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What can I blend to boost my immune system?

A strong immune system is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. Eating a balanced diet, managing stress levels, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are some of the best ways to support immune health. In addition to these healthy lifestyle practices, certain foods and nutrients can give your immune system an extra boost. Blending some of these immune-supporting ingredients into smoothies, juices, or shakes is an easy and delicious way to get your fix.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that play important roles in immune function. Include a variety of colorful produce in your blended drinks to maximize nutrient diversity. Some great options include:

  • Citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, etc. Excellent sources of vitamin C.
  • Berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants like anthocyanins.
  • Leafy greens – spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc. Contain vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.
  • Carrots – An immune-boosting orange veggie full of vitamin A.
  • Tomatoes – Provide vitamin C and lycopene, a protective antioxidant.
  • Beets – Supply immune-enhancing vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.

Herbs, Spices, and Teas

Certain herbs, spices, and teas offer unique bioactive compounds, like polyphenols and catechins, that can stimulate immune cell activity. Consider adding:

  • Fresh ginger – Contains gingerol, shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  • Garlic – Provides immune-boosting compounds like allicin.
  • Turmeric – Supplies curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cinnamon – Packed with antioxidants and antimicrobial effects.
  • Green tea – An excellent source of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which supports immune health.

Nuts, Seeds, and Nut Butters

Nuts, seeds, and nut butters deliver healthy fats, protein, and key micronutrients that are vital for proper immune function. Add a spoonful or small handful to your blended drinks. Consider:

  • Almonds – High in vitamin E, an antioxidant that aids immune cell activity.
  • Walnuts – Supply omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation.
  • Sunflower seeds – Contain vitamin E, zinc, and selenium.
  • Chia seeds – Packed with fiber, protein, zinc, selenium, and antioxidants.
  • Almond butter – Provides vitamin E, biotin, copper, manganese, and magnesium.

Yogurt and Kefir

Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut microbiome, which influences immune response. Plain, unsweetened varieties are best. Try adding:

  • Greek yogurt – An excellent source of probiotics and protein.
  • Kefir – Contains probiotics, calcium, and vitamin D for immune regulation.

Vitamin C and Zinc Supplements

While dietary sources should be your primary focus, supplements can fill any nutritional gaps. Vitamin C and zinc are especially important for immunity. The RDI for these are:

  • Vitamin C – 75-90 mg per day for adults
  • Zinc – 8-11 mg per day for adults

If opting for supplements, look for 100% RDI or less to avoid excessive intake.

Immune-Boosting Smoothie Ingredients

Use any combination of the ingredients below to create smoothies that support immune defense:

Fruits Vegetables Herbs, Spices & Teas Nuts, Seeds & Butters Dairy
Oranges Spinach Fresh ginger Almonds Greek yogurt
Strawberries Carrots Turmeric Walnuts Kefir
Blueberries Beets Cinnamon Chia seeds
Pineapple Kale Green tea Almond butter
Banana Broccoli Pumpkin seeds

Sample Immune-Boosting Smoothie Recipes

Here are a few tasty smoothie ideas to try:

Orange Ginger Immunity Booster

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup ice

Green Tea Antioxidant Smoothie

  • 1 cup green tea, chilled
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)

Berries and Beets Immune Booster

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 small cooked beet, peeled
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk

Tropical Immunity Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Tips for Creating Immune-Enhancing Smoothies

  • Use fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried fruits and vegetables whenever possible for highest nutrient levels.
  • Rotate ingredients regularly to get a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Include healthy fats from nuts, seeds, nut butters, or avocados to support nutrient absorption.
  • Add a protein source like Greek yogurt, kefir, or plant-based protein powder to help you stay full.
  • Sweeten with natural options like fruits, honey, or maple syrup instead of added sugars.
  • Drink smoothies immediately after making for maximum retention of heat-sensitive vitamins.
  • Store any leftover smoothie in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

The Bottom Line

Smoothies and shakes made with immune-boosting ingredients like fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, and probiotic-rich dairy provide an easy way to flood your body with the key nutrients it needs to keep your immune system running effectively. Combine a variety of these foods and aim for daily smoothies to give your immune defenses a natural supplement throughout the year.