Sure, you could add elderberry syrup to everything you eat, but that flavor profile is going to get a little old.
And seriously, eating for a strong immune system is more than just adding whatever immunity booster is trending to your plate. There are a wide variety of foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients your body uses to keep its cold- and flu-fighting powers in tip-top shape.
Brush up on some of the foods your immune system loves, here. Then, get cooking with the recipes, below, that feature multiple ingredients that help keep bacteria and viruses (ew) at bay.
10 Recipes to Eat for a Strong Immune System
Afternoon Sipping Broth
Chicken broth is already famous for its ability to prevent (and help cure) illness. Add antioxidant-packed veggie juice and turmeric to the mix, and you’ve got an immune system superstar.
Green Tea Yogurt
Fun fact: gut health and immunity are seriously linked. Yogurt contains probiotics (AKA good bacteria) that help support your immune system. And this recipe incorporates matcha, which is filled with powerful antioxidants.
Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms with Ginger and Watercress
Small studies have shown eating shiitakes daily is associated with increased immunity. Ginger and garlic, meanwhile, are a dynamic duo when it comes to defending your body against germs.
More mushrooms, here, and eggs are a good source of zinc, a mineral that keeps your immune system strong. Plus, red peppers have twice the vitamin C of most of the fruits and vegetables you think of when you think about the vitamin, even oranges. Research shows that increasing vitamin C intake can reduce the length of a cold as well as the severity of symptoms.
Blueberry Ginger Overnight Oats
Where to start? Oats and kefir support gut health, while ginger works its anti-inflammatory antioxidant magic to support your immune system. Blueberries, meanwhile, contain vitamin C.
Shrimp Soba Noodles
This flavorful dinner includes ginger and mushrooms, plus honey, which contains many phytonutrients that act as immune system-boosting antioxidants, as well as antibacterial compounds that ward off bacteria to help fight infection in the body. Shrimp is also an excellent source of zinc.
Low-Sugar Berry Smoothie
Sugar promotes inflammation, which is bad for your immune system. So, with this smoothie, you avoid excess sugar and get tons of antioxidant power, including from vitamin C, thanks to blueberries, strawberries, and spinach.
Ginger Carrot Squash Soup
Orange you glad we created this recipe? The color, from both the carrots and butternut squash, means its filled with powerful antioxidants called carotenoids. The simple two-step soup (all you have to is saute and blend) is perfect for cold and flu season, since it also contains immunity-boosting chicken broth and ginger.
Garlic Lemon Marinade
Marinate all of your meats (or tofu or tempeh) with this simple blend to stay healthy 24-7: The citrus provides vitamin C, and garlic contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs.
Ginger Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
Sip on this before be. Not only is it warming and sooo delicious, it contains ginger and cinnamon, which acts as an antioxidant and contains compounds that are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal.