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Having a strong immune system will contribute to your overall better health and longevity. Here are our top five immune boosting power foods to help you on your way.

How to build your own defence system

We tend to think of our immune system as a single entity.  However, it’s a whole system made up of organs including the liver, and blood cells and chemicals. Each day your immune system works overtime to keep the germs and micro-organisms that cause infection out of the body. It also works to destroy the ones that do get in.

There are certain foods you can eat that will naturally fortify you. These will not cure you of any immune related illnesses, but will fortify your body.

1. Food Rich in Omega 3

Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon and meat like beef liver as well as egg yolks are good food sources of vitamin D. We need vitamin D to maintain good health and  strong immunity.

2. Mushrooms

They are not called magic mushrooms for nothing. This large group of fungi contains the master antioxidant, ergothioneine. According to researchers from Pennsylvania State University, they are richer in this antioxidant, than any other food. This makes it effective in protecting our bodies against free radical damage and boosts our immune systems at the same time. Eat a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks and you’ll have a stronger immune system, according to a University of Florida study. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years for good reason – not only do they enhance the immune system, they also reduce the inflammation the immune system produces.

3. Fruit high in Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, so it’s not stored in the body and we  have to eat it every day to keep levels topped up. Eat plenty of citrus fruits, strawberries, copaicum, spinach and kale. Kiwi fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, folate, stand for potassium, and minutes before vitamin K – all of which give your immune system an all-round boost.  Papaya is also a rich source of immune-boosting vitamin C, but it also contains a digestive enzyme called papain, which has an anti-inflammatory action. It’s also a good source of potassium, B vitamins and folate.

Immune Boosting Oranges | Longevity LIVE

4. Garlic

Studies have shown that regularly eating garlic reduces the risk of getting sick. Garlic can also work to reduce the severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness. When garlic is crushed, a compound called allicin is released, which converts to sulphur-containing compounds – these boost the body’s disease-fighting response. Heat can deactivate these compounds. If you crush garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes before cooking, you can counteract this.

5. Nuts and Seeds

A mix of nuts and seeds goes a long way to covering your nutrient needs. Almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are good sources of vitamin E, an important nutrient for maintaining the immune system, especially as we age. And eat just one Brazilian nut to get your daily amount of immune boosting selenium. Selenium is excellent for you.  Add in a handful of pumpkin seeds too – they’re a great source of zinc for vegetarians.

6.   Zinc Rich Food

If you are a meat eater, then you will get a good dose of zinc from beef,  lamb and calf’s liver.  If you don’t eat meat then make sure you are eating Pumpkin seeds. Legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans all contain substantial amounts of zinc. In fact, 100 grams of cooked lentils contain around 12% of the DV  However, and importantly, they also contain phytates. These anti nutrients inhibit the absorption of zinc and other minerals. This means that zinc from legumes isn’t as well absorbed as zinc from animal products.  Eating nuts such as pine nuts, peanuts, cashews and almonds can boost your intake of zinc.

immune boosting foods| Longevity LIVE

Super Immune Boosting Supplements

If you are unable to get your nutrition from food, then you can also rely on these super boosting vitamins and minerals.  They’re not intended to replace a diet rich in the right nutrients:

Supplements can help boost your immunity.   Here are the 5 most important supplements to consider.

  1. Vitamin C: It’s one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. Want to give yourself extra protection? If you are not eating enough food with vitamin C then consider taking a supplement daily to fortify yourself.
  2. Vitamin D: Most populations, especially in the northern hemisphere, do not get enough vitamin D, especially over winter. This which can put us at risk of an underperforming immune system. Ask your GP for a blood test to determine if you’re deficient. Safe sun exposure is the best natural source of vitamin D, but your doctor may recommend a supplement to top up your levels.
  3. Zinc: When it comes to having a strong immune system, zinc is number one. If you’ve been more susceptible to colds and flu lately, zinc deficiency could be to blame. Note, though, that if you take a zinc supplement and you’re already supplementing it with iron, avoid taking them at the same time because they compete for absorption.
  4. Vitamin E: This antioxidant vitamin doesn’t get much mention, but as we age we need more of it to help protect our immune cells. Vitamin E also supports healthy skin, one of our immune system’s first-line defences. You can also get a good dose of vitamin E from eating hazelnuts.
  5. Selenium: We need this antioxidant mineral to stay healthy – but only a very small amount of it. Your doctor or naturopath may recommend a short course of selenium if you’ve been sick because even a modest boost helps kick start the immune response.

Bottom line

Good healthy food is medicine for our bodies. Eat more home-cooked natural foods, high in the right vitamins and minerals, and you’ll find your immunity improves. You will also feel and look better. You need to build immunity over time, so commit today to better health and vitality.

Note: The above information is not a substitute for medical or health protocols currently associated with the Coronavirus.  This article does not suggest these tips will prevent the Coronavirus from infecting you or cure it. It is important to adhere to the WHO guidelines on Coronavirus: Practice social distancing. Wash your hands regularly with effective soap. Do not touch your face. Self-isolate if you are unwell.  You need to present yourself for testing if you suspect you have the virus. If sick, always cover your mouth. Do not cough over others. Be aware of others and be responsible.


Mushrooms are full of anti-oxidants> Source:

Self-nutrition data:

Bioavailability of minerals in legumes:

This article includes references from an article by Debbie Duncan  BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA



Gisèle Wertheim Aymes

Gisèle is the owner of the Longevity brand and a self-proclaimed health hedonist. When she is not working, you'll find in her in a yoga class or active in the great outdoors. Gisèle is passionate about health and sharing information. You can follow her @giselewaymes on Twitter and Instagram or read her Linked-In profile for full bio details.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.