Immune System And Vegetables


Did you know that there are certain foods that can boost your immunity? It is important to have a strong immune system as it can help you stay away from many illnesses and seasonal infections like the common cold.

Along with several healthy lifestyle factors that influence our immunity, one delicious way to strengthen your immune system is by adding plenty of fresh vegetables to your daily diet plan.

Vegetables contain essential vitamins, fibres, minerals, and antioxidants that provide exclusive health benefits. If you are going to your local market, you could add these superfoods to your shopping list, which are extremely effective in supporting your natural body defence.

In this article, we will look into how consuming vegetables aids in strengthening our immunity.

About immune system

The immune system is a complex network of organs, cells, proteins such as antibodies, and other chemicals.

During our daily lives, we are continuously exposed to every kind of potentially harmful substance. To protect us, our immune system play a vital role by detecting these foreign intruders (pathogens) like viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites and eliminating them from our bodies.

Humans possess two subtypes within their immune systems; these are known as:

The innate (non-specific) immune system: This is known as the first line of defence in our body. It provides a protective barrier against foreign invaders. Innate immunity creates a physical barrier that is made up of the mucous membrane lining the respiratory tract, the skin, enzymes found in sweat and tears, the gastrointestinal lining, and the urogenital tract (which is comprised of reproductive and urinary organs).

Innate immunity is hereditary, which means that it detects harmful germs and goes into action from the moment we are born.

Adaptive (specific) immune system: Also called acquired immunity, this is a type of system that learns to identify a pathogen. It is regulated by specialised centres such as the spleen, bone marrow, thymus, and lymph nodes.

When a foreign substance enters the body, the adaptive immune system works with innate immunity to process special proteins called antibodies to fight against the invader.

This type of immunity is referred to as "acquired" because it is able to adapt by recognising the same foreign substance. If it enters again, the antibodies and cells can rapidly destroy them.

Moreover, the adaptive immune system constantly learns to adapt during our life span so it can easily defend against harmful illnesses.1 

As long as the immune system is functioning properly, we are typically unaware of the critical duties it performs. However, our immune system can be weakened by a number of factors, including environmental toxins, excessive weight, and a poor diet. To strengthen the immune system and combat infections, a balanced diet rich in vegetables is essential, along with other healthy practises.

About vegetables

Vegetable is a diverse term that relates to the edible content of plants. Among other food components, vegetables are efficiently recognised for their fundamental role in building our healthy growth.2

The impact of dietary elements (micronutrients) is critical to maintaining immune health, which can be effectively obtained by consuming fresh vegetables and fruits.

Since vegetables are low in calories while providing high nutrients, most health experts recommend consuming vegetables on a daily basis.

The varieties of vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, fibres, antioxidants, and minerals which greatly robust immune health. Many health experts propose eating a variety of vegetables to maximise the nutrient intake per day.

They contain essential nutrients like:

  • Rich sources of fibre.
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Various phytochemicals such as isoflavones, catechins, and lignans

It's critical to recognise that the advantages of micro nutrients depend on more than just the amounts that are consumed; rather, they also depend on how quickly our bodies can absorb them.2

The effects of dietary choices on the immune system are diverse. While healthy diets work together to enhance nutrient absorption, certain foods are associated with several health outcomes.3

As the western diet gains popularity, risk factors are implied because it lacks balanced nutrients. Western diets are highly rich in excess sugars and unhealthy fats, which can contribute to obesity and the development of chronic diseases.4  

Unlike ultra-processed foods, fruits and vegetables have natural sugars and provide a balanced proportion of micro nutrients. A few pieces of evidence showed that diets rich in fruits and vegetables supported a stronger immune system and decreased the risk of chronic illnesses.5

Vegetables that boost your immune system

(please give at least 15 vegetables and it’ll be the subheading, the reason why will be the body)

Fresh vegetables are naturally low in sugar, fat, and salt, making them an ideal choice to keep your immune system strong. If you are looking to keep infections at bay, here is a list of the top 15 immune-boosting vegetables.

Red bell peppers: If you think oranges are the only best vitamin C fuel, then you might have to think again. In comparison, red bell peppers contain almost three times more vitamin C than the all-time favourite fruit, oranges.

These vibrantly coloured peppers are an excellent alternative for filling up your vitamin C needs. Moreover, not only do they aid in boosting immunity, but they also help nourish healthy skin.

Red bell peppers contain a great source of beta carotene, a pigment that gives colour to plants. Our body uses beta-carotene to convert it into vitamin A, which is vital for healthy eyes and skin.

Carrots: Although carrots provide a number of benefits, they are most famous for their ability to keep our eyes healthy. Carrots are loaded with immunity-boosting components. They are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, fibre, vitamin K, and vitamin C, and have powerful antioxidants. Additionally, they are considered ideal as a weight loss snack since they have been linked with lowering cholesterol and promoting gut health.

