Immunity Boosting Foods to Keep You Healthy

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

During times like these, it’s important to keep our bodies and minds healthy and that means finding foods that heal and don’t weaken our immune system. It’s fair to say that natural accompaniments which grow from the ground are much better for us than processed foods, but what are the health benefits? Here’s a list of some of the natural remedies which should be on your radar right now.


Turmeric is part of the ginger family which grows in roots of flowering plants, mainly in Southeast Asia and on the Indian subcontinent. When the flowers bloom each year, they are gathered for their rhizomes – the root mass which grows beneath. The roots are then used fresh or boiled in water and dried, then ground into the powder we see today. The deep orange/ochre powder is widely used in curries, stews and soups due to its mustard aroma and warm black pepper flavour.

What are the health benefits?

Turmeric contains powerful antioxidants which can help to fight bacteria in the body. It is said to reduce to pain caused by arthritis, reduces blood cholesterol, lowers risk of heart disease, can improve digestion and blood circulation. During this time when traditional over-the-counter medicines are in short supply, sprinkle a little turmeric powder into breakfast smoothies, soups and homemade curries to help keep your body in tip-top condition.

*As with any natural supplements or medications, only take the recommended daily allowance and consult a medical professional if you are taking other medication or pregnant.


Echinacea can be found in North American prairies and woodlands. The pretty, daisy-like herbaceous plant has been used for medicinal healing since the 18th century when it was used to treat settlers with snake bites and infections. The main medicinal part of Echinacea (also known as the American coneflower) is its root stalk. When the plants are established, they are cut to extract liquid from the leaves, root or the whole plant.

What are the health benefits?

Echinacea stimulates immune cells and prevents inflammation, it’s also a natural pain reliever which can help cold and flu symptoms, toothache and infections. It can remedy disorders relating to the upper respiratory tract too, which makes it a great item to stock in your medicine cabinet today as an alternative to paracetamol and ibuprofen.

* Echinacea should be avoided by children, pregnant and breastfeeding woman and people with diabetes and immune system disorders.


Blueberries grow on deciduous shrubs which can be found in forests, woodlands and mountainous regions around the world. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere and have been consumed since prehistoric times, when Native Americans ate them with dried meat. Blueberries can be home-grown too in the right conditions, blooming in early summer and ripening from June to August each year.

What are the health benefits?

Blueberries are packed full of Vitamin C and antioxidants called anthocyanins which are present in purple and red fruits and vegetables. In fact, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruit, and it’s because of this they can help to prevent heart disease, reduce high blood pressure and protect against ageing and DNA damage. They are delicious when blended into smoothies, served with yoghurt and honey and sprinkled onto cereal or ice cream.

Matcha Green Tea

Green Tea can be traced all the way back to the Tang Dynasty in China, but specially prepared Matcha green tea comes from Japan. It is harvested differently to other green teas. The leaves come from the same Camellia sinensis plant but are shielded from the sun for around a month prior to harvest. This unique shielding method triggers chlorophyll levels, boosting amino acid production which supports healthy heart function and regulates blood pressure. The earlier the leaves are gathered and ground into powder, the higher the grade and quality of the tea.

What are the health benefits?

Matcha green tea is rich in catechins which act as natural antioxidants, helping to eradicate free radicals which cause disease and damage cells in the body. To put this into perspective, the number of catechins in matcha are over 130 times greater than in other types of green tea. This magical green powder helps to flush out toxins in the liver, boosts brain function and concentration, promotes a healthy heart, can slow certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes and even aid with weight loss!

*It is advised to limit Matcha drinks to no more than 2 cups per day and if using the powder limit to 2-4 small spatulas per day.

Acai Berries

Acai Berries originate from Acai palm trees often found in flood plains around the Amazon. The berries represent a major food source for indigenous tribes as they contain Vitamins A, E and C, plus these tiny red/purple berries are packed with potassium, iron, calcium and sodium.

What are the health benefits?

It’s difficult to imagine that these tiny berries can assist your body in so many ways. They are high in anthocyanins like blueberries, which support heart health, blood circulation and can help moderate cholesterol levels. The antioxidants in these berries seek out and eliminate free radicals which can cause potentially serious health conditions, reducing the risk of many ailments and diseases. Another benefit is Acai berry powder or oil is great for the skin. It can help to calm irritation and moisturise, even eating them regularly can help you maintain a radiant, healthy glow. 

Flax Seeds

In times when basic nutrition is being tested with food shortages, it’s always a good idea to have a few packets of seeds to hand. Flax seeds are a superb option - high in Omega-3 fats, they are ideal for vegetarians and vegans who don’t want to digest fish oils.

What are the health benefits?

Just one tablespoon of flax seeds provides protein, fibre, Omega 3, several B vitamins, folate, calcium, iron and more to boost your daily intake. Flax seeds are also rich in ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) a plant-based fatty acid which can prevent cholesterol from being deposited in heart blood vessels. These diminutive seeds can help to reduce inflammation in the arteries, lower the risk of heart disease and strokes and they are also shown to be helpful in reducing effects and levels of certain types of cancer in both men and women. Flax seeds can easily be added to your daily diet. Sprinkle them daily into smoothies, atop hummus and yoghurt or substitute your usual cooking oil for flax seed oil.


Gingko Biloba trees have been in existence for over 250 million years and are native to China. The trees are also known as silver apricot, maidenhair or fossil trees due to their ancient heritage. They grow with fan-shaped leaves and also bear single seed fruit which is often used in Asian cookery.

What are the Health Benefits?

Gingko is extracted from the seeds and leaves of the tree which are rich in phenolic compounds. These compounds can assist with circulatory issues, help to reduce tinnitus and in some cases can prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Gingko extracts are also widely used to manage pain, headaches, sickness, to fight anxiety, depression and improve reproductive health. Gingko biloba can be consumed in tea, capsule or tablet form.

*Check with a medical professional prior to taking Gingko Biloba supplements especially if you are taking anticoagulants or warfarin.

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