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6 Thanksgiving Foods That Taste Delicious and Can Boost Your Immunity


Your Thanksgiving spread wouldn’t be complete with favorites like roasted turkey and green beans. While they grace the dinner table each and every year, it turns out they also have health perks that make them worth enjoying for seconds. Here are six foods that are holiday staples and have immune boosting benefits!

Red wine blocks viral spread.

Sipping four to eight ounces of red wine daily can cut the risk of colds and influenza by 40 percent. That’s the word from Yale University researchers, who say grape skin compounds called flavonoids stop viruses from inserting their genetic material into the cells lining your nose, throat and lungs — which is an essential step in their replication and spread.

Pumpkin stops bacteria growth.

The compound that gives pumpkin its cheery orange hue (beta-carotene) energizes the immune system, increasing its production of bacteria-killing T cells by 33 percent. No wonder Norwegian scientists have found that enjoying 1⁄2 cup of this versatile vegetable daily cuts winter illness risk by 25 percent, plus reduces the risk of troublesome complications, such as bacterial sinus infections and bronchitis, by 65 percent.

Turkey destroys invading bugs at point of entry.

This holiday staple is packed with amino acids that slash the production of immunity-sapping cortisol. Plus, it’s loaded with zinc — an antiviral mineral that halves risk of illness by destroying germs in the tissues lining the nose and throat, their most common point of entry. More good news: Spanish research suggests orrecting zinc shortfalls cuts recovery time (for colds, influenza and even Covid-19) by as much as 68 percent. The study-proven dose: four ounces of turkey daily.

Mushrooms activate immune cells.

Beta-glucans in mushrooms energize virus-killing white blood cells, halving the risk of colds or the flu if you enjoy one cup daily. Bonus: New Japanese research suggests that beta-glucans reduce Covid-19 severity since these virus busters are also powerful natural anti-inflammatories.

Green beans balance blood sugar.

We think of them as vegetables, yet green beans are actually legumes, and they steady blood sugar as quickly and effectively as kidney beans. That’s key since UCLA scientists say steady blood sugar keeps immune cells energized to cut symptom severity — and risk of complications — by 65 percent if you develop any viral illness, including Covid-19.

Garlic boosts antibody output.

Great news for garlic lovers: Eating one large clove daily (raw or cooked) could cut your risk of viral infections by 63 percent — plus trim four days off your recovery time if you’re under the weather, suggests a study in the Journal of Immunology Research. Credit garlic’s sulfur compounds, which boost the production of virus-killing antibodies by 40 percent — often within 48 hours of the first bite.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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