February 18, 2021 2 min read

Keeping your immune system fighting fit is crucial as an athlete as it keeps you training at the top of your game.

Letting your performance suffer or taking a forced break from training due to illness can lead to stagnation or even regression.

Nutrition is one of the best ways to support the immune system. Here are seven of the best foods you can eat to keep it strong.

Blueberries

Blueberries are given their colour by anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid with high antioxidant properties. A study conducted in 2016 found flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defence system, which helps keep the common cold at bay.

Shellfish

Certain types of shellfish - particularly muscles, lobster, oysters and crab - are high in zinc. Although too much zinc can be bad for you, it’s needed to help keep immune cells functioning properly.

Broccoli

Regularly eating broccoli with meals is a good way of boosting vitamin C intake, and it also contains a number of other anti-inflammatories. Research seems to suggest that steaming broccoli is the best way to keep its nutrient content intact.

Spinach

Another great source of vitamin C, spinach contains immune-boosting antioxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin E too. The former two have been shown to help reduce risk of the common cold.

Garlic

Garlic has been used in medicine for centuries, and one review in 2014 found a group who took a garlic supplement were half as likely to contract a cold as a group who took a placebo.

Red Bell Peppers

One ounce of red pepper has about three times the vitamin C content as an orange, making it a very useful vegetable to add to your diet. It comes with far less sugar content than citrus fruits too.

Almonds

Almonds are a good snack to boost immune health as they’re rich in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and fiber. Vitamin E has been found to be key to keeping the immune system functioning.

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