation program or your doctor.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Properly Manage Chronic Diseases

If you have a chronic disease, such as diabetes or arthritis, it's important to properly manage your condition to reduce the chance of inflammation, infections, and slow healing.

Ask your doctor how to best manage chronic diseases.

You might make healthy lifestyle changes, take medications or supplements, or need more than one type of treatment.

Minimize Stress

If you struggle with ongoing (chronic) stress, reduce stress as much as possible to maximize immune system functioning.

Research shows that ongoing stress suppresses the immune system and increases your risk of inflammation, cancer, and poor healing.

If stress gets the best of you, consider relaxation techniques like meditation, massage, yoga, going for a walk, spending time outdoors, or taking a vacation.

Be Mindful of Medications

Only take medications when necessary and as directed by your doctor, as some medicines weaken the immune system.

Ask your doctor if your current medications affect immunity and if you can take fewer medicines in favor of healthy lifestyle changes.

Take Multivitamin Supplements

Despite eating plenty of immunity-boosting foods, it's important to also take a multivitamin supplement as directed by your doctor.

Doing so ensures you get the immune-strengthening nutrients your body needs on a daily basis.

Balance Your Menus

To ensure you consume immunity-boosting foods in the right portions, use the Perfect Plate method.

Fill up half of each plate of food with non-starchy vegetables and the other half with starchy vegetables (or whole grains) plus protein-rich items.

Don't forget to eat fruit 2-3 times daily, heart-healthy fats at each meal, and dairy foods (or plant-based equivalents) three times per day.

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Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results and health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on immunity-boosting foods.

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

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