Which foods can help strengthen your immunity?

‘You are what you eat’ is an old adage, and we all know what it means: that a healthy and balanced diet is fundamental to a healthy immune system. That is because nutrition – namely, essential vitamins and minerals - are directly linked to your body’s immune response.1

Read on to find out how different foods can help boost your immune system!

Fruits and vegetables

There are many benefits to making fruits and vegetables a significant part of your diet. Both are good sources of antioxidants and help reduce oxidative stress2, a natural occurrence in your body that is part of the aging process and leads to cell and tissue damage. Fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals essential for a strong immune system. For example, vitamin C, well recognized for its role in the human immune system3, can be found in citrus fruits, kiwis, peppers, broccoli, and spinach. Other fruits and vegetables, like avocados, blackberries, green peas, and spinach are good sources of zinc, a mineral that promotes the growth, maturation, and activity of immune cells.4

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds make for a great snack, and can supplement your body with a healthy dose of the essential nutrients required to boost your immunity. For example, almonds are rich in vitamin E and B vitamins and have prebiotic properties that help increase beneficial immunity-boosting microbes in your body. Walnuts have anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its omega-3 fat content and can strengthen your immunity with vitamin B6.5,6 Sunflower and pumpkin seeds provide a healthy source of Vitamin E, B vitamins, and important minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Meat and seafood

Including meat and fish in your diet can give your immune system a boost. Meat is not only a rich source of energy but also provides your body with iron, zinc, copper, and vitamin B6. All of these nutrients play important roles in supporting healthy immune function. Various types of seafood also contain B vitamins and can help your body regulate inflammation while also promoting the development of red and white blood cells.5,6

Bread and cereals

Wholegrain bread and cereals like oats, wheat, and brown rice are all healthy sources of B vitamins. These foods can help to strengthen your immunity and supplement your body with fibre, a nutrient that plays a role in modulating immune system functions. If you are overweight, fibre can also help with lowering your BMI, which has been associated with improved immune system.7

Vitamin and mineral supplements

If you’re not sure whether your diet provides you with all the necessary nutrients for a strong immune system, you could consider taking a health supplement which has been formulated specifically to strengthen your immunity.8


  1. The Role of Nutrition in the Immune System, Part I of II. Sight and Life. Accessed August 2022. Available at: https://sightandlife.org/blog/most-recent-blog/nutrition-immunity/
  2. Barnard ND, Goldman DM, Loomis JF, et al. Plant-based diets for cardiovascular safety and performance in endurance sports. NUTRIENTS. 2019;11(1). pii: E130.
  3. S. Chambial et al., ‘Vitamin C in disease prevention and cure: an overview’, Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, vol. 28, no. 4, 2013, p. 314-328.
  4. D. Konig et al., ‘Zinc, iron and magnesium status in athletes – influence on the regulation of exercise induced stress and immune function’, Exercise Immunol Review, vol. 4, 1998, p. 2-21.
  5. Maggini S. et al. Immune Function and Micronutrient Requirements Change over the Life Course. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 17;10(10). pii: E1531. doi: 10.3390/nu10101531.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ 30336639
  6. U.S Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/ Vitamin B6 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
  7. Haddad EH, Berk LS, Kettering JD, Hubbard RW, Peters WR. Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with nonvegetarians. AM J CLIN NUTR. 1999;70(3 Suppl):586S-593S.
  8. Gombart AF, Pierre A, Maggini S. A Review of Micronutrients and the Immune System-Working in Harmony to Reduce the Risk of Infection. Nutrients 2020;12.
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