Eating to Enhance Immunity


Ah-h-h-chew! Coughs, sneezes, fevers, and flu is really going around right now. It’s a good time to give our immune systems a boost. Super foods to the rescue with the ACE team: vitamins A, C, and E — along with selenium and zinc.

These nutrients help support and strengthen your immune system and can help you avoid those autumn sniffles. They are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially those with hues of orange, yellow, purple, red, and blue. You can eat them raw or lightly steamed, but over cooking can destroy some of the nutrients. Vitamins, water, phytonutrients and fiber all work together, so it’s best to obtain your vitamins and minerals from food rather than just relying on supplements.

Good sources of these nutrients include:


  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Papaya
  • Oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Berries
  • All colors of peppers          
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Nuts (especially Brazil nuts for the selenium)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Red meat
  • Oysters
  • Poultry
  • Tuna
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products


Adults can meet their daily vitamin A needs with a small baked sweet baked potato or a half cup of carrots. One orange can provide daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin E needs can be met with one tablespoon of sunflower seeds or two tablespoons of almonds. Selenium needs can be met with two eggs, some tuna fish, or one tablespoon of Brazil nuts. To get your Zinc sprinkle a half cup of wheat germ on cereal, on a salad, or into a smoothie. You can also get zinc from one or two tablespoons of cashews, almonds, or Brazil nuts. Oysters or crab are another good source of zinc with a typical portion of 3.5 ounces.