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Foods That Will Boost Your Immune System

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in August of 2022. For the original video go to

Mike: Today, I am doing this solo, and our guest is Jordan. You may know her from our workout videos on our YouTube channel. You may have heard her in the past talking about the ketogenic diet with us. Jordan’s background, she has a bachelor's in exercise science, a master’s in nutrition, and she’s a certified personal trainer. Today, we’re going to talk about ways to boost your immune system naturally through food and possibly supplementation. Stay tuned. The first question I have is, what foods should I eat to boost my immune system?

Jordan: Food specifically, before I go on a rant about this because it’s a loaded question, what I'm going to tell you to eat to boost your immune system if you have heard me talk at all on the Bob and Brad channel, any other podcasts or videos that I have done, I’m going to sound like a broken record. A lot of nutritional advice that I would give to somebody if someone were to say, “What should I eat for a normal, healthy diet?” I’m going to say something close to similar information to boost your immune system. I’m going to talk about that but then I'm going to give you specific foods if you’re already eating a healthy diet and you want to really dial in, “What could I specifically eat that might have higher nutrients specific to the immune system?” Make sense?

Mike: Yeah. I have a feeling I know what you’re going to say but our audience may not.

Jordan: Do you want to answer, Mike?

Mike: No, you go ahead.

Jordan: I’m a big whole foods person. If you hear me talk on her about nutrition on this channel, I am not going to be the person that’s going to talk to you about counting calories and any fad crash diets. I’m a whole foods first person. Just going to start the conversation like that. The focus when you’re thinking about boosting your immune system is what should your diet be comprised of. I want to talk about fruits and vegetables and plenty of them. This seems obvious but I would not be answering the question fully if I didn’t at least say that out loud. Eat your fruit and vegetables. I’m a fan of varying your types, too. Don’t be that person that goes to the store and buys the same two vegetables and fruit every week.

Mike: But that’s what I like to do.

Jordan: You’re guilty? It’s important because every fruit and vegetable is going to have a different micronutrient composition and different antioxidant properties. That’s a big one to help increase your vitamin load, but I did want to talk about when it comes to fruits and vegetables, there are ones that during the winter months or when you start to feel something coming on that are loaded with vitamin C that are good ones you want to focus more on. What is the number one thing we think of when we talk about vitamin C?

Mike: Oranges.

Jordan: Right. That is not even a top source. It has vitamin C, but you get better bang for your buck elsewhere. Some of the top ones are going to be bell peppers, red peppers, green peppers, kiwi, strawberries, and broccoli is high. That one usually surprises people.

Mike: I didn’t know about broccoli. I think broccoli is high in potassium too, isn’t it?

Jordan: Yes. Tomatoes, kale, Brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe. That’s not everything that has vitamin C in it, but that’s covering at least the top ones. Of course, your citrus fruits, too. If you want to have your focus during the cold and flu months that we’re coming upon. That’s why I did this podcast now, by the way. Unfortunately, summer is closing out.

Mike: I think we should say, too, that we’re both omnivores, so even though we’re talking about a lot of plants, we’re not anti-animal products.

Jordan: Yes, we are. I’m going to touch on that too, Mike. That kind of covers the fruits and vegetables category, but you read my mind, Mike. The next thing I was going to say is you want to focus on quality protein sources, too. I wanted to touch on quality, and I’ll talk about how this relates to the immune system. What I mean by that is, eating good quality grass-fed beef. Yes, as Mike said, we are omnivores, so I’m sorry for my vegan readers, you may want to take my advice on what I was just talking about. Grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, wild-caught seafood, and quality-raised animal sources, that’s the key when it comes to some of the fatty cuts of meat. I try not to go on a side tangent here, but a lot of the toxins in animals are held in fat. Just a fun fact. We want to focus on, especially with beef and fattier cuts of beef, having those grass-fed sources and a lot of the good healthy animals sourced fats have immune-boosting properties. That’s my side tangent and how it connects to the immune system.

Mike: Right and I'd say a lot of free-range or free-roaming grass-fed animals, whatever they are, are typically better and ruminant animals, meaning they graze like elk, deer, bison, cows, boars, and sheep are ruminant animals for people who don’t know. Typically, red meats are more nutrient dense than white meat. I’m not saying that they don’t have their place in your diet, but that’s my side tangent.

Jordan: Correct. I like that side tangent, in how you said that because most people think I should stay away from red meat and stick with chicken breasts, and I would completely turn that upside down and say the opposite of that. I’m going to opt for grass-fed beef over chicken breast any day. I’ll eat chicken thigh over chicken breast.

Mike: Are there any other foods you want to talk about that boost your immune system?

Jordan: Yeah, I want to mention a couple more. One other kind of category I already mentioned is the plentiful amounts of fruits and vegetables and good quality protein, but also, we can’t have this talk without talking about healthy fats too. Some of the things I like to tell people to focus on are avocados, avocado oil, and coconut oil, which has a ton of immune-boosting properties. I sometimes will take a spoonful of coconut oil, if I'm trying to get over something. Nuts and seeds. Did I say olive oil and olives yet?

Mike: You may have, I'm not sure. You can repeat it.

Jordan: Hone it in, yes. Those are some of the main healthy fats that you want to be making sure that you’re getting in your diet. They play a lot of roles, the immune system being one of them. I’ll wrap up the question you asked me by talking about foods very specifically. If you’re looking to add some extra healthy nutrient-dense foods to your diet, things that you could add in that are specific to boosting your immune system. One of those would be fermented foods and if you don’t know what fermented food is, I'll give you some examples. Sauerkraut is one, the kind that you find in the refrigerator though, not the can.

Mike: Yeah, it’s often called kimchi now, isn’t it?

Jordan: Kimchi is a different kind of sauerkraut. It has different spices and seasonings. It’ll be called sauerkraut in the refrigerator. Kimchi too works. Kombucha, which is a fermented tea.

Mike: That’s popular nowadays in most stores.

Jordan: I feel like pretty much any grocery store you go into has that. You can go to a gas station now and buy kombucha.

Mike: Yeah, normally by the produce section.

Jordan: There you go. Otherwise, good quality, full fat plain grass-fed yogurt or kefir would be fermented food as well. We might touch a bit more; I might go into a tangent on fermented foods and gut health and all that. A couple of other random things too, ginger is powerful for the immune system. Garlic and green tea to name a couple.

Mike: I like garlic but unfortunately, it gives me bad gas.

Jordan: Really?

Mike: I normally stay away from it now.

Jordan: Like any form of garlic or talking fresh?

Mike: Well, garlic and onions too. I’m in the FODMAP stuff, I bloat easily, but that’s just me. Probably from my terrible diet when I was young.

Jordan: Yeah, that can have some lasting effects, for sure.

Mike & Jordan: All right, thanks!

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