6 Immunity Boosting Foods & 20+ Recipes to Make With Them

March 5, 2016

Stay healthy all winter long by eating these six foods to boost your immune system. Plus over 20 nutritious and delicious recipes to make with them!

Stay healthy all winter long by eating these six foods to boost your immune system. Plus over 20 nutritious and delicious recipes to make with them! @jlevinsonrd

Post by Nutritioulicious assistant and dietetic intern Kaleigh McMordie

Cold weather always seems to invite colds and sniffles into your home, even the dreaded flu virus. You know to get the flu shot and to remind your kids to wash their hands, but did you know that you can help fight off infections by eating foods to boost your immune system?

It’s likely that you’ve heard vitamin C fights colds, but no need to down the chalky, citrus flavored vitamin. Just include the following foods in your diet to keep your family healthy this season!


Yogurt is full of probiotics, or good bacteria, that could help boost your immune system and improve digestion by strengthening your digestive tract’s mucosal defense against infection. For even better probiotic power, enjoy probiotic-rich yogurt with bananas, apples, or wheat bran, which contain prebiotics and serve as fuel for the good bacteria in your gut. If you haven’t tried it yet, kefir is also a great source of probiotics and especially delicious in smoothies!

Mixed Berry Smoothie-001

Mixed Berry Yogurt Smoothie @ Nutritioulicious

Savory Yogurt Bowl – Mango and Cucumber Raita with Lentils @ MJ and Hungry Man

Yogurt Parfait @ Food Pleasure and Health

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is packed with vitamin A, which helps keep your immune system healthy by protecting the tissues in your mouth, digestive system, and respiratory system. It also fights infection by increasing antibody response. In addition to butternut squash, vitamin A can also be found in other orange foods like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, and apricots.

Butternut Squash Flatbread with Sweet Pea Greens @foodiephysician

Butternut Squash Flatbread with Sweet Pea Greens @ The Foodie Physician

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup @ Nutritioulicious

Butternut Squash Noodles @ Lively Table

Butternut Squash Fettuccine Alfredo @ Teaspoon of Spice

Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad @ Nutritioulicious

Chicken Soup

Besides being comforting, your mom’s chicken soup really can help you feel better! The warm broth not only keeps you hydrated and soothes a sore throat, but it can also decrease the length of a cold by moving nasal mucus more quickly, thereby ridding the body of the pathogenic bacteria. It’s also been shown to decrease upper respiratory symptoms.

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup @feastingathome

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup @ Feasting at Home

Classic (Jewish) Chicken Soup @ Nutritioulicious

Chicken Butternut Squash Soup @ Jessica Gavin (a double whammy for boosting your immune system!)


Beef is full of protein, which is part of the body’s natural defense system. It’s also loaded with zinc, which plays a key role in your immune system and wound healing. High doses of zinc have been shown to fight the flu. Poultry and oysters are also good sources of zinc.

Grilled Flank Steak Kebabs @luvlylilkitchen

Grilled Flank Steak Kebobs @Lovely Little Kitchen

Steak Tacos with Nectarine Corn Salsa @ Nutritioulicious (top these tacos with this Citrus Salsa until stone fruits are in season)

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Stuffed Flank Steak @Running to the Kitchen

Asian Steak Lettuce Wraps @Shared Appetite

Bell Peppers

Colorful bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C, which helps your body fight off infection by stimulating antibodies that can reduce the length of a cold. It also acts as an antioxidant, repairing cells and neutralizing free radicals that cause damage. One large pepper has more than double the recommended daily intake of vitamin C! Other sources include citrus fruits, strawberries, and spinach.

Mango Shrimp Spring Rolls @Lively Table

Mango Shrimp Spring Rolls @ Lively Table

Red Pepper, Spinach and Tomato Flatbread @ Shaw’s Simple Swaps

Hearty Vegetable Lentil Chili @ Nutritioulicious

Roasted Bell Pepper Tostadas @ Pinch of Yum


Almonds contain vitamin E, another antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals and boost immune function. Almonds also contain zinc.

Salted Dark Chocolate Cocoa Almonds @2teaspoons

Salted Dark Chocolate Cocoa Almonds @ 2 Teaspoons

Orange-Scented Spiced Nuts @ Nutritioulicious

Maple Almond Butter @ Uproot Kitchen

Chocolate Almond Granola @ The Nutty Nutritionist

Stay healthy all winter long by eating these six foods to boost your immune system. Plus over 20 nutritious and delicious recipes to make with them! @jlevinsonrd

What are your go to foods to boost your immune system?

For more tips on keeping your immune system healthy, check out these articles:

Top 5 Foods to Decrease Cold and Flu Symptoms @ Real Living Nutrition

Top 10 Natural Cold & Flu Remedies @ Nutrition Stripped

Protect Your Health – Immune-Boosting Nutrition @ Eat Right

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  1. I love this! Thanks so much for including me in this great roundup- I’ve been dying to make that flatbread from Sonali too! I feel a cold coming on, that may just be the medicine the doc ordered!

    1. You’re most welcome! Well, Sonali is a doc after all, so it’s the perfect antidote! Hope you feel better asap!

    1. I hope you’re all better soon. We’ve had some bad colds around here, but thankfully no flu. Hard to taste these delicious recipes with a cold though!