Fight the Cold by Adding These Foods to Your Diet


Cold and flu season isn’t over yet so it is important to keep your immune system working as best it can over the next couple of months. While the heart of cold and flu season is nearing an end lingering viruses can still pop up causing you to feel groggy, clog your sinuses and maybe catch one of those annoying lingering coughs. There are many natural options available to help boost your immune system instead of relying on over-the-counter medications that may make you feel better briefly, but don’t specifically help boost the immune system.

Diet and nutrition are very important to keep the immune system strong and prevent illness.

Certain foods can also be powerful medicines that can reduce symptoms if you do happen to get sick. Here are a few important foods to consider that can help boost your immune system and prevent you from becoming ill.

Dark leafy greens

Leafy greens are very beneficial for your body. Not only do these vegetables provide good sources of vitamins A, C, E, and folate, they are also packed with minerals and fiber. Leafy greens also contain carotenoids, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Adding a variety of leafy greens to your diet will boost your immune system and promote your overall health. Dark leafy greens include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, and Bok choy.  If you don’t like the taste of these veggies raw, try adding them to smoothies or add them in to some of your favorite dishes.

Fermented foods

A healthy gut microbiome is essential in keeping your immune system healthy. Adding fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut into your diet, introduces a variety of probiotics (good bacteria) into the microbiome. Balanced bacteria in the gut helps support immune system function and fight off pathogens. Adding probiotic foods into your diet can help support a healthy microbiome and boost your body’s defenses against viral and bacterial pathogens.


Garlic is a well-known herb with significant immune boosting properties. Allicin, the main compound in garlic, enhances immune responses by stimulating white blood cells. Garlic also has antimicrobial properties, making it effective against pathogens, including fungi, viruses, and bacteria. By adding garlic into your diet, you won’t only add flavor but will provide a boost to your immune system. Garlic is a versatile ingredient that can be added to a variety of foods to help support your immune system throughout cold and flu season and beyond.


Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and any other citrus fruits support healthy immune function because they contain vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells which help fight infections. Citrus fruits also contain antioxidants that help fight off the free radicals that cause damage to your cells. Peak season for citrus is during cold and flu season so you can enjoy a juicy orange or some fresh squeezed juice and know you are boosting your immune system.

Incorporating some of these immune boosting foods into your diet will help support your immune system and keep you healthy. In addition to adding these foods to your diet remember to stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, practice good hygiene, and manage your stress levels. By prioritizing your immune health, you may be able to get through the remainder of cold and flu season illness free.  

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Dr. Kiera Smialek

Dr. Kiera Smialek is a naturopathic pediatrician with Natural Kid Doc in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Smialek is a specialist in the field of naturopathic pediatrics and is the only practicing board certified naturopathic pediatrician in Arizona.

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