Foods to increase defenses


The immune system is the natural barrier and the ‘weapon' that the body has to deal with the attack of external microorganisms that can infect it causing damage to our health. Formed by a complex network of cellular organs and tissues, the immune system is responsible for producing and activating our defenses, especially lymphocytes or white blood cells, essential to counteract the action of viruses and bacteria, protecting us from different diseases.

Foods to increase defenses

Health itself depends on the good state of our defenses, so taking care of the immune system is essential to face any infectious process with guarantees. Leading healthy lifestyle habits, getting enough rest, doing some exercise… are measures that contribute to achieving it, but also a healthy and varied diet is a basic element for its proper functioning. Specifically, there are a series of foods to increase defenses that cannot be missing from your menus when it comes to activating the immune system. Do you want to know what they are?


The best foods to increase defenses are those capable of providing the body with significant amounts of micronutrients: vitamins and minerals. In this sense, citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangerines, or kiwi are excellent allies of the immune system as they are a source of one of the essential vitamins: vitamin C. This vitamin, which our body cannot produce, plays a determining role in the production of white blood cells and the best way to obtain it is by giving citrus fruits a leading role in the diet.


The antibacterial and antifungal properties of garlic have been known since ancient times, in fact, it is traditionally considered a natural antibiotic. It is the sulfur compounds that it contains that give it this ability to fight infections, but, in addition, garlic in its composition includes significant amounts of group B vitamins (B6), folate and minerals such as zinc, three basic elements that reinforce the immune system allowing it to increase our defenses.

If you want to know a way to take garlic with great benefits, we recommend this article on Honey and garlic: benefits and how to take it.


If you want to strengthen your defenses, including mushrooms in stews, sautéed or garnishes is an excellent option. Mushrooms, like other mushrooms, are a healthy food rich in beta -glucans, a polysaccharide that stimulates the production of macrophages, the cells that the immune system is responsible for generating to carry out its protective function of the body, which is It is also reinforced by the selenium content provided by mushrooms.

If you don't know any recipe with mushrooms, we recommend these two articles on How to make stuffed mushrooms and how to make garlic mushrooms.

Red pepper

It is the antioxidant properties that red pepper possesses that make it a good food to increase defenses. This antioxidant power is provided by three basic vitamins for the immune system present in its composition: A, E and C, to which small amounts of vitamin B6 must be added along with minerals such as selenium and zinc. All these elements together make red pepper one of the best vegetables to increase defenses.


Like other fermented dairy products, kefir is a food rich in probiotics, live microorganisms with beneficial action, which act mainly by keeping the intestinal flora in good condition. Kefir is rich in calcium, protein and group B vitamins, elements that, together with the ‘good' macrobacteria that it provides, not only take care of the body as a whole, but also stimulate the formation of cells that are responsible for its defense against elements. pathogens.

If you want to know more about kefir, you may be interested in this article on How to preserve kefir.


In a diet that seeks to strengthen the immune system, broccoli cannot be missing, since it is one of the best foods to increase defenses. Its high content of folic acid, together with the presence of a good amount of vitamin C, favors the effective action of our defenses, without forgetting its contribution of iron, essential for the formation of red blood cells.

Wheat germ

Wheat germ, which is the grain of the ground cereal, including its outer layer or bran, and the seed or inner germ, where most of the nutrients are concentrated, is also a powerful antioxidant that stops the action of free radicals, preventing the cell damage and enhancing the effectiveness of the immune system. Vitamins B6, B12 and C, calcium, iron and magnesium, along with a significant amount of vegetable protein are the nutrients that are responsible for ‘feeding' the immune system so that it works optimally.


Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries… are an extraordinary source of health, especially important when it comes to caring for the immune system, increasing defenses. The characteristic color of these fruits is due to their high content of vitamin A (beta carotenoids), to which must be added good doses of vitamin E, two of the key nutrients when it comes to increasing the production of white blood cells that can slow down the action of viruses and bacteria.

If you want to know more about red fruits, consult this article on What are red fruits.

Bird meat

In the face of a cold or flu, how many times have you resorted to drinking a comforting chicken or turkey broth?… You have done well, because the meat of these birds is an important source of vitamins B6, B12 and selenium which, used as an ingredient basic of a tasty broth, not only will it help to maintain good hydration during the infectious period, but it will also help to reinforce the defenses, favoring a speedy recovery.

Sunflower seeds

Nuts and seeds in general are small ‘capsules' packed with important nutrients for good health, always taken in moderate doses. With regard to its power as a food to increase defenses, we must highlight the ability to strengthen the immune system that sunflower seeds have, since these seeds are rich in folic acid and an important source of vitamins E and group B, so having good defenses is easy by taking a handful of sunflower seeds sporadically.



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