1 FATTY FISH like tuna, mackerel and salmon, beef liver and egg yolks are good food sources of vitamin D, healthy levels of which are essential for strong immunity.
2 VITAMIN C is a water-soluble vitamin, so it’s not stored in the body and we have to eat it every day to keep levels topped up. Eat plenty of citrus fruits, strawberries, capsicum, spinach, and kale.
3 GARLIC: Studies have shown that regularly eating garlic reduces the risk of getting sick. Garlic can also work to reduce the severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness. When garlic is crushed, a compound called allicin is released, which converts to sulfur-containing compounds – these boost the body’s disease-fighting response. Heat can deactivate these compounds but crushing garlic and letting it stand for 10 minutes before cooking can counteract this.
4 TEA: Both green and black teas are packed with antioxidant flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. But green tea contains plenty of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant that has been shown to boost immune function. Green tea also contains L-theanine, which helps produce more disease-fighting compounds.
5 PAW PAW: Also called papaya, this fruit is a rich source of immune-boosting vitamin C, but it also contains a digestive enzyme called papain, which has anti-inflammatory action. It’s also a good source of potassium, B vitamins and folate.
6 KIWI FRUIT: Small but mighty, these fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, and vitamin K – all of which give your immune system an all-round boost.
7 MUSHROOMS: Eat a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks and you’ll have a stronger immune system, according to a University of Florida study. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years for good reason – not only do they enhance the immune system, but they also reduce the inflammation the immune system produces.
8 NUTS AND SEEDS: A mix of nuts and seeds goes a long way to cover your nutrient needs. Almonds and sunflower seeds are good sources of vitamin E, an important nutrient for maintaining the immune system, especially as we age. And eat just one Brazil nut to get your daily amount of immune-boosting selenium. Add in a handful of pumpkin seeds too – they’re a great source of zinc for vegetarians.
9 MEAT LOVERS: Beef, lamb and calf’s liver are excellent sources of zinc for carnivores. Asparagus, miso, maple syrup, and mushrooms will add even more of the essential mineral to your plate.