Five Foods That Are Surprisingly Good For Your Immune System

Yellow Peppers

In spite of their reputation, citrus fruits are not the best source of Vitamin C.  A yellow bell pepper contains six times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange!  Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body can’t store it. To maintain a healthy immune system, you need to eat a constant supply of this immune-boosting vitamin.


Vitamin E is essential to your immune system’s ability to fight off viral and bacterial invaders, and almonds are one of the best sources!  Just ¼ cup contains 61% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin E.  In addition to boosting your immune system, Vitamin E also lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cognitive disorders.


Your immune system requires Vitamin B6 to generate infection-fighting cells...and turkey is a surprisingly good source!  In addition to giving your immune system a boost, turkey provides extra serotonin and GABA neurotransmitters, which can improve your mood and help you sleep better.

Sweet Potatoes

Your body is unable to synthesize Vitamin A, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough in your diet.  Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of Vitamin A, which helps maintain a healthy immune system by boosting antibody production.  If you eat at least 3-5 grams of fat with your sweet potato, you’ll absorb even higher amounts of this essential immune system ingredient!


Believe it or not, one serving of oysters contains a whopping 91% of your recommended daily allowance selenium, a mineral your immune system needs to produce white blood cells.  Selenium also keeps those cells active, making them more effective at fighting off viral infections like influenza and HIV.  Oysters also contain a significant amount of Vitamin B12, which supports neurologic health and Vitamin D, which strengthens your bones.


We hope these tips help you stay healthy during this cold and flu season!  But if you do get sick, we’re here 7 days a week to give you the care you need.  Make an appointment online, or simply walk in to any of our 6 Bay Area locations.

Sarah Thebarge MMSc, PA-C Sarah Thebarge earned her physician assistant degree at Yale School of Medicine, and then studied journalism at Columbia School of Journalism. She has been a physician assistant and a freelance journalist since 2004. In addition to caring for patients at Golden Gate Urgent Care, Sarah frequently volunteers her medical skills in the developing world. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, USA Today and National Geographic, and her blog was featured on She is the author of the memoir The Invisible Girls and the upcoming book WELL: Healing our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa. She currently lives in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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