There are many different factors that play a role in your health, but perhaps the most crucial is what you put on your plate. If the current situation has you wondering what kinds of foods you can eat for immune health, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite recipes that feature immune-supporting ingredients, including smoothies with vitamin C packed citrus fruits, zinc-rich grilled shrimp, garlicky yogurt dip, mushroom donuts, elderberry brownies, probiotic-providing pickles and so much more. Consider it your ultimate menu for maximizing immune function!
Click on each individual recipe title or photo to find out how to make it.
Want to get your fill of immune-supporting vitamin C? Look for recipes made with richly colored red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower or juicy citrus fruits. We’ve gathered some our favorites, from colorful salads and smoothies to drinks and desserts.
The benefits of zinc, an important trace mineral, are numerous — one being its ability to support proper functioning of your body’s immune system. To make sure you’re getting enough, consider adding more hemp, pumpkin seeds, beans or shellfish to your diet.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants, which help destroy harmful free radicals that can weaken your immune cells. Raw garlic is best, as cooking can decrease its effectiveness. To get the most out of your garlic, be sure to crush or press it rather than chopping it — doing so converts alliin into allicin, a compound that may help protect the body against infections (and vampires, too).
Love them or hate them, you can’t argue with the health benefits of mushrooms. These funky fungi contain specific compounds that promote good health, including One component of beta-glucans, which are thought to boost the body’s immune sytem. Luckily for particularly picky eaters, there are many different types of mushrooms, and they can be used in a variety of different recipes!
Respect your elderberries. Why? These dark purple berries have been used for centuries for their potential health-supporting properties, including support for immune health and digestion. And while you may be familiar with the benefits of elderberry syrup (which you can make yourself with the recipe below), you may not know there’s more than one way to utilize this popular fruit — it just so happens that it’s a perfect ingredient for desserts!
Elderberry Popsicles (+ soda, vinegar and 4 more ways to use it)
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the beneficial bacteria found in your body. They’re sought after for their ability to support digestive health; since many of your immune system’s cells actually reside in your digestive tract, it should come as no surprise that a healthy gut can in turn provide support for proper immune function. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso and pickles, are excellent sources of probiotics.
Chicken Noodle Soup
There’s more than just grandmotherly magic to the benefits of chicken noodle soup. Typically made with a plethora of vegetables, herbs and spices, chicken noodle soup is known to soothe both the body and soul. Research has shown that the combination of ingredients in chicken noodle soup may help mitigate inflammation and the unpleasant symptoms of upper respiratory infections.