12 Best Immunity-Building Foods

June 28, 2023
Posted in Questions
June 28, 2023 Terkel

12 Best Immunity-Building Foods

To help you discover the best immunity-boosting foods, we asked 12 professionals from various industries, including medical advisors and CEOs, to share their go-to choices. From probiotic-rich foods to antioxidant-rich spinach, these experts reveal their top picks for maintaining a strong immune system.

  • Probiotic-Rich Foods: Improve Digestion
  • Chia Seeds: Fiber and Antioxidants
  • Prebiotics: Fuel for Gut Health
  • Refreshing Drinks: For Immunity Boost
  • Ginger: Natural Cold Remedy
  • Kombucha: A Probiotic Powerhouse
  • Dark Leafy Greens: Vitamin Power
  • Oranges: Vitamin C Powerhouse
  • Fermented Food: Feed Good Bacteria
  • Bone Broth: Nutrient-Rich Immunity
  • Oatmeal Dish: Contains the Best Ingredients
  • Spinach: Antioxidant-Rich Immunity Booster

Probiotic-Rich Foods: Improve Digestion

My go-to food for boosting my immunity is probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Probiotics are organisms (mainly bacteria) that have live beneficial microorganisms that can increase the “good” bacteria in your gut. This helps improve digestion and absorption of nutrients from food, while also helping boost the body’s immune system.

Amy LeeAmy Lee
Medical Advisor, Nucific

Chia Seeds: Fiber and Antioxidants

My go-to food for boosting my immunity is chia seeds. Rich in fiber and several essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which the body needs to fight off infection.

The high levels of magnesium in chia seeds can also help support a healthy immune system by increasing white blood cell production, which helps develop immunity against pathogens that cause illnesses.

They contain zinc, which helps problem-solving/reasoning abilities and can facilitate faster recovery from colds or viruses. Chia seeds provide us with valuable nutrients without having to resort to taking synthetic supplements—making them a better choice for people looking for natural ways to improve their immunity without compromising their overall health.

Michael AlexisMichael Alexis
CEO, virtualteambuilding.com

Prebiotics: Fuel for Gut Health

Don’t sleep on prebiotics.

Not to be confused with probiotics, prebiotics are a group of non-digestible fibers that serve as fuel for the beneficial bacteria living in our gut. While probiotics introduce live bacteria into our system, prebiotics provide the nourishment these friendly bacteria need to thrive and maintain a harmonious balance within our gut microbiome. This symbiotic relationship is pivotal in supporting our immune system’s resilience.

Integrating prebiotics into our daily diet requires a mindful selection of foods rich in these essential fibers. Among the best sources of prebiotics are foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, chicory root, and Jerusalem artichokes. More convenient options, prebiotic supplements, and beverages have also become increasingly popular, offering a concentrated dose of these fibers.

Fanny SurjanaFanny Surjana
CEO, Quench List

Refreshing Drinks: For Immunity Boost

I take sweet lime/sweet lemon juice daily to increase my immunity. As the heat is very high, it also protects you from stomach problems and removes all skin problems. Most importantly, it boosts immunity.

Second, drink a banana shake or mango shake in the morning; you won’t feel hungry for a long time and it’ll give you strength, and increase immunity. You should never take sweet lime/sweet lemon juice and shake them together; keep a gap of 2-3 hours.

Goyal GoyalGoyal Goyal
Partner, Goyal Steel Tubes

Ginger: Natural Cold Remedy

Ginger always calms my stomach and my mood. When I am not feeling 100%, I go for ginger tea and Thai or Filipino food with an extra dose of ginger. It has been traditionally used as a natural remedy for colds, coughs, and sore throats because of its immune-boosting properties, which can help fight off infections and improve overall respiratory health. No matter the ailment, I love it. Even when I’m feeling great, I never turn down a ginger-heavy dish.

Trevor EwenTrevor Ewen
COO, QBench

Kombucha: A Probiotic Powerhouse

I would say my number one go-to food for boosting immunity is kombucha; I drink a bottle/can of it just about every morning. They are cold, refreshing, effervescent, tangy, not too sweet, and of course, packed full of healthy microbes.

I also enjoy eating and drinking (many of these I make myself) other probiotic and fermented foods such as kimchi, water kefir, natto, sourdough bread, pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt, raw cheeses, fermented rice, apple cider vinegar, and other types of vinegar.

