5 Powerful Foods that Boost the Immune System

By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis

The produce isle is my all-time favorite place to go to boost the immune system.  Brightly colored produce is the bomb diggity and will keep your immune system from crashing.  Is adding an apple a day really a way to keep the doctor away?

In a word, yes.

If you have been to our fitness camp you have heard me talk about something that is super SAD – the Standard American Diet – 3 out of 4 American’s don’t eat a single piece of fruit a day.  Nine out of ten don’t reach the minimum daily intake of veggies and 96% do not get 3 servings of greens each week.

What does this mean?  We eat a ton of processed crap that destroys our bodies, causes us to gain weight and wrecks our immune system.  Fruits and veggies provide a synergistic effect that help our bodies heal and that is the simple truth.

Fresh or frozen?  Conventional or organic?  In a nutshell, it doesn’t matter, just start eating more fruits and veggies and we can work on the details later!

Here are 5 of my favorite incredibly powerful foods that will boost your immune system.

Cruciferous veggies – Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussel’s sprouts, chard and arugula.  Keep purple cabbage in the fridge to cruciferize every meal.  Use it as a garnish by the handful.  It’s sweet crunch is super cheap and has more antioxidants per dollar than anything else in the produce isle.

The compounds found in cruciferous veggies provide the building blocks for our bodies to create glutathione, our livers #1 antioxidant.  The fiber keeps your sewer system moving right along.  Combine both of these effects and guess what you get?  A healthier you!

Garlic and onion – Did you know this garlic is so cool that the World Health Organization recommends people eat 1 clove of fresh garlic per day?  In a test of vegetable extracts being dripped on cancer cells in petri dishes, guess which foods had the best cancer-preventing potential?  Cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, kale) and allium (garlic, leek, onion, shallot).  The single most effective was garlic alone.

I realize that I am referencing work regarding cancer and not necessarily the immune system, but they are quite similar.  The immune system is what takes care of invading cancer cells.  A strong immune system keeps you strengthened against viruses, bacteria, and cancer.

Bone Broth – I understand this doesn’t come from the produce isle but when put with the rainbow of love from the produce isle you create an extra powerful meal for your immune system.

Bone broth is not ground up bones, it is broth made from simmering bones for a long time, using low heat and a little bit of acid (usually apple cider vinegar). This broth is rich in the amino acids that repair damage in our intestines that has come as a result of eating a ton of sugar, processed foods, stress, antibiotics, alcohol, smoking and medications. A single cup of bone broth can have 7-10 grams of protein, bouillon will have zero.

Ginger – Why is ginger so good for you?  It contains several powerful compounds that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds.  It’s outstanding as a tea or used in foods.  Grate it with a micro planer so your picky people don’t even notice it.

Protein – Most of us do get enough protein but the elderly and vegan population do not always get adequate amounts.  Protein is critical for immune function.  And it keeps us full longer, so we stay out of the heavily processed snacks that are hiding behind our cupboard doors.

Can you guess where this is headed?  Check out the simple soup that was just created. Chicken bone broth loaded with garlic onions, cabbage and protein kicked up another notch with ginger? Comfort food that will strengthen your immune system and can keep you up and running like a champ.


Stay Healthy Friends!