Our immune systems quietly function every single second of every day in the background, keeping us safe from an array of viruses, bacteria and other harmful agents we’re exposed to on a regular basis.

For this reason we tend to pay little attention to our immunity – apart from when we start to get sick, when it’s often too late. But with a little forward thinking and a consistent, holistic and functional approach, we can help to support our immune function at all times and provide it with extra nutrients it needs during seasons like fall, when colds, flus and other bugs do the rounds.

Can I ‘boost’ my immune system?

Yes – but not in the way you might think. There’s no single food, supplement or ingredient that can significantly boost the immune system – instead, it’s a joint effort of key nutrients, which can be enhanced by some chemical compounds found in plants which can further strengthen immunity.

Key nutrients to ensure a healthy immune system function include:

*Vitamin D

*Vitamin A

*Vitamin B12

*Vitamin C






Rather than only paying attention to our immune system when we notice a problem, as many people do, the best approach is to adopt a consistently nourishing diet and lifestyle which supports a healthy immune system all year round so that it’s always ready to protect you when needed.

So what is an ‘immune system booster’?

An immune system booster is typically thought of as a food item that is rich in many of the vitamins and minerals needed to ensure healthy immune function. Many also contain large amounts of antioxidants which help the body to deal with harmful or toxic external influences. These include:

*Citrus fruits

*Red peppers

*Leafy greens (spinach, watercress)

*Cruciferous veg (broccoli, kale)



*Nuts and seeds (almonds and sunflower seeds in particular)


*Green tea

It’s important to note that supporting the immune system requires a holistic or functional approach to health beyond eating healthily. Other non-food-based immune system boosters include stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise.

3 of the best immune system boosters

The list of immune-boosting foods is endless – needless to say, focusing on a diet rich in wholefoods is one of the best ways to ensure you support your immune system all year round. If you struggle to obtain all your vitamins and minerals through diet alone, a good quality multi-vitamin supplement may be required to keep levels topped up.

If you’re looking for an extra helping hand, especially during the colder months, these supplementary immune boosters can help to provide advanced support, having been shown to interact with the immune system to offer enhanced protection against sickness and bugs.

*Echinacea: Once used exclusively by herbalists, echinacea has found its way into the realms of conventional medicine since its immune-boosting properties were proven. Studies have shown that in most individuals, echinacea has a stimulating effect on the immune system at a cellular level, particularly in the defense of germs and the common cold.

*Quercetin: Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that works intelligently within the immune system in a number of targeted ways. Its bioactive anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties have been shown to be effective against the development of a number of illnesses.

*Elderberry: Elderberry has been used across Northern Europe for hundreds of years, if not more, renowned for its potent protective properties. It’s highly effective due to its unique composition of antioxidants and vitamins which have been shown to support immune system function. Elderberry is known to be particularly effective against colds and flu.

As is the case with all supplements, careful sourcing is crucial to ensure that you harness all the potential benefits whilst removing the risk of harmful side effects.