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By: Julie Mancuso, JM Nutrition

You know the flu season has already reared its ugly head a few weeks earlier than usual if your immune system has already been compromised this year. This is clearly a sign that it’s time to prepare ourselves for this onslaught by arming our bodies.

Although it is immensely important to keep one’s immune system in an optimum condition, it is just as important to do it in a way that is least intrusive and with minimal negative side effects.

But before you rush to the drug store or the doctor in search of a quick-fix to combat various viruses and bacteria-based illnesses, consider more natural ways to boost your immune system.


Here are some foods that can boost your immune system:



Garlic is thought to boost the immune system and help fight infections as it contains allicin. Eat raw garlic often, especially during the cold and flu season. Remember, raw garlic is much more effective because when cooked, garlic loses some of its powerful benefits. Read more about this here.  


Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits contain Vitamin C, and there is evidence that Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are instrumental in killing off bacteria and fighting infections.



Probiotics are highly recommended as many people, including a number of my clients, have experienced great results after taking probiotics. Probiotics deliver good bacteria to a person’s gut. Good bacteria need to outnumber bad bacteria for a person’s immune system to be in top notch shape. If the immune system is strong, a person is less likely to be taken down by an illness.

Read more about why you should take probiotics.


Green Tea

Green tea contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants, helping you to cleanse those unwanted toxins out of your system. Green tea also has the effect of boosting energy, which is an added bonus when your system is run down. Boil some hot water, toss a tea bag in a cup and voila. What more can you ask for?



Honey is hugely beneficial. One, it acts as an antioxidant. Two, it has antimicrobial powers, so it helps to fight infections and bacteria. Consume in moderation, however, as it does raise the blood sugar level. Raw honey is best, particularly manuka honey.  


Oil of Oregano

This one is a no-brainer nowadays as it’s widely consumed. Oil of oregano has been shown to kill some of the bad bacteria in your gut, helping your digestive system, and subsequently, your immune system. Use oil of oregano in liquid form over capsules as it is more effective.


Chicken Soup

Our mothers and their mothers were right: chicken soup can make people feel better when under the weather. There is a good reason why we’ve been told to eat chicken soup when we are ill. When chicken is cooked, it releases an amino acid called cysteine. This has been shown to help the respiratory system by fighting congestion and mucus, which carries bacteria.


Red Meat or a Zinc Supplement

Zinc is integral in the production of white blood cells, which are a defense mechanism against various pathogens. Zinc makes this possible. Speak to a qualified health practitioner regarding zinc dosage as too much can depress the immune system.

Find out about other benefits of zinc from WebMD.



Certain mushrooms, such as shitake, have anti-oxidative properties, which boost the immune system. Amongst their many benefits, mushrooms have been shown to activate white blood cells that fight various invading agents.


Bell Peppers

Bell peppers contain a great deal of Vitamin C, more than most fruits and vegetables. Load up on these by adding them to your salads, and let the Vitamin C do what it does.


Fermented Foods

Fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi (Korean cabbage—spicy and delicious) are enzyme-rich and contain good bacteria, which help to achieve a balance in your digestive system. This all-important balance boosts immunity.


Blueberries and Raspberries

Both of these are known the world over for their anti-oxidative nature, which is badly needed when a person is sick. Eat these in a bowl along with other fruit, perhaps in a low- or no-sugar yogurt, sprinkle with cinnamon and you have a delicious and healthy snack.


These simple additions to your daily meals will go a long way in helping you boost your immune system. Make sure you eat these before and during the flu season to strengthen your immune system.

In addition, don’t forget to get adequate sleep, limit stress, don’t run yourself down, exercise, sweat and eat healthy.

With all these pieces in place, you just might survive the flu season with minimal damage. All the best.


Do you have another remedy that works? Feel free to share.


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