Top 11 Foods For Immune Health with Recipes

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I'm a Certified Health Coach, longtime blogger, and host of Elizabeth Eats on YouTube. In addition to writing recipes (I love to eat!), I'm a strong believer that life is too short to settle for anything less than living your best life.


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Let’s talk about immune-boosting foods!

Understanding the impact of what we eat on our immune system is crucial. Our immune system, a complex network defending against infections and relies heavily on the nutrients we consume.

Nutrient-rich foods, like those found in my Healing Recipes and Blue Zones recipes, fortify this system, enabling our bodies to resist illnesses better and maintain overall wellness.

By focusing on foods that boost immune health, we invest in our natural defense mechanisms, preparing us to face daily environmental challenges.

Here are 11 foods and recipe suggestions that can help strengthen your immune system with recipe suggestions to incorporate them into your weekly eating plans.

1. Citrus Fruits – Vitamin C Champions

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are celebrated for their high Vitamin C content, crucial for the growth and repair of bodily tissues. Vitamin C also helps form important proteins used in skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, and aids in the absorption of iron. By incorporating citrus fruits into your diet, you support various cellular functions of your immune system.

How to use it: Add freshly squeezed lemon to your water, fresh lemon juice or lime juice to finish a soup, use fresh citrus in salad dressings, use orange segments in salads, or enjoy grapefruit as a tangy breakfast option.

Healthy Spinach Soup Recipe Elizabeth Rider

Healthy & Vibrant 20-Minute Spinach Soup

Whip up this healthy & vibrant spinach soup in just 20 minutes! Packed with nutrients & flavor, this easy recipe is the perfect way to boost your immunity & warm up your winter days. The lime and mint really make the dish, don’t skip them. Vegan & gluten-free.

baked salmon with lemon slices and parsley

Easy Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon Recipe

This easy baked lemon garlic salmon recipe is melt-in-your-mouth delicious and requires just a few ingredients. Get ready to fall in love with your new favorite weeknight dinner!

How to make lemon water

5 Reasons You Should Drink Lemon Water Every Day

Sipping lemon water is one of the most simple ways to boost your health. Not only is it delicious and incredibly good for you, but it’s also easy to make and relatively inexpensive to make. See the recipe below. Here are the Top 5 Reasons You Should Drink Lemon Water Every Day 1. Lemon water

red lentil soup recipe in bowls with spice and cilantro elizabeth rider

Easy Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

This traditional red lentil soup recipe with lemon is the best lentil soup we’ve ever tried! It’s full of nutrients, fiber, protein, and hydration. You’ll want to make it over and over again.

2. Turmeric – The Golden Spice of Immunity

Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Curcumin can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells, which are all vital components of the immune system. Turmeric also helps in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness.

How to use it: Blend turmeric into your smoothies, sprinkle it in curries or stews, or brew it in teas for a healthful spice infusion.

Turmeric Tea Golden Milk Recipe Elizabeth Rider

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea Recipe (Golden Milk)

This is one of the top Google search results for Turmeric Tea for good reason! Also called Golden Milk, a Turmeric Tea Latte is one of the healthiest things you can drink. If you love this recipe, give it a 5-star rating in the comments below to help other readers.

Ginger Turmeric Bone Broth Recipe Elizabeth Rider _

Ginger Turmeric Bone Broth Recipe [VIDEO]

This Ginger Turmeric Bone Broth recipe is delicious, ultra-healing, and easy to make. We like to make it in a slow cooker to make life easy, but you can let it simmer on the stove if that works better for you.

3. Red Bell Peppers – Antioxidant Powerhouses

Red (and yellow and orange) bell peppers exceed even citrus fruits in their Vitamin C content and are also rich in beta-carotene. Vitamin C is vital for maintaining a healthy skin barrier, a first line of defense against pathogens, while beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

How to use it: Include diced bell peppers in omelets, salads, or stir-fries for a colorful, nutrient-rich addition.

Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers (Easy & Healthy!)

Turkey Stuffed Peppers are wholesome, easy to make, and beyond satisfying. Made with a mouth-watering combination of ground turkey, brown rice, veggies, and cheese, this easy and healthy dinner recipe is perfect for any occasion.

summer salad recipes Elizabeth Rider

Superfood Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Recipe

This Superfood Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Recipe is one of my absolute favorite quick meals to make because it is packed with vital nutrients and so easy to make.

4. Garlic – Nature’s Immune Booster

Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. It is known to enhance the functioning of the immune system by stimulating certain cell types, like macrophages, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells.

How to use it: Incorporate garlic into pasta sauces, marinades, or roasted vegetables for a flavor boost.

baked salmon with lemon slices and parsley

Easy Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon Recipe

This easy baked lemon garlic salmon recipe is melt-in-your-mouth delicious and requires just a few ingredients. Get ready to fall in love with your new favorite weeknight dinner!

