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How can my diet affect my immune system?

ANSWER

Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks.

Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. Go for a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Other foods particularly good for your immune system include fresh garlic, which may help fight viruses and bacteria, and old-fashioned chicken soup.

Some mushroom varieties -- such as shiitake -- may also help your immune system.

SOURCES:

Bruce Polsky, MD, interim chairman, department of medicine, chief, division of infectious disease, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City.

Stephen Sinatra, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine; founder, New England Heart and Longevity Center Medicine, Manchester, Conn.

American Association for Cancer Research: ''How Diet, Obesity and Even Gum Disease May Affect Immune System and Cancer.''

Sanchez, A. November 1973. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,

WebMD Medical Reference: ''Use Your Immune System to Prevent Flu.'' ''Exercise When You Have the Flu.'' ''Sleep 101.''

American Psychological Association: ''First-Year College Students Who Feel Lonely Have A Weaker Immune Response To The Flu Shot.''

Cole ,S. , September 2007. Genome Biology

WebMD Medical News: ''Moderate Exercise May Lower Cold Risk.''

Scott Berliner, supervising pharmacist, Life Science Pharmacy, New York.

WebMD Feature: ''How Antioxidants Work.''

Rosner, F. , 1980. Chest

Ann G. Kulze, MD, CEO & founder, Dr. Ann & Just Wellness, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

Spiegel, K. Sept. 25, 2002. The Journal of the American Medical Association,

Davidson, R. July-August 2003. Psychosomatic Medicine,

Bennett, M. . March-April 2003. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

University of California: ''Go Ahead, Laugh. It’s Good For You.''

Hughes, D. , March 2000. Nutrition Bulletin

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on July 7, 2019

SOURCES:

Bruce Polsky, MD, interim chairman, department of medicine, chief, division of infectious disease, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City.

Stephen Sinatra, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine; founder, New England Heart and Longevity Center Medicine, Manchester, Conn.

American Association for Cancer Research: ''How Diet, Obesity and Even Gum Disease May Affect Immune System and Cancer.''

Sanchez, A. November 1973. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,

WebMD Medical Reference: ''Use Your Immune System to Prevent Flu.'' ''Exercise When You Have the Flu.'' ''Sleep 101.''

American Psychological Association: ''First-Year College Students Who Feel Lonely Have A Weaker Immune Response To The Flu Shot.''

Cole ,S. , September 2007. Genome Biology

WebMD Medical News: ''Moderate Exercise May Lower Cold Risk.''

Scott Berliner, supervising pharmacist, Life Science Pharmacy, New York.

WebMD Feature: ''How Antioxidants Work.''

Rosner, F. , 1980. Chest

Ann G. Kulze, MD, CEO & founder, Dr. Ann & Just Wellness, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

Spiegel, K. Sept. 25, 2002. The Journal of the American Medical Association,

Davidson, R. July-August 2003. Psychosomatic Medicine,

Bennett, M. . March-April 2003. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

University of California: ''Go Ahead, Laugh. It’s Good For You.''

Hughes, D. , March 2000. Nutrition Bulletin

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on July 7, 2019

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Can stress affect my immune system?

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