Even as an adult, you likely hear the phrase “eat your fruits and veggies!” on several occasions, and there’s more than one reason why.

Today, the reason is to avoid getting sick or to at least mitigate your risk of catching an infectious disease.

When you are coming down with a respiratory illness or a cold, there are several ways to make you feel better — including vitamins, fluids, and getting a lot of rest.

However, one thing that can help you feel your best is nutritional and immune-boosting foods.

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of healthy ingredients and immune-boosting foods you need to incorporate into your diet today:

1. Probiotics

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as “good bacteria,” and this is where probiotics come in. Probiotics are beneficial live microorganisms that serve as the first line of defense in protecting your body and bloodstream. Add probiotic-rich foods to your diet, including:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut

There are also probiotic supplements you can take, but make sure you consult with your healthcare provider to ensure you take the right supplement.

2. Vitamin-Enriched Foods

It’s no secret that vitamins have been known to boost your immune system, and there are several foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E that you should add to your shopping list.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can not only help stimulate the formation of antibodies but it can also protect your body from infection. However, your body cannot make Vitamin C, which is why it’s so important to add Vitamin C-rich foods to your daily diet, including:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Strawberries

Vitamin A

Vitamin A can also protect against infection and helps your body regulate its immune system. The following foods are rich in Vitamin A:

  • Broccoli
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots

Vitamin E

Vitamin E plays an essential role in neutralizing free radicals in your body — which can boost your immunity and help fend off various viruses. Try incorporating the following Vitamin E-rich foods into your diet:

  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Green Vegetables (Spinach, Broccoli, etc.)

3. Proteins

Plant-based protein and protein from lean animal sources boost your immune system by generating new cells and regulating existing ones. Add the following proteins to your diet for best results:

  • Chickpeas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Legumes
  • Peas
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Beef & Other Meats
  • Pork

4. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables have phytonutrients, which is a substance found in some plants that can be beneficial to your health and help prevent various diseases. Try the following vegetables:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts

5. Antioxidants

Antioxidants, often found in certain berries, have been known to help fight potential viruses and prevent infections — thanks to its ability to protect our cells and fight free radicals in the body. Typically during times of stress or due to a lack of sleep, your antioxidant levels are low, which is why it’s important to consume a lot of antioxidant-rich foods and drinks, including:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Green Tea

6. Water, Water, and More Water

Unequivocally the most important thing you can do when you are sick or fighting off a virus is to drink plenty of water. Your body’s fluid needs increase when you are sick, so drinking an extra 16 ounces or more of water per day (on top of your usual daily water intake) can help keep you hydrated and fend off illnesses.

Do Your Part to Prevent the Spread of Infectious Disease

While these immune-boosting foods can help you avoid getting sick, they aren’t a fool-proof method. Practicing good hygiene like washing your hands for at least 20 seconds in warm water and avoiding unnecessary contact with other people and unsanitary objects are essential to staying healthy. We also recommend you get the flu shot each season and stay home if you feel ill or show any symptoms.

Together we can prevent the spread of infectious disease and keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy!

If you are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms, visit your local ER Near Me for an evaluation!

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