Foods that best boost immunity

Monday February 22 2021
food pic

By Joan Salmon

Flu and colds are around us most of the time because the disease-causing microorganisms are always around us.

Boosting your immunity will help you keep certain diseases at bay or fight them off faster.



Isaac Kabazzi, a nutrition public health practitioner, says lemons, just like other citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), an ingredient effective at protecting your body against flus and colds.

“Frequent consumption of lemon empowers the body to quickly fight off a flu bout or reduce its severity thus a shortened period of the ailment” he says.

The immunity boosting properties of Vitamin C also reduces inflammation.


Mercy Kitaka, a nutritionist, says garlic can ward off infections due to its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and ant-viral properties.

Garlic had wide applications as an antiseptic and an antibiotic in World War I and World War II to treat wounded German Russian soldiers, and science has long proved its potency.

In one study, preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement, people who took garlic supplements on a daily basis for three months rarely came down with colds compared to those that did not.

Even when they did, recovery was quicker.

With such results, researchers concluded that garlic has the ability to enhance immune cell function and reduce the impact of colds and flu.


These also have antiviral and anti-bacterial components owing to having high concentrations of allicin, a sulphur compound thus great in protecting one against colds.

Kitaka says onions also have quercetin, a flavanoid that is a strong antioxidant, responsible for protecting our cells while also fighting against flu.

“They are also rich in Vitamin C which is a great immunity booster,” she says, adding that rather than fry them until they lose all their nutrients, onions can be added to stir-fries, sandwiches, salads, stews and soups.


This cruciferous vegetable is packed with minerals and vitamins that will empower your body to keep colds at bay.

Kabazzi says minerals include potassium, and manganese, vitamins include A, C, and E, not forgetting fibre and antioxidants.

He adds that it is crucial to know that water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C are heat sensitive thus destroyed by sustained heating.

“This helps shape how we prepare fruits and vegetables. Instead of cooking, steaming ensures maximum nutrient retention,” he says.


Apart from being high in Vitamin C and thus a good food when fighting colds, he says spinach is also loaded with beta carotene and oxidants which help in boosting our immunity.

“Just like broccoli, spinach is better off exposed to less heat, aware that a little heat also allows for the release of other nutrients from oxalic acid, which would have remained inaccessible to your body when eaten uncooked.”

For better results, spinach should be eaten steamed.


Isaac Kabazzi, a nutrition public health practitioner, says ginger has a spicy smell that also works well in dealing with nausea and settling a stomach.

“As such, those colds that leave you feeling nauseated call for some ginger. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties due to the gingerols compound” he says.

Kabazzi adds that fresh ginger helps to fight off any virus that would want to attach itself to your airways.

These and more will help you boost your immunity and help you fight a number of infections.