Spicy Garlic Edamame Recipe

Spicy Garlic Edamame Recipe (Quick & Delicious!)

Raw garlic is loaded with antioxidants and healing properties, adding extra nutrients to this Japanese restaurant staple.

The key to this recipe is to let the pressed raw garlic marinate in the toasted sesame oil while cooking the edamame to let the flavors come together. The raw garlic is naturally spicy and infuses all of its goodness into the oil, and the chili flakes amp up the spiciness even more.

Between the kick from the raw garlic, the rich flavor of the toasted sesame seeds, and heat from the chili flakes, this punchy Japanese snack is a party in your mouth. (There ain’t no party like a soybean party, right?)

You can also make this recipe with shelled edamame; both are delicious.

This easy recipe of spicy garlic edamame is excellent as a snack, appetizer, or side dish. 

If you loved this treat, please leave a star rating and comment below to share with our community!

5. Ginger – The Anti-Inflammatory Root

Ginger helps decrease inflammation, which can reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may also help decrease nausea and possess cholesterol-lowering properties. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help prevent illnesses.

How to use it: Grate fresh ginger into soups, brew it into teas, or use it in marinades for its spicy, warming flavor.

Honey Ginger Shots (Antiviral & Boosts Immunity)

Ginger shots are a great inexpensive way to boost your immunity, aid digestions and give your body a big dose of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

salmon filets on a skillet with green onions

Honey Ginger Glazed Salmon Recipe

This crave-worthy ginger honey glazed salmon recipe is easy to make and bursting with delicious flavors. Serve with steamed rice and veggies for the ultimate healthy weeknight meal!

6. Spinach – The Folate-Filled Green

Spinach is rich in folate, which helps your body make new cells and repair DNA. It also boasts high levels of antioxidants and beta-carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.

How to use it: Toss spinach into smoothies, salads, or use it as a base for green pizzas and wraps.

Apple Smoothie Recipe

Apple Smoothie with Spinach Recipe

This Apple Smoothie with Spinach is made with just a few simple ingredients, including apples, bananas, spinach, lemon juice, and water. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and it’s a great way to get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables.

spinach frittata recipe

Spinach Frittata Recipe [Oven Frittata Method]

My rich, flavorful, and veggie-packed spinach frittata is the perfect star of a brunch or light dinner. Choose your favorite add-ins to make it your own!

Apple Spinach Salad Recipe by Elizabeth Rider in bowl

Classic Apple Spinach Salad

This Apple Spinach Salad is always a hit! Add some chicken or salmon to make it an entree salad, or serve it as a side that everyone will love. This recipe serves 4; scale up or down as needed.

7. Yogurt – Probiotics for Gut Health

Yogurts with “live and active cultures” are excellent sources of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can improve your gut health, a major component of the immune system. It’s also a great source of vitamin D, which regulates the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases. Always look for unsweetened varieties.

How to use it: Enjoy yogurt with granola and fruit for breakfast, or use it as a base for dressings and marinades.

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie in glass

Perfect Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie

The perfect strawberry yogurt smoothie to help get you through the day. We love this quick and easy healthy smoothie recipe. Plus, it tastes like a milkshake!

homemade coconut yogurt with fruit in bowls

2-Ingredient Homemade Coconut Yogurt (Dairy-Free)

You only need 2 ingredients to make this delicious coconut yogurt at home! Watch the video tutorial above to learn the fine nuances of making yogurt at home.

Peanut Butter Overnight Oats with Yogurt

Peanut Butter Overnight Oats with Yogurt

Start your day with these nutritious and healthy peanut butter overnight oats! Having breakfast in the morning helps get your system going for the day, but let’s be honest, mornings can be hectic. If you typically don’t have time to whip up something fancy every morning, then make some easy overnight oats for an awesome

8. Almonds – Vitamin E and Healthy Fats

Almonds contain vitamin E, which is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, like almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats.

How to use it: Snack on raw almonds, sprinkle sliced almonds on salads, or use almond butter in smoothies.

almond flour scones

Incredible Almond Flour Scones Recipe (GF)

Almond flour scones are healthy, incredibly delicious, and super easy to make! With just 7 ingredients, you can whip up a batch quickly and easily.

almond flour bread recipe elizabeth rider

The Perfect Almond Flour Bread Recipe

This almond flour bread recipe is a top Google Search and Youtube Search result for a reason! Combining almond flour with a few simple ingredients turns into a wonderful gluten-free almond flour bread. Make this almond flour bread recipe exactly as written for the best results.

