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Top 8 Foods to Boost Immunity This Winter

immune boosting goods lemon and garlic

Top 8 Foods to Boost Immunity This Winter

As the weather turns colder, it’s more important than ever to boost your immune system to function at its best. A strong immune system can help you fight illnesses and stay healthy all winter. So if you’re looking for some good ideas for immune-boosting foods, read on. We’ve compiled a list of 8 of the best foods to boost immunity.

Why Do People Want to Boost Their Immunity?

With winter right around the corner, many people are looking for ways to boost their immunity. And for a good reason. The winter months not only bring along the snow and chilly weather but also the dreaded cold and flu season. Pair this with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s really inspired people to look for ways to improve their health and boost their immune systems.

We wanted to share some foods you can include in your diet this winter (or year round!) to help boost your immunity and fend off sickness as best as possible! Before we look at the specific foods that do just that, let’s talk about how and why these foods boost the immune system and what we look for in a food for it to make this list.

What Makes A Food “Immune-Boosting”?

Food has many ingredients and properties that can benefit our immune system in one way or another. When looking for an immunity-boosting food, we want to find one with a large concentration of antioxidants.

Antioxidants help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which prevents damage to your immune cells. Some of the most common antioxidants you’ve probably heard of before are Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the mineral Selenium. Each of these will work together to help support our immune system and keep us healthy year-round. For example, Vitamin A helps to improve immune function and increases resistance to infection, whereas Vitamin C helps with antibody production and anti-inflammatory responses. By understanding how these different nutrients work in the body, we can better target immune-boosting foods in our diet that pack a real punch when it comes to immunity.

Next, two more essential antioxidants we should look for in our foods include flavonoids and carotenoids. While they play a ton of different roles in our bodies, here’s the shortened version to keep it simple:

  • Flavonoids are very anti-inflammatory
  • Carotenoids are associated with gene regulation and help to eliminate unwanted or damaged cells.
  • These potent antioxidants are found predominantly in fruits and vegetables. 

Lastly, an entirely different class of immune-boosting ingredients includes probiotics. Probiotics are live “good” bacteria that help us optimize our gut health. Our gastrointestinal tract is the primary interaction site between our immune system and outside microorganisms, so keeping it healthy and balanced is crucial. Many people choose to take these in supplement form. However, you can also find them in some foods. 

Top 8 Immune-Boosting Foods

Now that we know what to look for, let’s dive into the top foods you can use to boost immunity this winter.

Onions & Garlic

These aromatic vegetables do more than just make your food taste great. Onions contain powerful antioxidants and organosulfur compounds that boost the activity of our immune system’s defensive cells. Garlic even contains a bioactive compound called Allicin which has remarkable cancer-fighting potential. To maximize the benefits of these foods, try to eat them raw as much as possible such as adding them to your salads or creating salad dressing with onions and garlic!

Brazil Nuts 

Brazil nuts are an excellent choice to add to your trail mix or snack routine. Just one nut contains over 100% of the recommended daily intake of Selenium! They are also a good source of vitamin E, making them great for skin health as well.


Did you know that berries are packed with nutrition? Their deep colors show us that they are an excellent source of flavonoids. They are also very rich in Vitamin C! Each berry has its own unique nutritional profile, so to maximize the benefits, try to include as many types as possible. Possible ways to integrate them into your diet might include serving berries with breakfast, as a side to snacks, or even blending them in a smoothie if you’re on the go!

Citrus Fruits 

These delicious fruits made the list for their high Vitamin C content. Some popular examples of citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes. While they’re great to snack on, the juice of any of the citrus fruits can be added to flavor your meals or even made into a tangy and refreshing drink.


Like many of the foods we’ve discussed so far, dates are an excellent source of antioxidants. They are also a great alternative for sweeteners when used in cooking and baking, especially if you want to reduce the amount of refined sugar you’re using. However, they also make a great snack. Pair them with some nuts, or even spread some nut butter on them for a delicious and healthy treat. 


Like berries, grapes are full of nutrition! They contain many different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One powerful antioxidant in grapes is Resveratrol, which has antifungal, antimicrobial, antitumor, and powerful antioxidant activity in humans. To really boost immunity, include both green and red grapes in your diet.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are some of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet! They have high concentrations of many different vitamins and minerals and are an excellent source of carotenoids. Leafy greens can be added to almost anything you’re cooking or even just served on the side in a salad. Suppose you aren’t a fan of their flavor or texture, no problem! Try adding them to your smoothies instead.

Probiotic Yogurts

Last but not least, we have probiotic yogurts. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help us optimize our gut health. While this typically comes from cow’s or goat’s milk, there are tons of dairy-free forms available, including coconut, cashew, almond, and soy. If you choose to stick with dairy yogurt, look for organic and grass-fed sources.

Wrapping It Up  

As you can see, there are many foods you can eat to boost your immune system this winter and over the upcoming holidays. Our list is not exhaustive. There are plenty of others out there, too. However, this is a great place to start! Remember to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and include as much variety in your diet as possible if you want to stay healthy this season.

If you want a more convenient way to get the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy this winter, try taking a daily multivitamin supplement. Learn more about our immune-boosting vitamins here.

About The Author

Jirina is a Registered Health and Nutrition Counselor™ with She also works as a naturopathic doctor’s assistant & sees clients one-on-one for nutritional counseling. Her specialty is plant-based nutrition, but she works with many clients dealing with chronic diseases such as diabetes & cancer as well. 

Jirina has completed diplomas in both Human Kinetics/Exercise Science and Holistic Nutrition & Health Coaching, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. She is also currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

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