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Fruits & Vegetables That Build Up the Immune System

By Lori Rice

A strong immune system can reduce your chances of getting sick. You can build up your immunity when you eat the vitamins and minerals your body needs on a daily basis. The most readily available source of these vitamins and minerals is food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Aim to eat nine servings, or about 4 ½ cups, each day, recommends the Harvard School of Public Health.

Orange Fruits and Vegetables

Orange fruits and vegetables contain beta carotene, which is the precursor for vitamin A. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin A is beneficial to your immune system. Choose carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and apricots to boost your intake of beta carotene.

Dark Greens

Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and broccoli, also contain beta carotene. Some greens also contain an added benefit to the immune system, vitamin E. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin E plays a role in immune function. While vitamin E is most often found in nuts and oils, it's also present in fruits and vegetables such as avocados, spinach and turnip greens.

Vitamin C-Rich Produce

The value of vitamin C in fighting the common cold has been debated for years. While the vitamin may not help you fight off a cold once it starts, it still plays a very important role in immune function. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, vitamin C stimulates the production and function of white blood cells. Guava, red bell peppers, tomatoes and strawberries are high in vitamin C.

White Mushrooms

White button mushrooms are the most common of all mushrooms consumed in the United States, and they have immune-boosting potential. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that white button mushrooms may have the ability to enhance the activity of specific cells important for immune function. Mushrooms also contain selenium, a mineral that boosts the immune system.

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