Almond Butter Cookies

Almond Butter Cookies (5 Ingredients!)

This almond butter cookies recipe is a crowd favorite! Plus, they’re super easy to make. If you’re allergic to nuts you can use sunbutter or cashew butter instead. Adjust the amount of honey depending on how you like your cookies. As-written, these are dessert. Halve the amount of honey for a lower sugar snack.

Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies with red and green sprinkles on white parchment paper

5-Ingredient Almond Flour Christmas Cookies

Enjoy these delicious gluten-free Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies! With just 5 ingredients and 10-12 minutes of bake time, these buttery, crumbly cookies are made with wholesome ingredients and have a touch of sweetness. Customize with orange zest, lemon zest, or sprinkles to match your festivities or occasion.

9. Sunflower Seeds – Trace Mineral Magic

Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. They’re also incredibly high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function.

How to use it: Add sunflower seeds to oatmeal, yogurt, or homemade bread for a crunchy texture.

Vegan Pesto Pasta Recipe

Vegan Basil Pesto Recipe

I’m obsessed with this cheese-free vegan pesto, even more than the original! It’s fantastic as a dip for veggies, spread on a toasted baguette or crackers, or tossed with hot pasta (save the pasta cooking water and use up to a cup with this recipe to make a pasta sauce). If you love this recipe, leave a star rating in the comments below to help with readers in our community.

10. Berries – Nature’s Dessert

Berries, including blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, are abundant in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. These nutrients are vital for a robust immune system, aiding in reducing inflammation and protecting cells from oxidative stress.

Berries also contain flavonoids, known for their immune-supporting properties.

How to use them: Berries are incredibly versatile – they can be mixed into yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies, used as a topping for salads and desserts, or simply enjoyed as a nutritious snack. Their high antioxidant content not only supports immune health but also contributes to overall wellness and disease prevention.

Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe

This easy blueberry smoothie is a staple in a healthy eating plan. It’s full of nutrients, tastes absolutely delicious, and making it is a good way to use up what you have on hand! I like to use a frozen banana to give the smoothie an extra creamy texture, but fresh bananas work, too. Add a few ice cubes both the blueberries and banana are fresh.

You can find more smoothie recipes here.

strawberry banana smoothie recipe

Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe

I love having a strawberry banana smoothie for breakfast—it’s an “oldie-but-goodie” that never gets old! It’s a bright, well-balanced drink that is light yet fills you up without being heavy or slowing down your digestion. Plus, this delicious strawberry banana smoothie is loaded with beneficial fiber, electrolytes, and antioxidants that make me feel like I’m

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Berries

A seed that cooks like a grain, cooked quinoa is one of the most versatile ingredients in your kitchen. It makes a great substitute for cooked rice or grains in just about any savory dish, but you might not know that it’s great in sweet preparations, too. This breakfast bowl makes a great, simple, healthy breakfast when you’re trying to avoid grains and/or boost your protein intake in the morning. This recipe comes together in seconds if your quinoa is already cooked. Allot 20 minutes to cook the quinoa if needed.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe in jar

How to Make Healing Elderberry Syrup

Boost immunity naturally with homemade elderberry syrup. Enjoy elderberry syrup in mocktails and more. This versatile recipe is not just a cold remedy. Add it to sparkling water for a festive mocktail, drizzle it over yogurt, or simply take a spoonful daily for a delicious immune boost.

11. Hot Peppers – Capsaicin for Immunity

All peppers contain capsaicin, known to boost immunity and have anti-inflammatory properties. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which is known to boost immunity and can decrease inflammation.

However, choosing peppers that are comfortable for your palate is important to avoid discomfort. Most of the “heat” in peppers live in the seeds and white ribs inside, so discard those when cooking if you want a more mild flavor. And always wear kitchen-safe gloves when cooking with hot peppers. Fun fact: The heat from the peppers stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your nose, potentially fighting nasal congestion.

How to use it: Add mild to moderately hot peppers to salsas, salads, and cooked dishes for a spicy kick.

Black Bean Tacos and Lime on Plate

Spicy Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce

Add a kick to your weeknight dinner with these black bean tacos, and discover one of my favorite sauces to swap for sour cream. This recipe makes enough for 6 tacos and is easily doubled or tripled. 

Jalapeno Chive Deviled Eggs with Parmesan Crisp

Jalapeno Deviled Eggs with Chive & Parmesan Crisp

Chive and Dill deviled eggs are an elevated take on a classic dish. This recipe makes the perfect appetizer or snack any time of the year.

These simple tips can help incorporate these immune-boosting foods into your daily diet, enhancing both flavor and health benefits. Enjoy!

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Hi, I'm Elizabeth

I teach you how to be healthier without extremes, so you can live more and obsess less.

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