A well-functioning immune system is crucial for survival as it vigilantly looks out for signs of danger. Consuming immunity foods is a way to boost the activity of our body’s defence system, ensuring one stays healthy to fight back in case of harmful attacks from dangerous toxins. Let’s find out what the top foods to improve immunity. 

7 Foods That Fight Back: Immunity boosting food


While it is common to feel under the weather once in a while, what’s important is how fast and how efficiently our body fights back the triggers. This is where the role of our immune system steps in, which is a large network of organs and cells that act as a defence tool to protect us from toxins and infections. 

By including foods that boost immune system, we can further ensure we are well guarded and equipped by strong warriors to tussle any harmful infection that could potentially impair optimum health.

Nutrients for strong immunity

  1. Vitamin C: Our body generates reactive and harmful atoms called free radicals that must be stabilised before they can cause damage to the organs in our body. One way to neutralise these harmful free radicals is by including foods in the diet that have the ability to act as antioxidants. Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient and can donate electrons. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C is a contributor to the immune defence and can also help to kill harmful microorganisms.
  2. Vitamin D: Innate immunity refers to the defence mechanism with which a person was born, it is an in-built or natural immunity. Vitamin D plays a role in the innate response of the body and is responsive to dangerous microbes. 
  3. Vitamin A: Epithelium is the layer of cells that covers the surface of organisms and acts as the “front line” of defence against attack. Vitamin A is the nutrient that is required for the maturation of epithelial cells in order for them to function efficiently in protecting the body. 
  4. Zinc: Zinc has several roles to play in bolstering immunity. It acts as a protective barrier for our skin and monitors the genes inside the lymphocytes - which are a type of white blood cell (WBC) and belong to the immune system. It is also important for the development of natural killer cells in the body. 
  5. Selenium: Selenium is a trace mineral, required in small amounts. It forms a part of selenoproteins, which act as antioxidants and help reduce the burden of free radicals. Selenium is known to influence inflammation, immune responses and can also protect against certain pathogens.
  6. Glutamine: Glutamine is an amino acid. Amino acids are referred to as the building blocks of proteins. Glutamine is required for immune cell proliferation - which is the process by which the cells rapidly multiply to combat the infection. It has been observed that in cases of infection, the immune cells consume high levels of glutamine in order to fight the toxins.

Food to increase immunity

  1. Broccoli: As a part of immunity foods, broccoli florets may protect against a declining immunity associated with ageing. Sulforaphane is the chemical in broccoli that fights against the injurious effects of disease-causing substances called free radicals.
  2. Spinach: The leaves of spinach contain thykamine, a botanical extract known to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has the ability to regulate the function of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell), and may be considered food for WBC increase. Spinach also has anti-stress properties and can increase the levels of the important amino acid, glutamine, thus becoming an immunity booster vegetable.
  3. Citrus fruits: The immune system is necessary to provide protection against several pathogenic organisms. This is why a weak immune system can increase the chances of being vulnerable to infections that may turn severe. Since citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and sweet limes help to strengthen the immune barrier, they are considered immunity boosting foods. The bioactive substances in these fruits that categorise them under foods to improve immunity include hesperidin, narirutin, and naringin, which are anti-inflammatory in nature. It is also learned that consuming orange juice daily can reduce inflammation. 
  4. Grapes and Blueberries: Grapes contain resveratrol and pterostilbene is a compound found in blueberries, both of which are known to boost the innate or natural immunity of our body. They work along with vitamin D to bolster the activity of the immune system. 
  5. Pomegranate: Pomegranates can be consumed as food to increase immunity, as they contain ellagic acid and tannins that demonstrate antimicrobial activity. It is also known to suppress dental bacteria and infection.
  6. Ginger: Ginger has long been used for its medicinal properties, and may be considered one of the immunity boosting Indian foods due to its wide use in our culture. Ginger’s health-promoting effects are due to the presence of plant ingredients like gingerols, shogaols, and parasols. It is supposed to have an immunonutrition property, which is the ability to enhance our body’s defence mechanism through the consumption of immunity boosting foods. 
  7. Green tea: Green tea is an immunity boosting food for adults and can act as an antioxidant, fighting against dangerous free radicals. The catechins present in the tea can also help modify the immune system in the case of a disease where its activity is under threat. 


Food is considered medicine, and the consumption of immunity boosting foods can help act as the first line of defence to protect the body from harmful infections. The functional ingredients present in several plant sources are gaining limelight for their role in improving overall wellness and ensuring our system does not succumb to any harmful organism that could threaten to weaken the state of wellbeing.