Furthermore, I enjoy juicing healthy and immunity-boosting fruits, vegetables, and herbs such as celery, carrots, bitter melon, greens, turmeric, ginger, beets, cucumbers, berries, apples, lemons, etc.

Lastly, I regularly take a good deal of immunity-enhancing supplements including vitamins and minerals, prebiotics and probiotics, power green extracts, fish oil, resveratrol, onion and garlic extracts, cranberry, echinacea, and adaptogenics such as turmeric, ashwagandha, and cordyceps.

Leo Lin
Department Head and Senior Food Scientist, Carmi Flavors

Dark Leafy Greens: Vitamin Power

My go-to food for boosting my immunity is a daily serving of dark, leafy greens such as kale and Swiss chard. This type of vegetable offers an abundant source of valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber needed to support the body’s natural immune response.

In particular, dark leafy greens help by increasing your intake of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which are both important for immune cell development.

Amy Ling LinAmy Ling Lin
CEO, Nail Salon NYC

Oranges: Vitamin C Powerhouse

For boosting my immunity, my go-to food is definitely oranges! I love their juicy, tangy flavor, and they make me feel refreshed and energized. Plus, they’re a powerhouse of vitamin C, which is essential for a strong immune system.

So whenever I feel under the weather or want to give my immune system a boost, I reach for an orange or make a citrusy smoothie. It’s a tasty and natural way to keep immunity in check and support overall health.

Shaun ConnellShaun Connell
Founder and CEO, U.S. Dictionary

Fermented Foods: Feed Good Bacteria

My go-to foods are fermented foods and plants to improve the diversity of bacteria types in the gut. Eating lots of plants and fermented foods feeds good bacteria, reducing the immune response and balancing the gut.

The gut microbiome, contrary to popular understanding, is not only your stomach but bacteria in all mucous membranes, especially the intestine and colon.

The “good” gut bacteria subsist on fiber from plants, which are not digested well by the stomach.

If you eat a lot of simple sugars or simple carbs, because of their molecular composition, they will be quickly digested by stomach enzymes. You feed “bad” bacteria like BloSSum bacteria (Blooms or Selected in Societies of Urbanization/Modernization). BloSSum eat your gut lining.

When damaged, the gut lining is more permeable, and microbes get into the body cavity, causing a chronic and repeated immune system response.

So, feed the “good” bacteria with plants and fermented foods! This changed my life. Check out Sonnenburg Lab!

Alex Shinkarovsky
Health Coach, AlexLovesHealth

Bone Broth: Nutrient-Rich Immunity

My go-to food for boosting immunity is bone broth. It contains amino acids, collagen, and other nutrients that support gut health, which is essential for overall immune function. The collagen in bone broth supports healthy skin, which is the body’s first line of defense against pathogens.

For example, when I am feeling sick, I like to make a big pot of bone broth and sip it throughout the day. It helps soothe my throat and eases any digestive discomfort I might be experiencing. Overall, bone broth is an excellent choice for boosting immunity.

Jason CheungJason Cheung
Operations Manager, Credit KO

Oatmeal Dish: Contains the Best Ingredients

My favorite go-to food is oatmeal with Greek yogurt, berries, nuts, and honey. It’s easy to prepare, delicious, nutrient-rich, and immunostimulating at once.

Let’s inspect the ingredients. Berries and nuts are well-known immunity boosters packed with vitamins and nutrients. With a wide variety to choose from, I add what I currently feel like having. From blueberries and raspberries to more exotic options, like Goji or açaí.

The same applies to nuts, which I love—almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, and more. Greek yogurt is a significant source of iodine, zinc, and selenium, strengthening the immune system. And, finally, honey—thanks to adding a bit, I can control my sweet tooth and manage food cravings.

Agata SzczepanekAgata Szczepanek
Community Manager, MyPerfectResume

Spinach: Antioxidant-Rich Immunity Booster

My go-to food for boosting immunity is spinach. This leafy green is packed with many immune-boosting nutrients and antioxidants. Spinach is high in vitamin C, a crucial vitamin that aids in immune function by stimulating the production and function of white blood cells.

Beyond vitamin C, spinach is also a significant source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that can enhance our immune system’s ability to fight off infections. It’s rich in vitamins A and E, both known for their immune-boosting properties.

The key to unlocking these nutrients in spinach is to cook it as little as possible to keep its nutrients. Lightly sauteing it or adding it raw to salads are great ways to consume it. Therefore, incorporating spinach into my diet helps me maintain a robust and healthy immune system.

Will GillWill Gill
Event Entertainer, DJ Will Gill

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