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The Best Foods for Your Immune System

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One of my favorite things about living in Ohio is the change in seasons. I love the warmth of the Summer, but by the time Fall rolls around, I am ready for cooler weather, and nights around a fire. With the change from Summer to Fall also comes “virus season”. This is the time of year that Influenza, RSV, Pneumonia, and now COVID are at their peaks. So, we need to build up our immune systems so we can naturally fight off these illnesses.

One of the best ways to support your immune system is by giving it proper nutrients through what you eat. Here are a few of the best foods to boost your immune system:

Onions, garlic and other white pungent vegetables 

White pungent vegetables include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, cauliflower and radishes. These vegetables are particularly healing to your respiratory tract because they break down mucus. No matter how congested you might be, if you cut a fresh onion in half and hold it under your nose, in a few seconds, you will be able to smell the onion. White pungent vegetables, especially onions, can break through mucus and clear respiratory passages.

French Onion Soup Citrus fruits Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerines, etc.) are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C fights infection and shortens the duration of symptoms. Equally as important are the benefits of citrus fruits for the liver, your main detox organ. When your body is burdened by toxins, your susceptibility to infections increases. By supporting your liver, you are also supporting your immune system. Try this recipe: Frozen Grapefruit Spears.


Cucumbers have a natural cooling effect on the body. If you have a fever, eating cucumbers can help you feel more cool while your body fights the infection. Fevers are actually a good sign that your immune system is functioning. When your body temperature increases in the presence of an infection, it becomes inhospitable to invaders like bacteria and viruses. Try this recipe: Dill Cucumber Salad


In contrast with cucumbers, ginger has a natural warming effect on the body. Dealing with an infection can cause your body to go through bouts of shivering and cold. Sipping on some warm ginger tea can help balance your body temperature. Ginger is also excellent for your digestion and can reduce inflammation, which is immune-suppressive. Try this recipe: Ginger Chicken


Pineapple is high in vitamin C and other nutrients that support your immune system, but pineapple also contains an important enzyme called bromelain. Enzymes are known for improving digestion and reducing inflammation, but did you know that bromelain from fresh pineapple can get rid of a sore throat? If you are suffering from a sore throat, eat fresh pineapple until you feel a bit of mouth irritation. Canned and frozen pineapple will not have the same effect; the pineapple must be fresh. Check out this video here on how to cut a fresh pineapple or try this cool pineapple corer/slicer!

Chicken, fish and bone broth

It’s important to consume adequate protein when you’re sick because antibodies are made from protein. That said, you don’t w3frz3cx74yrcx7h8bvu bk6ant to spend a lot of energy on digestion when you’re sick, and protein can be more difficult to digest. It’s best to consume proteins that are easy to digest, like chicken, fish and bone broth. Bone broth contains protein and minerals that enhance healing. Try this recipe: Bone Broth, Homemade

What not to eat when you’re sick

Regarding your immune system, sometimes it’s more important to know what not to eat. The two most important foods to avoid for a strong immune system are sugar and anything to which you are allergic. Sugar is highly inflammatory and immuno-suppressive. Instead, try these SHAPE-approved healthy sweeteners or add fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. Allergic reactions cause inflammation, which directly impacts your immune system.

Common allergenic and inflammatory foods include:

  • Baker’s yeast
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish, shellfish
  • Gluten (wheat, rye, barley and some oats)
  • Nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes)
  • Nuts
  • Soy

Use of Supplements

I use a lot of herbal and plant-based supplements to help my immune system stay healthy. Vitamin C, Zinc, and D3 are very important to help fight off infections. During the COVID pandemic, doctors who care for the residents in the nursing home in which I work would prescribed these 3 supplements to help ward off the virus by building up the immune system. When my husband and I has COVID, we took these supplements and it really helped us heal.  Watch for my next blog on plants and herbs to fight the Flu. Check out these deals for vitamins and minerals.

Finally, the immune system relies on balance. Any imbalance throughout the body can negatively impact the immune system. One of the best ways to create balance is through the SHAPE Program. The SHAPE Program reduces inflammation, detoxifies and boosts the immune system simultaneously.  Keeping healthy year-round can be a struggle. This is especially true during fall and winter, when influenza, whooping cough, RSV and Pneumonia are at their peaks. At Yarrow Hills Essentials, we believe that God put on this earth all we need to heal ourselves. We can guide you to a healthier lifestyle, one in which inflammation is kept under control, and we use food as medicine to combat viruses and bacteria that make us  sick and miserable. If you are ready to let go of inflammation, chronic pain, and illness contact us TODAY for a free consultation.


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