10 Immune-boosting Foods for Flu Season

It’s that time of year again! Pregnancy can make you more susceptible to catching the flu because your immune system is suppressed. The most effective way to avoid the flu is to get vaccinated every year (here is a link to the CDC on flu shots while pregnant), but it doesn’t hurt to stock up on these ten foods that help boost your body’s ability to fight germs! 

10 Immune-boosting Foods for Flu Season

1. Spinach

Of course, this green leafy vegetable is high on the list! Rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, iron and fiber, this one is a no-brainer. But how can you get past the blah factor? Sneak it into brownies, smoothies or tasty appetizers and you’ll be able to tell your friends it’s fun to eat spinach. Really! 

2. Sweet Potatoes

Full of beta-carotene, this nutrient is then converted to Vitamin A in your body and helps boost immune functions and protect you from infections. Roast it, steam it or mash it, then add a drizzle of honey and cinnamon and you have a delicious, healthy snack! 

3. Garlic

Garlic is known to fight infections and boost the immune system. In addition, Garlic supplements have not been approved for pregnancy. But you can add it fresh to soups, dips, and sauces.

4. Bone Broth

Bone broth is also rich in protein. Protein helps repair damaged tissue. Plus your protein needs are increased during pregnancy. A hot mug of bone broth in the middle of the winter is a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

5. Vitamin D Foods

Vitamin D influences the immune system by enhancing the immune response to germs. In fact, Vitamin D is found in egg yolks, some mushrooms, and fish. In addition, it is found in fortified foods such as milk and soymilk. 

6. Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries by civilizations for its medicinal properties. In fact, Ginger is known to fight inflammation and can be used to soothe sore throats. It’s also great for taking the edge off of morning sickness too! Steep fresh, grated ginger in boiling water for a spicy tea, or add it to stir fry.

7. Citrus Fruits

High in Vitamin C, these fruits can protect your body from infection by boosting immune production of antibodies. 

8. Yogurt

The probiotics in yogurt and other fermented foods help stimulate the immune system. Bonus if it’s also Vitamin D fortified!

9. Apples

Apples contain phytochemicals – antioxidants that promote health by reducing oxidizing stress on the body. In addition, this keeps your body healthy and stronger for fighting germs! 

10. Almonds

High in Vitamin E, these nuts can also help your immune system function better by neutralizing harmful chemicals called free radicals in your body. Plus, these have protein, so add them to granola, salads, or eat them as snacks! 

Written by Leah K, Dietetic Intern

Reviewed/edited by Ryann Kipping, RDN, CLEC