Foods that stimulate the immune system

These foods may be of importance to you if you have a condition where you could benefit from a more active immune system.


The white button mushroom, one of the most common of all edible mushrooms, is eaten raw in salads or cooked with a wide variety of ingredients across world cuisines. White button mushrooms are a good source of bioactives, including beta-glucan, an immune-stimulating dietary fiber.

Aged garlic
Garlic is renowned as both an ingredient and a health remedy. Ancient Greeks used garlic to strenghten athletes and soldiers and as a component of healing tonics. Fresh garlic has a strong, pungent smell valued for cooking, but when it is aged, garlic becomes almost odorless. Aged garlic is found as a dietary supplement and retains potent bioactives, such as apigenin, that can influence the immune system.

Cranberry Juice
For years, drinking cranberry juice has been touted as a way to prevent bladder infections. Researchers at Sapporo Medical University in Japan proved these benefits in a clinical study of women who suffered from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The women drank one-half cup of cranberry juice every night before going to sleep for twenty-four weeks. In women older than fifty, drinking cranberry juice reduced the recurrence of infection by 40% compared to women who drank a placebo beverage.

Concord grape juice
In addition to the DNA-protective properties, Concord grape juice has immune-boosting benefits, too. This purple-colored grape juice contains bioactives, such as anthocyanins, procyanidins, and hydroxycinnamic acid, that influence T Cells, Other grape bioactives found in the juice, such as vitamin C and melatonin can also activate the immune system.

Chile Peppers
Chile peppers belong to the genus Capsicum, which is the namesake of the formidable bioactive that carries the heat, capsaicin. The bright red, yellow, and green colors of chile peppers also alert you to the presence of bioactives like zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, which each have their own biological activities. Capsaicin activates the immune system and has been shown to increase the numebrs of circulating white blood cells and antibody-producing B Cells.

Brocolli Sprouts
Delicious for salads, brocolli sprouts are three-to-four-day-old plant tendrils that have a mild, nutty taste. Remember that brocolli contains sulforaphanes, which are potent bioactives. Sulforaphanes activate the immune system, and, remarkably, brocolli sprouts contain up to one hundred times more sulforaphane than regular full-grown brocolli.

Extravirgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a critical component of the Mediterranean dier, and the bioactives it contains, such as hydroxytyrosol, oleocanthal, and oleic aid, can enhance your immune system.