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The #1 Food to Eat to Boost Your Immune System, Says Dietitian

If you want to fight off infection, start by adding this tasty food to your menu.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Fall is almost here, meaning the return of sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and, unfortunately, cold and flu season. While practicing good hand hygiene, steering clear of friends and family members when they're sick, and avoiding crowds can all help you stay healthy, those aren't the only ways to arm yourself against ill health in the coming months.

Adding the right foods to your diet could make a major difference when it comes to bolstering your immune health and preventing illness. In fact, experts say one popular food you may already have in your fridge could be the key to a stronger immune system: kale.

"Kale is an excellent source of vitamin C with 71% of daily recommended intake per cup cooked. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which help the body fight infections," explains Kath Younger, RD, founder of Kath Eats.

RELATED: The #1 Best Leafy Green to Eat, According to a Dietitian

According to a review published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, among three trials of study subjects under significant physical exertion, vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of developing the common cold by 50%, and in another group of three clinical trials, vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of pneumonia by 80%.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get this delicious veggie into your regular rotation.


"Kale is so versatile you can easily add it to your meals in a variety of ways: sautéed into eggs, wilted in soups, blended in smoothies, baked as kale chips, and massaged into kale salad," says Younger. She notes that eating Greek yogurt with live and active cultures is also a great way to give your immune system a boost, so there's no time like the present to start incorporating a bit of this tasty dairy product into yogurt dressings for those kale salads, your kale-enriched smoothies, or as a creamy topping for your kale soups.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah
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