Boosting your immune system

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Now is the time to eat that rainbow of colours to brighten up your winter days after the sparkle of Christmas festivity has passed by. Research shows that the nutrients vital for supporting the immune system called antioxidants, are contained in the bright colours of fruits and vegetables. Eg beta carotene in carrots, carotenoids are the yellow, orange and red pigments in peppers, sweet potato and beetroot, and anthocyanins in blueberries and ellagic acid in cherries. Make warm soups with them or bright healthy salads or just stir fry them and add to coconut milk and Thai curry paste to spice up your life! But seriously, to fight those winter colds and keep away virus’s, make sure you are eating at least your 7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Other Foods that boost the immune system
1. Yoghurt – the probiotics (live active cultures) in yoghurt are healthy bacteria that help keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease causing germs.
2. Oats/barley – contain beta glucan which is a fibre with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities. This boots immunity and speeds wound healing.
3. Garlic – contains allicin which fights bacteria and infection
4. Fish – selenium in shellfish in particular helps white blood cells produce proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body
5. Tea – contains an amino acid which is responsible for immune boots in black and green tea.
6. Beef – contains zinc which is important for the development of white blood cells
7. Sweet potatoes – contain vitamin A which helps with the production of connective tissue in the skin
8. Mushrooms – increase the production of white blood cells
9. Cucumin in turmeric


Nutrients that boost the immune system


• Vital in the development and maintenance of immune system function
• In a study of 11 malnourished infants who had copper deficiencies, copper supplements were given and the ability of certain white blood cells to engulf pathogens increased significantly after 1 month of copper supplementation.
• Copper can be found in various organ meats – especially liver. It can also be found in shellfish, nuts, seeds, wheat bran, cereals and whole grain products.


• It is associated with impaired function of the immune system.
• A study on healthy and immunosuppressed people who were supplemented with sodium selenite for 8 weeks, showed an enhanced immune cell response to foreign antigens compared to those taking a placebo.
• Selenium can be found in brazil nuts, shrimp, crab meat, salmon, halibut and brown rice.


• Children who are mildly deficient in Vitamin A have a higher risk of respiratory disease, diarrhoea and mortality from infectious disease compared to children who are sufficient.
• Vitamin A supplementation decreases severity and incidence of deaths related to diarrhoea and measles in developing countries where deficiency is common.
• The vitamin can be found in cod liver oil, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs, butter and sweet potatoes.


• It is vital in the formation of antibodies
• Lowers the risk of contracting upper respiratory tract infections, especially the common cold however has no effect on lung infections
• Can be found in olive oil, soybean oil, corn oil, carrots and almonds


• Zinc maintains the integrity of the immune system
• Zinc deficient people have an increased susceptibility to a variety of infectious agents.
• There is also an increased susceptibility to infectious disease in children like diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria.
• The elderly are vulnerable to zinc deficiency
• It’s a good excuse to have oysters, crab meat, beef, pork and milk !


• The use of Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Lactobacillus Bifidus stimulates the immune system by stimulating bacteria are vital to the health of the entire Gut. By rebalancing the gut with ‘good’ bacteria it keeps the balance of the yeast and other bacteria at a manageable level and filters out toxins before they enter into the blood stream via the intestinal wall. Eg use a probiotic yoghurt on your breakfast or for a snack.



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