Give Your Immune System a Boost, Naturally

coronavirus immune protection

In the age of CoronaVirus Quarantine, we all want to do whatever we can to prevent COVID-19. You hear multiple times per day to wash your hands, stay at home, and wear a mask when you must go out.

I say, “YES!” to all of that, but there is more you can do to boost your immune system. And since this is coming from me, you know it probably has to do with food. Of course it does! Food is medicine, after all.


This post is focused on fiber—and that’s where you should focus, too. I know. It is not an exciting topic—until you understand what amazing things it can do to protect your health.

Now, it can get a bit confusing because fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds all have fiber and they all have several kinds of fiber. Rather than get into a dissertation on fiber, I want you to know the amazing benefits of fiber.

First, you need to know that there are several types of fiber. I like to classify them this way:

  • Fermenting
  • Viscous
  • Bulking

kid holding trophyToday, we are specifically talking about the benefit of eating foods that are in the fermenting fiber category–a real winner when it comes to boosting your immune system and overall health.


Eating fermentable fibers from foods such as beans, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, broccoli, and more increases short chain fatty acids (SCFA). These SCFA do AMAZING things in your body like

  1. Support immune function,
  2. Reduce inflammation,
  3. Balance intestinal pH,
  4. Support going to sleep faster and deeper sleep,
  5. Support higher serotonin levels-a feel good neurotransmitter,
  6. Support GABA levels-another feel good neurotransmitter,
  7. Support a healthy appetite by reducing hunger levels,
  8. Support tight junctions in the GI tract (Good bye Leaky Gut!),
  9. Regulate blood glucose levels after eating,
  10. Lower cholesterol levels.

With a resume like that who wouldn’t want more fiber in their diet?

There are some people who don’t tolerate fiber well.  If you are one of those folks, you need to work with a nutrition professional to heal your gut.  If you have SIBO or autoimmune disease, add fiber slowly to see how you tolerate it.  Also, if you’ve been told to follow a FODMAP diet, proceed with caution.

Fibrous Foods for Immune System Support

berries fiber boost immune system

Here are foods that have been clinically shown to boost SCFA:

  • Whole grains with bran intact (if you’re sensitive to gluten, avoid wheat, barley, and rye),
  • Nuts, especially almonds
  • Seeds, especially flax (grind at time of meal) and chia seeds
  • Lentils and legume, especially Navy beans
  • Vegetables (aim for 8+ servings per day) such as onions, leeks, scallions, globe arichoke, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, burdock root, asparagus, garlic, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, yams, okra, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, celery, peas, and more. Eat a variety of colors.
  • Fruit (aim for 3 servings per day)-raspberries, blueberries, black berries, strawberries (organic only), mango, plums, prunes, banana, apples, pears, avocado (I know, it seems like a vegetable, but it is a fruit)

Americans Need More Fiber

I recently read that Americans are eating 8 g of fiber per day. That is way too low. Aim for 30 g to 50 g per day of a mix of soluble and insoluble. You won’t go wrong focusing on vegetables first followed by fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Foods that Fight Your Immune System

I love to focus on what you should add to your diet, but I have to at least mention key foods to avoid.  It is always good to avoid sugar.  Table sugar literally slows the immune response for hours after ingestion.

Also, avoid chips.  These are most often fried in inflammatory fats and inflammation is bad especially when trying to avoid Covid-19.

Love salty snacks and can’t imagine living without chips?

raw nuts boost immune system

I can completely relate. Try snacking on crispy nuts instead. Start with health raw nuts, like those pictured above–not the pre-roasted and salted kind. Follow my recipe and you’ll get that craving satisfied and will be boosting your nutrient levels and immune system, rather than depleting it.

Remember: each time you eat is an opportunity to build up your immune function or to reduce it.  Make good choices and Live Well!