Broccoli: Among all super vegetables, broccoli is the all-rounder. It is packed with vitamins A,  C, and E, fibre, and many antioxidants. It contains potent antioxidant properties that strengthen the immune system and also aid in overcoming slow digestion issues.

Peas: The benefits of peas are numerous. It contains good sources of vitamin C, E, and zinc, which together support the immune system. Adding this veggie to your diet may assist in reducing inflammation. Furthermore, peas have a plant compound named saponins, which is known for having anti-cancer properties.

Garlic: It is widely used as a home remedy for preventing colds and other infections. Garlic has immune-enhancing abilities because of its high amounts of allicin, which is a sulphur-containing compound. Garlic is also recognised to aid in lowering blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

Radishes: This edible root veggie is incredibly packed with vitamin C, potent antioxidants, and minerals, including calcium and potassium, that help to build a strong immune response. Including radishes in your diet plan can aid in reducing blood pressure and diabetes and may have liver-protective properties.

Leafy greens: Green vegetables like kale, spinach, lettuce, chard, and arugula provide exceptional health benefits. The leafy greens are loaded with vitamins C, K, folate, fibre, and beta-carotene, which are considered ideal immune boosters. To fight infections off, add these leafy veggies to your daily dietary list.

Eggplant: This other superfood is a low-calorie option that contains great amounts of vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals. The antioxidant properties help repair cellular damage. In addition to this, eggplants have polyphenols, a natural plant chemical that regulates blood sugar in diabetic individuals.

Asparagus: This low-calorie food is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as loaded with fibre. In addition to improving immunity, asparagus aids in reducing weight, high blood pressure, and preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Sweet potatoes: Like carrots, sweet potatoes are also packed with beta-carotene, which switches this component into vitamin A to fight back the body's free radicals. Along with their immune-boosting properties, sweet potatoes help in delaying the ageing process and promote healthy skin and eyesight.

Ginger: Used in various dishes, teas, and desserts, ginger is widely known for its health-promoting properties. Ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that offer great health benefits. Moreover, ginger is popular for use as a home remedy for boosting immunity during seasonal infections.

Beetroots: This vibrant low-calorie plant is packed with dietary nutrients, including vitamins A and B9 (folate), vitamin C, antioxidants, and fibre. They fight infections, improve stamina, and keep your blood pressure in check. Due to their high fibre content, beetroots are great for digestive health.

Corn: This starchy vegetable is highly loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that aid in protecting our cells from damage. They contain carotenoids, an essential compound that enhances immune system function. It also contains small traces of vitamins B, E, and K, potassium, and magnesium that help ward off infections.

Pumpkin: Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre, this superfood is an incredibly healthy dietary choice. That said, it is low in calories with highly nutritious content, which altogether elevates your immune system. Also, pumpkin flesh contains high fibre which is good for your gut health.

Artichoke: This veggie contains high antioxidants, minerals like iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Artichokes aid in removing toxins from the body, lower cholesterol, and keep your immune system in prime shape. It repairs damaged immune cells and has anti-inflammatory properties.


A healthy immune system is critical for survival. Our immunity is a complex system that constantly monitors signs of danger. Since we are exposed to potentially harmful substances on a regular basis, it is important to follow healthy lifestyle factors to boost immunity against foreign invaders.

One way to strengthen your immune system is to add vegetables to your daily diet.

Vegetables contain rich sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre, which together keep our immune system in tip-top shape. In addition to enhancing the immune response, eating more vegetables reduces the risk of several chronic diseases, even certain types of cancer.

Instead of ultra-processed diets, it is recommended to add vegetables to your daily dietary plan to secure a healthy lifestyle.


  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. How does the immune system work? [Internet]. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2020. Available from:
  2. Mitra S, Paul S, Roy S, Sutradhar H, Bin Emran T, Nainu F, et al. Exploring the Immune-Boosting Functions of Vitamins and Minerals as Nutritional Food Bioactive Compounds: A Comprehensive Review. Molecules. 2022 Jan 16;27(2):555.
  3. Childs C, Calder P, Miles E. Diet and Immune Function. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 Aug 16;11(8):1933. Available from:
  4. Zinöcker M, Lindseth I. The Western Diet–Microbiome-Host Interaction and Its Role in Metabolic Disease. Nutrients [Internet]. 2018 Mar 17;10(3):365. Available from:
  5. Calder PC. Foods to deliver immune-supporting nutrients. Current Opinion in Food Science [Internet]. 2022 Feb 1;43:136–45. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Sadaf Ahmed

Master of Science - MSc, Physiology, Clinical & Molecular Hematology, Karachi University, Pakistan

Sadaf is an experienced writer who creates a quality and well-researched scripts particularly related to Health Sciences.

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