21 Immune-Boosting Summer “Superfoods” to Fight COVID-19 and the Flu

Image of apple, apricot, nuts, guava, and other summer foods

The COVID-19 and influenza viruses can spread any time of the year, including spring and summer. A study[1] suggests that nutritional status and outside temperatures may be critical determinants of vaccine efficacy or viral pathogenesis. In addition to getting vaccinations and following preventive measures, maintaining a healthy immune system is also essential to help fight off these infections. You can strengthen and boost your immune system by eating nutrient-rich foods.

The Impact of Diet on Your Immune System

A study[2] reveals that dietary ingredients are major determinants of healthy gut microbial composition and can subsequently shape the immune responses in the body. Another study[3] reveals that a diet high in refined sugar and red meat and low in fruits and vegetables can negatively impact intestinal microorganisms, resulting in chronic inflammation of the gut and suppressed immunity.

The following are the 21 immune-boosting foods that you can add to your diet this summer to strengthen your immune system.

1. Nuts

Nuts contain zinc, selenium (an immunity-boosting mineral), and healthy fats, strengthening your immune system. Brazil nuts contain the highest amount of selenium (talk to your doctor about how many to eat, one Brazil nut contains nearly double to daily recommended selenium minimum).

2. Garlic

Garlic contains a sulfur-rich compound called allicin, which can boost the disease-fighting response of the body.

3. Fruits

Grapes, citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, tangerines, and clementines, and the tropical fruit pineapple are rich in vitamin C that boosts your immune system. These fruits also contain antiviral and antibacterial properties.

4. Red Wine

Red wine, particularly malbec, petite sirah, and pinot noir contains resveratrol, a compound that helps to fight off viruses like the flu and COVID-19. This compound is also found in certain peanuts and peanut butter.

5. Spinach

Spinach is rich in vitamin E, C, and A, antioxidants, and beta carotene, which help to replenish blood cells and boost immunity.

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain polysaccharides that boost immune function and other nutrients such as vitamin B and selenium that help fight off infections.

7. Blueberries

Blueberries contain flavonoids, an antioxidant that helps reduce damage to cells and boost your immune system. They also contain dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamins C and A.

8. Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are a great source of immunity-boosting nutrients such as beta carotene and vitamins A and C. (Avoid high heat cooking, which diminishes their vitamin C levels.

9. Green Tea

Green tea is low in calories and caffeine and high in antioxidants, which strengthen your immune system. It also has antimicrobial properties.

10. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are rich in major antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamins E and C that promote your body’s immune response to fight off viral infections.

11. Mint

Mint is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which help build a strong immune system. It protects cell damage and helps in reducing your risk of chronic diseases.

12. Cucumber

Cucumber contains nutrients such as copper, potassium, manganese, and vitamins C, K, A, and B, which are essential in maintaining a healthy immune system.

13. Acai Berry

Acai Berry Acai berry is rich in antioxidants that boost immunity and lowers inflammation. It is rightly called a superfood as it helps in digestion and is known for improving cellular health.

14. Yogurt

Yogurt contains vitamins, minerals, and probiotics (live healthy gut bacteria), which build immunity and can reduce the risk of getting the flu and COVID-19.

15. Avocado

Avocado contains antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamins E, A, and C that accelerate your immune responses to prevent illnesses.

16. Apples

Apples contain phytochemical antioxidants, potassium, fiber, and vitamins C and K that boost immunity. They decrease the risk of viruses and are a great source of fiber and natural sugar.

17. Eggs

Eggs contain essential nutrients such as zinc, selenium, and vitamins D and E, all of these are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system.

18. Whole Grains

If you are not gluten sensitive, whole grains can be a rich source of selenium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E that enhance immunity. Many whole grains contain polyphenols, which have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching properties. (You should be able to talk with your doctor to find out whether you are gluten sensitive or allergic).

19. Cantaloupes

Cantaloupes contain selenium, potassium, manganese, zinc, iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K, which help keep your immune system healthy.

20. Guava

Guavas are the richest source of vitamin C that helps in developing strong immune responses. One guava has twice the amount of vitamin C found in an orange.

21. Apricots

Apricots play a vital role in boosting immunity and are rich in flavonoids and vitamins C, A, and E. It is known for boosting eye health and skin health.

Including these foods in a balanced diet can help boost your immune system. To learn more about preventing the COVID-19 and other viral infections during this summer, visit one of our urgent care centers:

Woodbridge Walk-In Urgent Care in Irvine

Fountain Valley Urgent Care

Costa Mesa Urgent Care

Category: Food and Nutrition

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Family Care Centers Medical Group

Family Care Centers Medical Group has provided quality primary care and urgent care services to the residents of Orange County since 1982. Our team of experienced and dedicated healthcare professionals is committed to providing exceptional medical care in a caring and compassionate environment. At our urgent care centers at Irvine, Fountain Valley, and Costa Mesa, we offer immediate attention to minor medical emergencies, including cuts, bruises, scrapes, sprains, strains, broken bones, sore throats, flu, and workplace injuries. Our primary care doctors at Irvine, Fountain Valley, and Costa Mesa centers are ready to take care of all your primary healthcare needs, like the flu shot, physical examination, and treatment for acute or chronic illnesses.

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