Foods to eat to avoid getting sick

Foods to eat to avoid getting sick

Have you ever wondered if you could proactively avoid getting sick through your diet? If there were foods that would fight off the disease-causing bugs that knock you off your feet for days or even weeks?

Elizabeth Zawila, registered dietitian at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill. says the answer is yes, and in order to be successful, one thing is key. “Overall, it is important to pick foods and supplements that are easy to include in your diet,” she explains.

Some foods Zawila recommends include:

Fruits and Vegetables

“Most fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties that help keep our system operating at its best and help us prevent illness,” Zawila says. “The average American gets less than the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, so simply striving to meet this recommendation does wonders for overall nutrition.”


Zawila points out that “there is some preliminary evidence to suggest that various micronutrient deficiencies can alter the immune response in animals. There is still more research that needs to be conducted in this area, but it’s possible that being deficient in zinc, iron, copper, folic acid, Vitamins A, B6, C and E can lead to lowered immunity. Because it is not easy to know what we are deficient in, taking a multivitamin, even if it’s not taken consistently, can help.”

Vitamin C is commonly highlighted as being helpful for our immune system. “People automatically turn to orange juice, but other high vitamin C foods that you may want to include in your diet are dark leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, berries, tomatoes and even peas,” Zawila advises.


Are you a tea fan? While Zawila realizes some people may not like tea, like many beverages, she explains, “We can train ourselves to enjoy them. The first time I drank tea, I did not like it. Now I love it. It can be easily brewed at home, ordered when out and about and kept on hand in the fridge for easy consumption. Adding some lemon also helps add a little extra vitamin C.”


Beef may seem to be a surprising food on the list to combat sickness. “Many people avoid beef because many cuts are high in fat, but beef is not necessarily an unhealthy food,” she says. In fact, a recent article in Men’s Health  identified zinc deficiency as one of the most common nutritional shortfalls among American adults, especially for vegetarians and those who’ve cut back on beef, a prime source of this immunity-bolstering mineral. According to the article, “a 3-oz serving of lean beef provides about 30 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for zinc. This could be enough to make the difference between deficient and sufficient.”

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One Comment

  1. For me, I need a steady diet of fat-free yogurt. Good for the immune system. If I go without yogurt for 2 or 3 days, I begin to feel blah.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.