3 Foods to Increase Your Body's Natural Defenses

Vitamin C and zinc are two key nutrients your body needs to increase its natural defenses. For that reason, you should include foods in your diet that contain them.
3 Foods to Increase Your Body's Natural Defenses

Last update: 03 April, 2021

Your diet can improve your body’s natural defenses, but it can also worsen them. For that reason, it’s important to know which foods are the best to increase these defenses with the objective of reducing the occurrence of infections caused by the microorganisms that are present in the environment.

When it comes to sport, improving your body’s natural defenses translates to an improvement in your sporting performance over time. This happens because you’re able to do a higher number of sessions at a higher intensity, without interruptions. For that reason, improving your diet is key in almost all areas.

Foods to increase your body’s defenses

Below, we explain which foods are the best to increase your body’s natural defenses. We recommend that you regularly include them in your diet so that you’re able to enjoy all the benefits.


Peppers stand out for their antioxidant and vitamin C content. This nutrient contributes to a better functioning immune system, according to an investigation published in Nutrients magazine. Maintaining high vitamin C levels in your body is linked to a lower risk of developing common colds, and experiencing the associated symptoms for a lesser duration of time.

red peppers on a plate with garlic in a restaurant

Similarly, the antioxidants in peppers can also help to regulate inflammation in the body. When this happens, it reduces the number of inefficiencies on an organic level, which has a positive impact on your individual health and the function of your body’s natural defenses.


Nuts are healthy. They contain proteins and unsaturated fatty acids. Eating them regularly is linked to a lower risk of developing cardiovascular and inflammatory illnesses. Additionally, they stand out for their micronutrient concentration, especially iron, calcium, and zinc!

The latter has the ability to influence the differentiation of white blood cells, which participate in the immune system. A study published in Nutrients magazine demonstrates this.

So, it guarantees much more efficient homeostasis and reduces the number of random mutations in our genetic material. Zinc also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Citrus foods

The fruits that belong in the citrus group also have the ability to increase the body’s natural defenses. On one hand, because they have a significant concentration of vitamin C. And on the other because citric acid has an antimicrobic action due to its pH level. This allows it to destroy some of the harmful microorganisms that can cause health problems.

However, it’s important to avoid consuming these in juices as they tend to waste a large quantity of the nutrients the fruits contain and the same happens with their fiber content. Instead of these nutrients, you’re consuming simple sugars that are diluted in water, which are too aggressive for the function of your pancreas.

When drinking fruit juices, you may experience a negative impact on your glycemic levels, which can negatively affect your metabolic health over time. To summarise, it’s always best to eat whole, natural fruits.

citrus fruits on a table; oranges, limes, lemons

Other ways to increase your body’s natural defenses

In addition to emphasizing the importance of ingesting the foods we’ve mentioned to increase your body’s natural defenses, it’s also important to adopt other life habits that can have an impact. For example, we recommend you regularly do physical activity. This will allow you to maintain a good overall body state.

Guaranteeing you get enough rest is also essential. When we sleep, our bodies carry out many recuperation processes and maintain homeostasis.  If you don’t get enough hours of sleep, you may increase your risk of contracting harmful infections and developing chronic health problems in the long run.

Include foods in your diet to increase your body’s natural defenses

If you regularly introduce these foods into your diet to increase your body’s natural defenses, you’ll reduce your probability of contracting infectious illnesses, caused by microorganisms.

You should also avoid ultra-processed foods and simple sugars to keep inflammatory processes controlled. If these are out of control, you may negatively affect your immune system.

Lastly, it’s important to adopt healthy habits such as regular physical exercise and adequate rest. Maintaining a healthy overall body state will also be a key factor in improving your body’s natural defenses.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11):1211.
  • Wessels I, Maywald M, Rink L. Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 25;9(12):1286

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.