Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think

Staying healthy involves more than just washing your hands and avoiding sick people; eating the right foods can also help boost your immune system. 

Here are some surprisingly healthy foods to incorporate into your diet, as recommended by nutritionist Angela Dowden from loveFOOD.

Benefits: Adding a cooked carrot to your daily diet can significantly boost your health. Cooking carrots makes it easier for your body to absorb beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A.

Daily Carrots:

Impact: One carrot provides enough beta carotene to meet your daily vitamin A needs, essential for maintaining the mucous membranes that protect against viruses and bacteria.

Benefits: Just 6 ounces (175 grams) of chopped red or green peppers contain almost three times more vitamin C than an orange.


Impact: Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system, especially after intense physical activity. Red peppers also provide a good amount of vitamin A.

Benefits: This leafy green packs more vitamin C than citrus fruits and is also rich in vitamin A (from beta carotene) and other antioxidants, including vitamin E.


Impact: For a tasty boost, try stir-frying kale with garlic or adding it to your smoothie.

Benefits: Freshly crushed garlic is a good source of allicin, which has antibacterial properties.


Impact: Eating garlic can help reduce the risk of catching colds. If you don’t like the taste, garlic supplements are an alternative.

Benefits: Protein provides amino acids, the building blocks needed to support the immune system and aid in healing and recovery.


Intake: Adults should aim for around 0.75 grams per kilogram of body weight. Protein-rich foods include seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, soy products, and nuts.

Benefits: Tuna is rich in selenium, an antioxidant that many diets lack.


Impact: Selenium deficiency may worsen flu severity, while adequate intake can reduce the risk of heart disease, alleviate asthma symptoms, and enhance overall immunity.

Benefits: Sardines are packed with nutrients like selenium, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D.


Impact: These nutrients help strengthen the body's defenses against infections, making sardines a key part of the health-boosting Mediterranean diet

Benefits: Mushrooms provide selenium and B vitamins, and some varieties are enriched with vitamin D.


Impact: Including mushrooms in your diet can contribute to a healthy immune system, providing up to 100 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams.

Benefits: A mix of cashews, Brazil nuts, and peanuts offers a good dose of zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamin B6. Impact: These vitamins and minerals are crucial for maintaining a robust immune system.


Benefits: While sugar's impact on the immune system is debated, moderate consumption of glucose might aid in recovering from viral infections. Impact: There's no strong evidence that modest sugar intake makes you more prone to illness.

Sweet Treats:

Benefits: Honey can help soothe coughs better than some over-the-counter medicines, according to a 2018 study. Impact: The NHS recommends hot lemon and honey for cough relief (not for children under 12 months). Honey increases saliva production, easing cough symptoms and reducing inflammation.


Benefits: Kefir is rich in beneficial bacteria and yeasts that can enhance immune function. Impact: Some microbes in kefir help prime the immune system to fight off bacterial infections.


By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can give your immune system the support it needs to keep you healthy.

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