Sick all the time? How to eat your way to stronger immunity

Sick all the time? How to eat your way to stronger immunity

Getting repeatedly sidelined by colds, the flu and other illnesses is more than an inconvenience, it’s a serious disruption for those striving to achieve a successful career.

Each missed workday feels like a setback. The constant cycle of sickness can leave you feeling stuck, impacting your mental health and wellbeing. It feels like a never-ending loop, where stress and mounting responsibilities make you even more susceptible to the next bug.

What if the key to breaking this cycle was in your kitchen?

Emerging research shows the profound connection between gut health and the immune system. The food you eat plays a role in fortifying your body’s defences.

If you want to start feeling better and reduce your chances of getting sick again, making mindful dietary choices could be the key to fewer sick days.

What gut health has to do with immunity

In the body’s defence mechanism lies an intricate network designed to fend off invaders and protect you from illnesses. This network is a team effort, with a significant portion of its strength stemming from the gut.

The gut houses trillions of microorganisms, forming an ecosystem called the gut microbiome. They’re vital to your health and immunity and are the first line of defence against harmful pathogens.

The microbiome influences immunity through the production of metabolites, such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs reduce inflammation and promote energy that contributes to your immune health. When you nurture your gut microbiome with a diet rich in diverse, fibre-packed foods, you fortify your body’s immune system.

Foods that boost gut health and immunity

Introducing several highly nutritious foods is essential to boosting your body’s defences. Take the following types of foods into consideration:

Fibre-rich foods

One way to bolster your immunity is by eating more fibre. Dietary fibre can maintain immune function by regulating blood sugar, which reduces inflammation and supports heart health.

These foods also ensure efficient nutrient absorption of vitamins essential for immune function, like vitamins A, C and E. Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds in your diet to ward off infections and enhance your overall health.

For example, raspberries are a powerhouse, offering 8 grams of fibre per cup and 36 per cent of your daily vitamin C and manganese intake. These nutrients will provide you with immune support and antioxidant protection.

Antioxidant-rich foods

Antioxidants support immune health by protecting cells from damage that free radicals cause. These foods include a variety of fruits and vegetables that reduce inflammation and enhance the body’s ability to fight infections.

For instance, tremella mushrooms are high in antioxidant properties and tremella polysaccharides. Researchers found that polysaccharides can significantly reduce inflammation and improve colon health. Therefore, they make a great addition to a health-conscious diet focused on boosting immunity.


Prebiotics are the unsung heroes in building a stronger immune system. They serve as the primary fuel for the beneficial bacteria residing in the gut.

With prebiotics, you stimulate the growth and activity of advantageous microbes. In turn, this enhances your gut health and lays the foundation for creating a thriving immune system.

By feeding the good bacteria, prebiotics maintain a balanced gut microbiome for your wellbeing.

Foods with prebiotics include:

  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Chicory root
  • Bananas
  • Onions.


Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria with many health benefits, such as decreased inflammation, mineral absorption and immunity defence.

By colonising the gut, probiotics balance the gut microbiome, which is vital for digesting food, absorbing nutrients and barricading against harmful pathogens.

Probiotics support the gut’s barrier function and enhance the immune response, making your body more resilient against infections.

Foods rich in probiotics include:

  • Yoghurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Tempeh.
Eat these foods to boost your immune system

How to incorporate immune-boosting foods into your diet

Integrating diverse foods into your diet for your overall health can be simple. It starts with making small, deliberate choices every day and implementing a few tricks:

  • Start with breakfast: Incorporate a serving of yoghurt into your morning meal. Top it with berries for an added antioxidant boost.
  • Snack smart: Choose snacks with a fibre punch, such as apple slices with almond butter.
  • Hydrate with flavour: Drink plenty of water and infuse it with an extra dose of antioxidants through citrus fruit slices.
  • Add variety to your dinner plate: Aim to fill half your plate with colourful veggies, ensuring you get all the nutrients and fibre to support your gut health.

Take the steps to supercharge your immunity

While a diet full of gut-friendly and immune-boosting foods can ward off the next cold or flu, it also nurtures your body’s defences year-round.

Remember that variety is key to achieving the full benefits. Your journey to better immunity starts with what’s on your plate.

Mia Barnes - Writer - She Defined

Mia Barnes

This article was written by Mia Barnes.

Mia is a freelance writer and researcher who specialises in women’s health and lifestyle. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine.

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