Being in the midst of cold and flu season is tough, especially if you’re older or have young children in the home.
More so now than ever, you have a very good reason to help keep yourself healthy and your immune system strong now and year-round!
If you landed here and you’re not on the 17 Day Diet, no worries.
This post really isn’t about losing weight, although the recipes featured in this post will help you maintain a healthy immune system AND help you lose weight on a low carb diet.
It’s more about how to keep yourself healthy all year long, and especially during the winter and spring months when the flu is most prevalent.
Citrus Fruits Help Boost Your Immune System
Obviously, there are more than 10 foods to help your immune system stay strong. If I listed them all, the list would surely be 10 times longer than it is now!
Plus, we all know that citrus is great to give your immune system a boost.
Citrus almost always gets the spot light when it comes to a healthy support system. However, there are a few other foods that contain more Vitamin C than citrus fruits, so I thought it would be a great idea to share them on this list, too!
So while I didn’t include citrus fruits on the top 10 list, we’ll give it an honorary mention right here!
10 Foods + Recipes That Boost The Immune System
Here are my Top 10 foods that boost the immune system and my favorite low-carb recipes for each immunity-boosting food to make it easier for you to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods into your everyday lifestyle.
Almonds are perfect for your immune system. They are high in Vitamin E and that acts as an antioxidant and help fight off bad bacteria.
If you find yourself prone to getting a cold every year, fill up on almonds!
Here are a few ways to incorporate almonds into your diet:
- Add 10 almonds to your daily snack
- Top your salad with almonds
- Use unsweetened almond milk as a base for smoothies, granola or high-fiber cereal
- Add sliced almonds to your oatmeal
Almond Recipes for your Immune System
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to incorporate almonds into your every day diet to help boost your immune system:
Berries help boost your immune system because they contain higher amounts of Vitamin C.
When you incorporate dark berries such as blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, you’re also going to benefit from flavanols, which are a wonderful antioxidant that will help you stay protected during the cold and flu season.
Here are a few ways to incorporate berries into your diet:
- Use frozen mixed berries in your green smoothie
- Top your favorite summer salad with berries
- Top your plain yogurt with your favorite berries
Berry Recipes to Help Boost Your Immune System
- Cycle 1 Cranberry Sauce
- Low Fat Low Carb Mini Cheesecakes (top these with your favorite berries)
- Chocolate Chia Pudding (top your pudding with blackberries, blueberries or strawberries)
According to this article about broccoli from Livescience, broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals. In addition to the usual suspects such as fiber, Vitamins C, B6, and V, broccoli also contains a host of other beneficial immune-boosting as described as follows by Livescience:
Broccoli is also packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants. Phytochemicals are chemicals in plants that are responsible for color, smell and flavor. Research shows that they have numerous healthful benefits, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Phytochemicals in broccoli are good for the immune system. They include glucobrassicin; carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene; and kaempferol, a flavonoid.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve up broccoli:
- Add broccoli to your stir fry recipes
- Add broccoli to your favorite casserole dishes
- Add raw broccoli to your favorite salad or slaw
- Add broccoli to your favorite chicken soup
- Steam and serve broccoli as a side dish (easiest way to get broccoli on the dinner table)
Broccoli Immune Boosting Recipes
Not only is ginger one of my top picks as a natural detoxifying food, it’s also great for supporting your immune system during the cold and flu season.
According to this article from The Active Times, ginger contains a long list of antioxidants and vitamins:
Ginger is a strong antioxidant that has been shown to naturally boost the immune system. It contains tons of vitamins, some of which are magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium. Ginger helps kill cold viruses and has been said to combat chills and fever. It is also a great detox — ginger root helps relax the intestinal tract and eliminate intestinal gas.
Here are a few ways to incorporate ginger into your diet:
- Add fresh ginger to your stir fry
- Add fresh ginger to your soup
- Add fresh ginger to your smoothie
Ginger-Infused Recipes to Help Support Your Immune System
5. Green Tea
There’s a reason why green tea is a staple with the 17 Day Diet. Not only does it help with weight loss, but it contains a lot of antioxidants that help keep your immune system strong, especially during cold and flu season.
According to this article from EatingWell, green tea is perfect for supporting your immune system:
Polyphenols, potent plant antioxidants, are what’s believed to give green tea its immune-boosting effects. One laboratory study suggested that a particular type of polyphenols called catechins may kill influenza viruses.
