Six More Tips to Support your Immune System Naturally

The Nutrition Edition

You’ve endured “flu season”, scarfing down the nutritious soups and vitamins while wrapping up warm (and trying to wrap presents without coughing all over them?) We may be well on our way into spring, with warmer weather ahead and jumper-season almost behind us but that’s no reason to get complacent when nourishing ourselves. Following our previous blog on immunity, here are six foods with the potential to boost your body’s resilience to illness.

  1. Ginger –Named for its immune-boosting compound “gingerol”, ginger is beneficial in several ways, including its ability to aid digestion, reduce inflammation and therefore give a huge boost to the immune system in general. Ginger can also help with weight management, reduce nausea and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Interestingly, it is unknown where ginger came from as it does not naturally grow in the wild. It is thought, however, to have been found in maritime Southeast Asia. So, why not grate some fresh ginger, fresh lemon juice and a spoonful of honey to hot (but not boiling) water, stir and enjoy when cool enough to sip!
  1. Garlic – Like ginger, garlic boasts major health benefits and contains an active ingredient called “allicin” which is strongest in fresh garlic. It is possible that allicin can help muscles recover after a workout, as well as helping reduce blood sugar levels in the body. This is also great news for diabetics who can enjoy sourdough garlic bread for a low-glycaemic treat!

Allicin in garlic is activated by breaking down the garlic clove, either by cutting, chewing or crushing it. It is also thought that leaving garlic aside for ten minutes after this before heating it is the best way to reap the benefits and absorb the most allicin into the body.

If you’re feeling super healthy (and not attending any important face-to-face meetings the next day), grate some garlic, leave for ten minutes, mix with butter (or a vegan alternative) and spread onto steamed broccoli. Your body and taste buds will love you for it!

  1. Brightly-coloured vegetables Think oranges, reds, purples and dark leafy greens. These colours will pack the greatest nutrient punch when it comes to helping your immune health. Greens like cavolo nero, kale, spinach and broccoli are the gold standard of green vegetables and contain folates, which are vital in red blood cell production. These veggies are also a fantastic source of vitamins A, C and K. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, can help with eyesight and aid the body’s natural defences. (This is why we were told as children that carrots help us see in the dark!). Vitamin K is thought to build bones and defend the immune system, while vitamin C, which needs no introduction, is renowned for helping skin and bone health and is a crucial antioxidant for the protection of our immune function. Other bright and nutritious vegetables include peppers, beetroot, sweet potatoes and aubergines.
  1. Live Yoghurt Natural, unflavoured yoghurt with “live active cultures” is the best kind for your health and immunity. Think Greek yoghurt and other plain kinds fermented with the “friendly bacteria” that your gut will thank you for! Kefir, which has also gained popularity in the last few years, is another fantastic option, with some sources suggesting this to be an even better alternative to standard natural yoghurt. The probiotic drink from Eastern Europe is thought to have as many as 61 strains of good bacteria, potentially significantly more than other types of natural yoghurt. If you’re vegan or lactose-free, you needn’t miss out either! Non-dairy versions of kefir and live yoghurt are available in oat, soya and and coconut-based products, among others. So whether you opt for a granola pot, fruit salad or a simple spoonful of honey, there are so many delicious ways to enjoy the immune benefits of live yoghurt no matter your dietary needs.
  1. Go nuts for Vitamin E with almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Boasting immune-helping vitamins C, E and zinc, these help defend against free radicals while helping strengthen the immune response, allowing the body to better detect and defend against any nasties that may come its way. Peanuts also make for an affordable option with the same great immune-boosting properties and are best in the form of “monkey nuts” in their shells. For the best health benefits, opt for unsalted and unflavoured nuts in their most natural form as possible. Remember that salt and sugars can increase inflammation, making the immune system work harder to stay healthy!
  1. Absolutely bananas though it may sound, opting for one of these fruits as a snack could provide almost a third of your B6 needed for the day. B6 helps with healthy gut flora, which in turn can help your immune response and its general function. Sweeten up a smoothie, throw into a fruit salad or bring back a lockdown-era favourite with banana bread. Rather than throw away brown bananas, use them as a natural sweetener. The higher sugar content of riper bananas makes them a healthy, immune-friendly alternative to refined sugar.


Discover Rio Health’s Defence & Immune Support collection for easy ways to supplement a healthy diet! From supplements to tinctures and powders, it’s never been easier to give your immune system and body the support it deserves.

March 12, 2024 by Rio Health