8 Immune Boosting Foods to Eat Today

May 20, 2021
Written by
Michele Koh Morollo
Photo by Gaelle Marcel / Unsplash


A healthy immune system is essential in defending your body against colds and viruses. If you’re wondering how to boost your immune system, your best bet is to eat wisely and incorporate nourishing foods rich in antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties into your diet.

If you want to move towards a more plant-based diet, there’s no need to worry about missing out on immune-boosting nutrients typically found in meat products. For anyone thinking of becoming a vegetarian but who isn’t sure about giving up meat completely, researchers suggest a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet that includes dairy and eggs but not meat, a pescatarian diet which includes seafood but not meat and poultry, or a flexitarian diet where meat is consumed in moderation. These options give you flexibility and variety, so you won’t feel deprived as you reduce meat-based foods and work towards better health for yourself and the environment.

Garlic

One super food to boost your immune system is garlic. Since ancient times, the Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks and Babylonians have used garlic for medicinal purposes. Clinical trials show that garlic supplements can reduce the common cold, and that high doses of garlic can also shorten the duration of a cold or flu. Many of Arlene’s plant-based meals include garlic, which may give you a boost when it comes to fighting colds and the flu.

Shiitake

Other foods for the immune system include shiitake mushrooms. Traditional Chinese physicians believe that shiitake mushrooms can improve blood circulation and increase longevity. Used in Arlene’s spring rolls, dumplings, kebabs, gyozas and Dan Dan Sauce with Noodles, shiitake contains vitamin B, many of the amino acids found in meat, as well as polysaccharides, which are known to have strong immune-boosting effects. Shiitake can reduce inflammation and improve immune strength. Animal research using a shiitake supplement found that this powerful mushroom can even help reverse age-related immune system decline.

Turmeric

Arlene’s hearty Kebab with Biryani Rice gets its vibrant yellow color and fragrant aroma from turmeric, an immune-boosting powerhouse spice that’s often used in curries and Indian cuisine. A compound in turmeric known as curcumin supports gut-immune connections and is known to boost the body’s ability to fight off infections by lowering cortisol – the body’s stress hormone. Turmeric is also a great as it can be used as an immune boosting foods and drinks. Next time you’re feeling adventurous try out a turmeric latte!

Tomato

A staple ingredient in Italian dishes such as Arlene’s Bolognese with Spaghetti, tomatoes are a rich source of potassium, vitamin B and E and vitamin C, which we need plenty of in order to fend off or heal from illnesses. Tomatoes are a great food for the immune system because they are also loaded with antioxidants called lycopene, which can help protect your cells from free-radical damage and may reduce your risks of developing certain types of cancers.

Legumes

Legumes, which include the chickpeas and broad beans used in Arlene’s popular Falafel and the kidney beans used in Arlene’s Chili Sin Carne with Rice provide you with protein which is essential in building up the cells of your immune system. “Protein aids the immune system by providing leverage for cells to grow and regenerate. Without it, our cells can’t do their jobs properly,” says dietitian Katerina Melekos. Legumes are also packed with potassium, magnesium and B vitamins.

Sesame

Sesame oil and sesame seeds are used in many of Arlene’s Chinese cuisine meals. They’re a great source of selenium, copper, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E – all nutrients that will help your immune system thrive. Sesame products are a super food which boosts the immune system because they also have a high concentration of zinc which helps the body activate white blood cells that fight off invading microbes.

Onions

A member of the lily family, onions were revered by the ancient Egyptians who saw their concentric rings as symbols of eternity. Found in many Arlene plant-based meals, onions are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, zinc, sulphur compounds, and high levels of selenium, which can help manage viral, inflammatory and allergic conditions. Onions are also an excellent source of quercetin, a plant flavanol with powerful antiviral properties.

Parsley

This herb, which is found in Arlene’s hearty Falafel, has long been used in European folk medicine and is a highly nutritious and flavorful ingredient that’s a wonderful immunity aid. Vitamin A in parsley can help you maintain healthy skin and eyesight, while just eight grams of parsley a day can give you all the vitamin K needed to support bone and heart health.

Helping You Stay Healthy

For flexitarians, vegans or vegetarians, Arlene global kitchen offers thoughtful and tasty meals that ensure you get as much nutritional and virus-fighting support as possible from every delicious bite. Arlene’s plant-based cuisine includes creatively prepared dishes with wholesome ingredients that will satisfy your taste buds while helping you stay fit, healthy and strong.

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