The immune system is the means by which the human body protects itself from disease and illness. As such, maintaining the immune system is critically important. Luckily, immune system strength and health can be boosted via the consumption of a nutritious diet. The following seven foods are particularly effective for aiding the immune system.


1. Yogurt. Besides being a great source for protein, yogurt aids the immune system by providing the digestive system with probiotics, a type of bacteria. While many bacteria are harmful, probiotics are highly beneficial microorganisms. Probiotics are even necessary for optimal digestive function, since a digestive system stocked with probiotics has a much better defense against germs and other harmful invaders.


2. Green tea. Though delicious in its own right, green tea is nonetheless often consumed solely for medicinal purposes. Green tea gains its health-boosting properties from two types of antioxidants found in the beverage: polyphenol and catechins. Polyphenol can reduce damaging inflammation, while catechins have been discovered to both impede tumor growth and assist the body in fighting against carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).


3. Chicken soup. It’s not just an old wives’ tale: chicken soup really can strengthen the immune system. In addition to a host of crucial nutrients, including vitamins C and A, magnesium and phosphorus, chicken soup’s thick broth helps keeps mucus thin, helping to prevent respiratory problems and reduce congestion. Plus, liquids like chicken soup act to keep the body’s defenses strong by relieving dehydration.


4. Mushrooms. Though there are many types of mushrooms, most help the immune system by promoting the development of white bloods cells, which play a key role in the body’s defenses. Mushrooms are also packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, and possess beta-glucans, a type of compound that has been shown to stop infections by increasing the immune system’s capabilities.


5. Garlic. This pungent food is an effective immune system booster because one of its primary components is allicin, a type of compound that is medicinally beneficial. Allicin, which is responsible for garlic’s famous smell, has antibacterial properties and may also be able to help the body resist viruses. For example, some studies have indicated that people who eat garlic regularly are less likely to catch colds.


6. Oranges. Ingesting vitamin C is a great way to strengthen the immune system because it stimulates the production of white blood cells. In turn, white bloods cells help to fight against both infections and viruses. Luckily, oranges are one of the best natural sources for vitamin C, as well as numerous other helpful vitamins and minerals.


7. Olive oil. Though high in fat, olive oil is still a great means of aiding the immune system. This is because olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, a healthy kind of fat that is good for the immune system. Olive oil consumption has been connected to a variety of positive effects, such as a lower chance of cancer, protection from heart disease, and reduced inflammation.


If you are one of the many people whose immune system isn’t all that it could be, try to consume more of the seven aforementioned foods. Your body will be better able to resist disease, infection, and other maladies; as a result, your quality of life will be significantly improved. Remember, no one has ever regretted having a strong, healthy immune system.