Eating a healthy, balanced diet is good for us. It gives us energy, and it keeps our immune systems in good shape. But there are certain foods that are especially good for our immune systems. When we eat these immunity boosters on a regular basis, we have an easier time avoiding illness. We can also fight it off more quickly when it does occur. Here are some of the best immune-boosting foods.

* Citrus fruits – When it comes to boosting our immune systems, one of the most important vitamins is Vitamin C. Long hailed as our immune system’s best friend, it is crucial that we get an adequate amount of it each day. Citrus fruits are the most recognizable food source of Vitamin C, and they have lots of it. Lemons, oranges, and tangerines are some citrus fruits that are great for our immune systems.

* Raw vegetables – Vegetables have a number of nutrients that boost our immune systems. These include Vitamin E and Beta Carotene. But did you know that vegetables provide far greater benefits when eaten raw? Cooking tends to leech the nutrients out of them. If you can’t bear the thought of eating a particular vegetable raw, lightly steaming it will keep most of the nutrients intact. The best vegetables for our immune systems are dark green and orange ones such as spinach, greens, sweet potatoes and carrots.

* Nuts and seeds – These make tasty snacks, and they have great nutritional value. Sunflower seeds and almonds are great sources of Vitamin E. A daily serving of Brazil nuts gives us more than enough selenium. And a number of nuts and seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to increase the activity of white blood cells and speed up healing.

* Water – Water is a drink, not a food, but getting enough of it is very important to our immune systems. Water cleanses our bodies of impurities, allowing our immune systems to concentrate on fighting off germs. It is very important, however, to make sure that the water you are drinking is of high quality. Certain substances that are often found in water can actually be harmful to our immune systems.

* Herbs – There are a number of herbs that are good for our immune systems. Some of them, such as garlic, are tasty as seasonings. Some make a nice tea. Others do not taste as good, but can be consumed in pill form. Some of the best herbs for the immune system include the aforementioned garlic, astragalus, goldenseal, and olive leaf extract.

The immune system is crucial to our good health, so it is very important to take good care of it. By including these foods in your diet on a regular basis, you can help keep your immune system running smoothly.