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What are some foods that boost immunity?

Your immune system is responsible for helping fight off everything from the common cold to cancer -- a tall order!

Send in some reinforcements so it doesn't get battle fatigue. Here are four foods your immune system loves.

Oranges, yogurt, tea and pumpkin seeds are the order of the day when it comes to giving your immune system a treat, according to Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD, authors of the best-selling (and now newly expanded and updated) YOU: The Owner's Manual. Here's how these four superfoods help:
  • Oranges are chock-full of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin that helps your immune system fend off disease-causing invaders. Other good C options are bell peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe and broccoli. Or take 400 milligrams of vitamin C three times daily.
  • Yogurt (unpasteurized) contains Lactobacillus acidophilus -- a healthy bacterium that helps thwart fungus-related infections. Or take a 20-milligram acidophilus supplement twice daily.
  • Tea is full of flavonoids, powerful vitamin-like substances that reduce immune-system aging. You'll also find them in oats, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, apples and berries.
  • Pumpkin seeds are great year-round, not just at Halloween, because they contain zinc -- a nutrient that's been shown to help reduce the average length of the common cold. 
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Many foods and beverages have been connected with improving your immune system, such as oranges, yogurt and tea to name a few. One lesser known ingredient found to improve your immune system is larch arabinogalactan, which is found in various fruits and vegetables. Larch arabinogalactan is a plant-based carbohydrate shown to have immune-enhancing properties when consumed in the diet. It is found in small amounts in common fruits and vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, radishes, wheat and pears. Alternatively, supplements provide a convenient way to get your daily dose of larch arabinogalactan.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.