Top 5 Favorite Foods For Better Immune Health | 1MD Nutrition™

Top 5 Favorite Foods For Better Immune Health

The right nutrients are essential for a well-functioning immune system. These five doctor-recommended foods can help boost and support your immune system.

By Dr. Brian Greenberg

7 minute read

Last Updated December 6, 2021

Top 5 Favorite Foods For Better Immune System Health

Our immune system is a network of intricate pathways in the body that protects us against harmful microbes. It recognizes foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites and takes immediate action. A well-functioning immune system is critical for survival, but this requires increased energy levels to maintain optimal function.

The only source for this energy is nutrients from your diet. Malnutrition or a diet lacking in one or more nutrients can reduce the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies. Natural supplements and a few choice food additions to your diet can help supply the immune system the energy it needs to defend you properly. 

Top 5 Favorite Foods For Immune Health

A balanced diet full of nutrients is essential for all cells in the body. There are certain food choices you can make to better support immune cell activity to better prepare the body for microbial attacks. Each stage of the body’s immune response requires many micronutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein. 

The foods below are a great way to make sure your immune system gets these essential nutrients. 

1. Blueberries

Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has potent antioxidant properties. A clinical study found that flavonoids like this play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. Anthocyanin helps protect immune cells and tissues from oxidative processes while supporting the activity of chemicals that regulate the immune response. 

Grilled salmon with garlic lemon

Pterostilbene, a compound in blueberries, has also been studied for its role in helping a gene that works in the body’s defense mechanism against bacteria. Additionally, you can find other immune-essential nutrients within blueberries, such as vitamin C, which support white blood cell production.

2. Spinach

This leafy green is beneficial for overall health and contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E. One of the flavonoids found in spinach is quercetin, and this antioxidant compound helps reduce oxidative processes and helps regulate chemicals that cause allergic reactions.

Vitamin C helps support immune cell production and supports the role of vitamin E in the immune response. Vitamin E protects against occasional oxidative stress and activates T-cells that are responsible for attacking foreign microbes. Vitamin C recycles spent vitamin E so that levels within the body are maintained for optimal immune function.

3. Ginger 

Ginger has been used for centuries in herbal medicine as a result of its antimicrobial properties. The phenolic compounds in ginger can help reduce occasional oxidative stress and aberrant immune system responses. Gingerol, the main compound in ginger, has been clinically studied for its ability to reduce the risk of abnormal cell division and stimulate the production of essential immune cells. 

Ginger can also be used as a natural decongestant and antihistamine. The properties of ginger can also support proper respiratory health. As part of a daily routine, ginger can help dry out excess mucus and stimulate its removal before too much is built up in the chest. The benefits of ginger can be obtained by consuming fresh ginger, drinking ginger tea, or taking a supplement that includes ginger. 

4. Fatty Fish

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish such as salmon and tuna are important to immune system function and overall health. Regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of chronic autoimmune conditions that occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body.

Additionally, some specific immune functions are promoted by dietary omega-3 fatty acids, such as phagocytosis. This is performed by macrophages and neutrophils, which are responsible for removing microbes by engulfing and then digesting them with powerful enzymes. 

5. Garlic

Garlic is another food that has been used for centuries as part of traditional herbal therapies. Garlic contains allicin, which is an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. Allicin is what gives garlic a prominent place among immunity-supporting foods. As observed in clinical studies, a key mechanism of allicin is the regulation of cytokines (chemicals secreted by immune cells) to stimulate proper immune system responses.

Eating a healthy diet is an important step you can take to reduce the risk of poor immune health. In addition to these immune-healthy foods, supplemental support with clinically studied ingredients can provide additional support for optimal immune system function. 

BreatheMD: Powerful Immunity & Respiratory Support

BreatheMD is the first-of-its-kind supplement with clinically studied ingredients that work synergistically to support immune cells and antioxidant capacity, aid respiratory functions, and promote overall immunity. These essential botanicals, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals include:

South African Geranium: This powerful herb has been clinically studied for its effectiveness in stimulating the body’s natural healing rate and delivering relief of common headache, fatigue, cough, and nasal drippage. 

L-cysteine: A beneficial amino acid that helps promote glutathione production. Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidant enzymes in the body that promotes respiratory tissue health and function.

Vitamin E: An essential vitamin that has been shown in clinical studies to improve T-cell production in the thymus. When the body’s T-cell populations are healthy, our immune response is properly maintained. 

Vitamin C: This vitamin supports the activity of vitamin E by helping recycle spent vitamin E. It also strengthens epithelial tissue, which is the first main defense of our immune system.

Elderberry: Elderberry is full of antioxidants that can help reduce stress and stimulate the body’s healing processes. 

Marshmallow Root: This herb helps stimulate the body’s healing time and activates the immune system response.

ImmunityMD®️: Comprehensive Immune System Care

ImmunityMD® is a probiotics-based supplement formulated by 1MD Nutrition’s allergist and immunologist to help people avoid the unpleasant skin and tissue problems that can occur with a compromised immune system. The bacteria in your gut are essential to your immune health, and the probiotics work to bring balance to the gut microbiome so that good bacteria can promote immunity. 

This formula also contains ingredients that support the probiotic activity. 

Nutraflora® Fiber: This prebiotic helps ensure the growth of the beneficial gut bacteria at the root of immune system strength.

L-Lysine: This essential amino acid helps to reduce the everyday stress and worry that can interfere with immune system response. 

Zinc: This trace element is essential to immune health, supporting the body’s ability to heal, and helps your body quickly overcome any issues that do arise.

Final Thoughts

Diets that are limited in variety and lack essential nutrients can negatively affect a healthy immune system. It is believed that a Western diet high in refined sugar and red meat and low in fruits and vegetables can disrupt healthy intestinal microorganisms, which is associated with weakened immunity. 

The immune system is responsible for protecting your body from harmful microbes and removing them should they get in. For the immune system to do this effectively, it requires the right support. A healthy diet along with potent supplemental formulas such as ImmunityMD® Plus Respiratory Health or ImmunityMD® will help support immune system function and promote your overall wellbeing.

Dr. Brian Greenberg

Dr. Brian Greenberg is an immunologist, allergist, and pediatrician who received his medical degree from the University of Florida, and completed his residency and fellowship at UCLA. He has practiced medicine in Southern California for almost 25 years.