Antiviral Foods To Boost Your Immune System

What you eat has a significant impact on your energy, your sleep, your mood. And certain foods may fortify your immune system too, helping it fight off viruses and bacteria that could make you sick.

To be clear, just eating the right diet won't make you immune to coronavirus. You should still stick with the latest recommendations for your area: staying indoors, wearing a face mask when you go out, avoiding close contact with others.

But during the pandemic, we need all the help we can get. And it's true that certain foods have been shown to protect your health and have antiviral properties. Mascha Davis, RDN, founder of NomadistaNutrition.com and author of Eat Your Vitamins, gave us the inside scoop on what antiviral foods we should be stocking up on now.

Garlic

Yes, garlic is as good as everyone says. "Compounds found in garlic can reduce the severity of colds by boosting the immune system," explains Davis. "Garlic also regulates the immune response, which is responsible for the therapeutic effect of this food."
Photo: Getty Images.

Ginger

"Ginger has many powerful compounds, including gingerols, shogaol, and paradols," Davis says. "These may help to improve immunity by enhancing antioxidant function and reducing oxidative stress." Ginger may also block viruses from attaching to cells.
Photo: Getty Images.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are packed with nutrients, such as folate, vitamin K, fiber, and calcium. "They've recently been found to stimulate the immune system beyond the nutritional benefits by signaling between the microbiota and the immune system," says Davis. Translation: They help your gut bugs talk to your immune system. I'll take it!
Photo: Getty Images.

Green tea

"Some compounds in green tea have been proven to stimulate T-cells," Davis says. T-cells are responsible for killing off viruses and bacteria that wind up in your body. "Catechins in tea are also antimicrobial, antioxidative, and may help reduce disease risk," she adds.
Photo: Getty Images.

Cruciferous vegetables

We're talking broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. "Some research suggests that a high intake of cruciferous vegetables could stimulate a gene that boosts immunity," Davis says.
Photo: Getty Images.

Turmeric

Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Davis says that even low doses of it enhances antibody responses, an indicator that your body is fighting off illnesses. You can cook with turmeric, a spice, but you can find curcumin supplements at any health food store too.
Photo: Getty Images.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are high in vitamin E. This nutrient helps the body produce T-cells, which in turn can kill off infectious bugs. Nuts also contain good-for-you antioxidants, Davis says.Photo: Getty Images.

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