Immune-Boosting Fall Foods

It is that time of year where flu season starts to roll around and people unfortunately start getting sick quite a bit. Even right now, three of the four of us in my house have a pretty nasty cold. Not fun! So here is a list of some fall foods for you to try to incorporate into your meals to build up that immune system to hopefully avoid getting sick.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have double immune-boosting power thanks to vitamin C and beta-carotene (an antioxidant that our body converts to vitamin A); both vitamin A and vitamin C are believed to support healthy immune system function.


Get rid of germs before they can make you sick; laboratory test results show that garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, giving it some serious infection-fighting potential.

Pumpkin Seeds

Snacking on pumpkin seeds can help you boost your vitamin E intake. Vitamin E is recognized as a powerful antioxidant that helps maintain a healthy immune system, especially in older adults.


Oats are a good source of beta-glucans (naturally occurring sugars) that have been shown to promote a strong and healthy immune system. If you don’t like oats, try barley instead; it’s also a good source.


Ginger works to support immune health in more ways than one; it has anti-bacterial properties and helps prevent the accumulations of toxins that can make you susceptible to infections.


When you’re choosing a yogurt, select one that contains live and active cultures (or “good” bacteria). The good bacteria that the probiotics support can have a positive impact on many aspects of your body’s immune response.


Mushrooms are a good natural source of selenium, an antioxidant that strongly influences immune response. Cremini and shiitake mushrooms are among the most selenium-rich.

Chicken Soup

It turns out, there’s some truth to the idea that chicken soup can cure a cold; chicken releases amino acids during cooking that resemble bronchitis-fighting medicine . Plus, many chicken soup recipes are loaded with vitamin-rich vegetables and infection-fighting garlic.

Here is my favorite recipe for making your own sweet potato fries at home. They are delicious and grown-ups and kids alike LOVE them!

Sweet Potato Fries

Makes 6 servings

  • cooking spray
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into fries--the thinner you cut them, the crispier they will get
  • ¼ cup olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Mix sweet potato wedges, oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder together in a bowl until sweet potatoes are evenly coated. Season with black pepper.
  4. Arrange potato fries on the prepared baking sheet, trying to make sure none of them are touching, if possible.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then flip potatoes over; continue baking until easily pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes more.
  6. Sprinkle sweet potato fries with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese to serve.

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    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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