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Top 5 foods for your immune system

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We often overlook diet as a primary source of immune-boosting power, opting instead for over-the-counter remedies to treat our symptoms. Yet, food is one of the best preventative medicines money can buy. Not only can it prevent a cold from coming on, it can help you get over a cold faster if you get one. Keep these top five immune-boosting foods in your diet to keep you healthy all year long.

Photo by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash


You already know oats are part of a healthy diet due to their high fiber content. Oats are an excellent slow-digesting carb that keep energy levels sustained for hours. But did you know whole grains have been shown to have an immune-boosting effect as well? Lab studies have revealed that the beta-glucan content of oats helps infection-fighting neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) get to the site of an infection and eliminate it faster. Starting your day with oatmeal can help jolt your energy and your immune response first thing in the morning!    

Ancient Grains

For the carb lover in all of us, ancient grains add a hearty and unique addition to spice up a plant-based menu. The flavourful taste of grains such as spelt, quinoa and amaranth, contain high levels of protein with cooked spelt having 11g (one cup) and amaranth 9g (one cup). With a substantial amount of fibre in addition to vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc and B vitamins, these grains are easily digestible and may lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Whey protein

Not only is this derivative of milk protein a great source of essential amino acids, but it also provides peptides with their own immune-enhancing benefits. Alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin have been shown to enhance neutrophil function. In addition, whey protein is a source of cysteine. This can enhance glutathione production, a strong antioxidant and a source of lactoferrin, which can have anti-cancer benefits. A single serving of whey protein delivers protein and a potent blend of immune boosting compounds.  


Just one small clove can deliver more than 100 sulfuric compounds, which help fight and prevent infection. Alliums, the active components of garlic, have long been used to treat a variety of conditions and diseases. Garlic preparations appear to also have a cholesterol-lowering effect, anti-cancer effects and anti-inflammatory effects. Add garlic to your favorite sauces, vegetable and meat dishes.   


Berries provide a high dose of antioxidant compounds including anthocyanin, ellagic acid and proanthocyanidins. They have antimicrobial, prebiotic and anti-inflammatory actions that can help boost immune response. Berries are also low-glycemic and high in fiber, so have a serving with your morning oats, or non-fat yogurt, or add them to a salad.

More Insights: You might also want to check out this insightful article on the 8 main foods to avoid when grocery shopping.

Author: Alexa Hurst is a staff writer for HUM@Nmedia, the parent brand of Optimyz and Silver Magazines.


  • Alex Hurst is a writer for HUM@Nmedia covering Optimyz and Silver magazines in print and digital editions and is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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