Here are a few ways to incorporate green tea into your diet:
- Add a few cups of hot or cold green tea at meal time
- Add matcha green tea powder to your smoothie
Green Tea Recipe to Help Support Your Immune System
Our favorite poultry, chicken and turkey, are great proteins to help maintain a healthy immune system. These are filled with generous amounts of Vitamin B6, which help boost your immune system.
There’s a reason why eating chicken soup helps you when you’re sick!
Here are a few ways to incorporate more chicken or turkey into your diet:
- Add ground chicken or turkey to your breakfast scramble
- Add chicken or turkey to your soups or stews
- Top your anti-oxidant rich salad with lean poultry
- Keep cooked chicken or turkey breast on hand to munch on when you get hungry in between meals
Chicken or Turkey Recipes to Help Support a Healthy Immune System
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Chicken Enchilada Soup (Slow Cooker)
- Greek Chicken Souvlaki with Yogurt Sauce
- Lemony Chicken and Kale Detox Soup
7. Red Bell Peppers
All bell peppers are good for you, but the red variety are extra special!
Even though citrus fruits are also a great immunity booster, red bell peppers actually contain twice as much Vitamin C than citrus fruits.
This is the main reason why red bell peppers made the list!
Ways to incorporate red bell peppers into your diet:
- Use red bell peppers in recipes instead of the other colored peppers
- Add sliced red bell peppers to your salad
- Use sliced red bell peppers with your hummus as a daily snack
- Add red bell peppers to soups
Recipes Containing Red Bell Peppers for Immunity Support
- Stuffed Bell Peppers (use red variety)
- Mahi Mahi with Citrus Herb Salad over Riced Cauliflower (use red variety in this recipe)
- Chicken Paprikash (use red variety)
Shellfish such as crab, lobster and clams are high in zinc which help boost your immune system. Shellfish such as shrimp, contain an antioxidant called Selenium which helps support a healthy immune system.
Ways to incorporate shellfish into your diet:
- Top your green salad with your favorite shellfish
- Use shellfish in a creamy salad (crab instead of tuna)
- Add shellfish to your soups and stews
Shellfish Recipes That Support Your Immune System
Spinach is another superfood that made this list because it’s filled with immune-boosting properties. Not only is spinach packed with Vitamins K, A, B2 and C, but it’s also filled with minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron.
Being such a nutrient-dense food, spinach helps with so much besides the immune system.
Ways to incorporate more spinach into your diet:
- Use this green for your salad base
- Add spinach to your smoothies
- Add spinach to your breakfast scramble
Recipes Containing Spinach to Help Boost your Immune System
We all know yogurt is a great source of probiotics which help keep your gut healthy. When choosing a yogurt, it’s always best to choose a plain yogurt that has live active cultures in it.
Not only is yogurt great for digestion, it also helps support your immune system because yogurt contains Vitamin E and zinc.
Ways to incorporate more yogurt in your diet:
- Use as a base for salad dressings and sauces (instead of mayo, use yogurt)
- Use yogurt instead of mayo in recipes
- Use yogurt as your liquid base in smoothies
- Top your plain yogurt with immune boosting berries and a drizzle of honey
Recipes Using Yogurt for Maintaining Immune Health
- Blueberries and Cream Green Smoothie
- Greek Turkey Meatballs with Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce
- Buffalo Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt
Other Recipes to Help Boost The Immune System
The 17 Day Diet cycle food lists are filled with immune-boosting, nutrient-rich foods that will help keep you strong and healthy, especially during cold and flu season.
Here are a few other recipes you may want to try for that extra support:
Meal Plans to Keep Your Immune System Strong
Overall, the 17 Day Diet is perfect for keeping your immune system healthy. Here are a few meal plans that are nutrient-rich and will give your immune system a boost:
Conclusion: Boosting Your Immune System
Eating a heathy diet consisting of nutrient-rich foods (such as the ones on this list), drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, taking your daily vitamins and supplements, and keeping your stress levels low, will all help boost your immune system and keep you healthy, especially during cold and flu season.
Spring Cleanse Meal Plan to Support Your Immune System
The Spring months are always the perfect time to clean out your pantry, welcome in new fruits and vegetables and get a fresh meal plan that will take advantage of all the seasonal foods that will help support your immune system, especially during the cold and flu season.
My Fresh & Clean 17 Spring Cleanse opens once a year and we begin in April to enjoy the Spring season together (or you can always start sooner!).
Will you join me?