Immunity Boosting Foods

Immunity Boosting Foods

Immunity Boosting Foods

by February 16, 2015 0 comments

For over 4,000 years, the Chinese have used certain herbs to prevent common diseases. They knew nothing of bacteria or viruses, yet some of these herbs were said to “shield” from falling ill. Both the wisdom of centuries of observation, and the scrutiny of the scientific laboratory are confirming that they were right.

The arrays of plant for the immune system are general immune system stimulators and their possible inclusion in diets could explore new therapeutic avenues to enhanced immunity against diseases. They increase the activity of the immune system but are not specific to a particular disease.

Indeed the immune system recognises and destroys anything foreign to the body, including cells like bacteria and other microbes, and foreign particles including toxic compounds. This recognition and destruction is performed by cells in the circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Here are a few of the best researched immune boosters available in natural food stores:



Jute leaves (called ewedu among the Yoruba and rama among the Hausa) are used as a food source in many parts of the world been a rich source of betacarotene, iron, calcium and vitamin C. It is also said to be an immune booster



African spinach

Spinach, like many green vegetables when used as food helps to contribute to healthy functioning of the body, immune boosting and good nutrition. In an animal study, researchers found spinach was in overall of higher nutritional value than other vegetables tested. It also boosted the immunity of immunocompromised White albino rats.

Spinach leavesWikipedia


Hibscus sabdariffa

Hibscus sabdariffa, commonly referred to as red calyx or sobo, is one of the commonly used herbs locally in anaemic and sick individuals to improve their health and as an immune booster. Researchers’ assessment of its effects on the immune system indicated that Hibscus sabdariffa stimulates the production of various blood cell components. The July 2013 edition of the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology added that the crude extract of Hibscus sabdariffa contain compounds with immunomodulatory activity.



Sweet potato leaves

Researchers indicated that consumption of purple sweet potato leaves boosted the immune response of 15 basketball players during a training period. The 2007 study, published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that it caused a significant increase in the proliferation blood cells required to protect the body from illnesses.

Sweet potato leaves

Fermented foods

Fermented foods like pap, locust beans and yogurt contain friendly bacteria that have a powerful, beneficial effect on the gut’s immune system which is the first line of defense against pathogens, and aid in the production of antibodies.

Researchers, including some at Harvard Medical School, are finding evidence of a relationship between such “good” bacteria and the immune system. But precisely how the bacteria interact with the immune system components isn’t known.

Beer and breadWikimedia

Coconut and Coconut Oil

Besides being excellent for the thyroid and the metabolism, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which converts in the body to monolaurin. Monolaurin is the actual compound found in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immunity. Scientists have established the ability of lauric acid to enhance immunity.

They found that this medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) actually disrupts the lipid membranes of offending organisms. But the best coconuts and coconut oil are those that are unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and are non-genetic modified products.


coconutUniversity of California Santa Cruz UCSC

Aloe vera

For now, there’s no evidence that aloe vera can modulate immune response. Because many different formulations and compounds have been used in studies, comparing the results is difficult. However, there is some evidence that topical aloe vera is helpful for minor burns, wounds, or frostbite, and also for skin inflammations when combined with hydrocortisone. Studies have found aloe vera is not the best option for treating breast tissue after radiation therapy.

aloe-leafterry labs


Garlic may have some infection-fighting capability. In laboratory tests, researchers have seen garlic work against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Although this is promising, there is not enough well-designed human studies conducted to know whether this translates into human benefits. But a 2006 study, which looked at the rates for certain cancers in relation to garlic and onion consumption in southern European populations found that increased intake of garlic and onions lead to a lower risk of some common cancers.



To avoid getting sick in the first place, increase the quantity of tomatoes in your meals. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 10 subjects ate a tomato-rich diet for 3 weeks, followed by a tomato-free diet for 3 more weeks. While subjects were on the tomato diet, their infection-fighting white blood cells sustained 38 percent less damage from free radicals — atoms in the body that damage and destabilise cells — than when they ate no tomato products. Researchers speculate that the lycopene in tomatoes acts as an antioxidant, helping white blood cells resist the damaging effects of free radicals.

TomatoesFine cooking

Hot pepper

Several animal and laboratory studies have shown that capsaicin — the compound that gives chilli peppers their fire — can help stop sickness before it starts. Mice in one study were given a daily dose of capsaicin and had nearly three times more antibody-producing cells after 3 weeks than those given no capsaicin.

Results of other studies suggest that eating food containing hot components such as capsaicin may improve immune status in a study from the University of Ulsan in South Korea.


Hot pepperWikimedia


An apple a day keeps the doctor way. This rich source of nutrients, including vitamin C, help to keep the immune system on guard.



Reports of a Norwegian study indicated that oats grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fibre with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than Echinacea.

When animals eat this compound, they’re less likely to contract influenza, herpes, even anthrax; in humans, it boosts immunity, speeds wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better.

OatsHer Beauty


Selenium, plentiful in shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs, and clams, helps white blood cells produce cytokines—proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body.

prawn shellfishidiva