With warm weather (hopefully) right around the corner, everyone knows they’re nothing worse than a spring quarter cold. Here are some bacteria-killing, immunity-boosting foods to eat to protect yourself for the rest of the school year in anticipation of the warm summer sun.

1. Foods rich in vitamin C

We all know vitamin C benefits the immune system, but foods rich in vitamin C also contain antioxidants. You don’t have to chug orange juice or OD on Emergen-C – leafy greens, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, papaya, bell peppers, lemons, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, kiwis and cantaloupe are all great sources.

Immune system

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2. Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are the healthy bacteria your intestine needs to keep your digestive system free of germs. Eat it plain or mix it with berries or granola.

Immune system

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3. Oats

Oats contain beta-glucan, which is an antimicrobial fiber and antioxidant. Also, the protein in oats will give your body a much-needed energy boost and dose of fiber.

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4. Garlic

Okay, so maybe you don’t want to consume copious amounts of garlic (and if you do, please eat a mint), but garlic fights infection and bacteria.

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5. Black tea

Tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which fights viruses.

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6. Coconuts

Coconut milk, coconut water or coconut oil – coconuts are rich in lauric acid, which is converted to monolaurin in your body. Monolaurin is a compound that strengthens your immunity. Not to mention the taste of coconut may trick you into thinking you’re in Hawaii.

Immune system

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7. Fish

Fish, especially shellfish, helps white blood cells produce proteins that clear flu viruses. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which helps your lungs allow good airflow and avoid respiratory infection.

Immune system

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8. Berries

Berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly blueberries and raspberries. Make a smoothie, toss them in your cereal, yogurt or granola. You can also just eat them plain.

Immune system

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9. Zinc

Zinc helps with the production of white blood cells and can be found in beef, oysters, fortified cereals, pork, poultry, yogurt and milk.

Immune system

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10. Mushrooms

Mushrooms also help produce white blood cells. Mixing them into a stir-fry or putting them in a salad are great ways to sneak them into your diet.

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11. Turmeric

This spice is high in antioxidants and antibacterial components. Sprinkle it on top of your rice, grilled veggies or potatoes.


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12. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin A, a nutrient that helps build strong, healthy skin. Your skin is an important part of your immune system, as it acts as a physical barrier.

Immune system

Photo by Rachel Cali and Sarah Cali