3 Healthful Vegan Foods that Boost Your Immune System

Want to avoid getting sidelined by a cold or flu? By choosing vegan foods that boost your immune system, you'll give your body the support it needs to vanquish viruses.


If you consume vegan foods that boost your immune system, you’ll give your body the nourishment it needs to preserve health and maintain peak productivity. Choices such as oranges and garlic may help fight infections.

Making your dreams a reality requires time and effort, and good health gives you the resilience to persevere and win.

Good health starts with a strong immune system. In recent years, many have embraced the vegan diet, which is 100% plant-based. There are vegan foods that boost your immune system, and they can help your body keep illness at bay.  

The plant-based foods discussed below can provide your immune system with the resources it needs to perform at its best. Keep reading to learn how these nutritious fruits and vegetables can help you stay healthy and give you the fortitude to excel. 

Vegan immune booster #1: Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes

plate of veggies and lentils in a bowl

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are commonly referred to as yams. To understand how they boost your immune system, you first have to understand the value of vitamin A. 

Ingesting this vitamin is essential if you want to build a healthy immune system. Studies have linked low vitamin A levels to reduced immunity

That takes us to beta carotene. Your body converts this plant-based compound to vitamin A. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene; that’s what gives their flesh that rich orange hue. Your body uses the abundant beta carotene present in orange-fleshed sweet potatoes to create immune-boosting vitamin A. 

Your gut is your body’s first line of defense against many pathogens that cause sickness. Therefore, a healthy gut is a key part of a strong immune system. 

In addition to supporting immunity in general, vitamin A works specifically to foster gut health. It does this by working to keep your gut lining in good shape, and this can help that part of your body ward off disease.

Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have linked vitamin A deficiency to gut inflammation. Gut inflammation can diminish your immune system’s ability to fight infections. 

Sweet potatoes provide an additional benefit: They contain powerful antioxidants. In some studies, these antioxidants have been effective in preventing cancer. 

Boost your immunity by including orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in your plant-based diet. Beta carotene is fat-soluble, so consume your sweet potatoes with added fat, such as olive oil or avocados.  

Vegan immune booster #2: Oranges

pile of oranges in a dark room

Vitamin C is a popular supplement during cold and flu season. This is because it bolsters the immune system. In one study, it halved the number of colds in physically active people. It can also help you recover more quickly from these illnesses. 

How does this vitamin produce these health benefits? Vitamin C helps the body ramp up its production of white blood cells. These blood cells play a crucial role in battling pathogens. 

As with many citrus fruits, oranges are a rich source of vitamin C.  Keep in mind that your body doesn’t produce or store this valuable vitamin. This means you need to consume it daily if you want to reap the benefits of its immune-boosting power. 

Maintain high levels of vitamin C by adding oranges to your vegan eating plan. You’ll also find this vitamin in citrus fruits such as grapefruits, limes, tangerines and lemons. 

Vegan immune booster #3: Garlic

whole garlic cloves in a colander

Garlic is said to terrify vampires, and it also has the goods to terrify pathogens. This is one of the most potent vegan foods that boost your immune system. For centuries, it’s been prized for its health-promoting properties. 

Studies have shown that garlic can prevent you from getting a cold or flu. If you come down with these illnesses, garlic may hasten recovery and help make your symptoms less severe. 

One study showed that volunteers who ingested garlic for three months were less likely to get a cold than those who ingested a placebo. Also, those who consumed garlic had colds that were shorter than those experienced by the placebo group. 

Garlic contains compounds that are loaded with sulfur, and this is what gives this vegetable its distinctive smell. Research shows that sulfur can heighten the ability of your body’s white blood cells to fight off viruses. 

Keep your immune system in top shape by using garlic to add flavor to your food. 

Next steps

Some turn to a vegan diet for health reasons or weight loss, while others do so based on ethical concerns. It’s clear that the gluten-free plant-based foods mentioned above can bolster your immune system. Include them with your meals to stay healthy and fit. 

Skip the trip to the grocery store by having Fresh N Lean ship delicious meals to your doorstep. We offer vegan dishes that include garlic, sweet potatoes and other immune-boosting ingredients.

Fresh N Lean is the nation’s largest organic meal delivery service. Our tasty, chef-prepared cuisine is always fresh and never frozen, and we offer convenient meal plans like Protein+, Keto, Paleo, Standard Vegan and Mediterranean. Choose Fresh N Lean for affordable nutrition, delivered to your doorstep.