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10 foods that support the immune system

Around 80 per cent of your immune system is based in your gut and much of it regulated by the balance of bacteria that are in there helping with your digestion – which is why what you eat is so beneficial to supporting your immune response to bugs and nasties. Here James takes us through 10 great immune boosting foods – many that you’ll see in our Elevated recipes.

Rainbow of peppers

Red bell peppers

Vitamin C helps support the production of white blood cells that are so important to immune function. When it comes to vitamin C, most people automatically think of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes, and while they are great sources, red peppers, that feature in our Thai red curry, actually have three times the amount on a gram-for-gram basis. Peppers also contain high amounts of beta carotene that the body converts into vitamin A and is important for keeping your eyes and skin healthy.

Ginger and lemon


Ginger is another nutritional powerhouse that features on the Elevated roster. Long used as a traditional remedy for pretty much everything from stomachache to common colds, its benefits are now showing up in a number of scientific studies that demonstrate its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. One of those showed it to inhibit an antibiotic-resistant strain of E.coli, while another showed its effectiveness in helping conquer respiratory tract infections.

Bowl of garlic


We absolutely love garlic at Elevated and you’ll find it in many of our dishes. It contains a substance called allicin that that again helps boost immune-fighting cells. Other substances also act as an antimicrobrial – fighting off gut bacteria that can have more of a negative affect, which further helps support immune response. Studies have shown that garlic reduces the risk of becoming sick in the first place, as well as how long you stay sick. It can also reduce the severity of symptoms.

Basket of mushrooms


Mushrooms are a good food source of vitamin D (essential for immune response) as well as the substance quercetin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant, and beta-glucans. The latter not only help with the immune response but could also be beneficial in lowering cholesterol. Try to go for the weird and wonderful ones – shitake, lion’s mane, chaga and the like – rather than good old fashioned farmed button mushrooms.

Sauerkraut sandwich


The fermenting process of this simple-to-make German pickled cabbage leads to beneficial bacteria that can help keep a strong gut lining, prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and boost the production of natural antibodies – all of which help the immune system. .

Raspberry yoghurt

Greek yoghurt

We’re not great fans of cow dairy at Elevated, but we make an exception for Greek yoghurt. Again, it’s full of gut-boosting bacteria and has the added benefit of being a good source of protein, which is vital to build and repair body tissue, including immune cells.



Brocolli is also rich in vitamin C as well as numerous antioxidants that help support our immune systems. It’s healthiest when cooked as little as possible so it retains its nutrients – one of the reasons, we tend to quickly blanche our veg to al dente rather than boiling to mush.

Roasted chicken


Chicken is high in B6 which helps the formation of healthy red blood cells. It’s also a great protein source. Turn the carcass of a Sunday roast into a ‘bone broth’ to benefit from gelatin, chondroitin, and other gust-boosting nutrients.

A bowl of eggs


After years of getting a bad rap, eggs are back in fashion. They’re not only another great protein source, but they also contain a range of nutrients such as vitamin D, zinc, selenium and vitamin E that the body need for proper immune function.

Smoked fish

Oily fish/shellfish

Omega 3 fatty acids – founds in fish and shellfish – are vital to help build and boost immune cells. Both fish and shellfish also contain a host of other immune boosting substances such as zinc and selenium.

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