To feel energized and ready to tackle on whatever the day may bring, we rely on our immune system to keep us healthy and going strong. A strong immune system fights off viruses, heals wounds, keeps you awake and alert, and attacks anything trying to harm the body. If you’re feeling run-down, tired, and sick, then your immune system could use a little help.

The healthier we are, the stronger our immune systems. One of the best ways to achieve and maintain optimum health is to start by controlling and paying attention to what you’re feeding your system. Diets can vary so much per person; just imagine how many people could avoid cold and flu-like symptoms if only their immune system were stronger. Fight off illness by protecting your body with food, one of the best preventative medicines. Strengthen your immune system with these raw foods:

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1. Carrots

Carrots are great choices to dip in hummus, eat as a snack, or toss over a salad. They are also a fantastic source of vitamin A, which boosts the body’s ability in fighting infections, protecting you from colds, sore throat, and viral infections. Try this carrot coconut salad, raw carrot avocado soup, and raw mandarin carrot cake with lemon cream.

Strengthen Your Immune System with these Raw Foods

2. Goji Berries

These berries are super healthy, and they have been considered a healing food in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years to help eyesight, boost immune function, and promote longevity. Goji berries are an excellent source of B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. They contain 500 times more vitamin C per weight than an orange and generally have more beta-carotene than carrots. A ¼ cup serving of goji berries contains 180 percent of your RDA of vitamin A and 30 percent of your RDA of vitamin C. Try using these berries in a raw vegan chocolate pudding tart with coconut cream and goji berries.

Strengthen Your Immune System with these Raw Foods

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3. Avocados

Avocados contain Vitamin E, which enhances immune activity, protects the body tissue from damage, maintains healthy hair and skin, and aids in production of antibodies. Additionally, avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6. They are an excellent source of healthy fats. Use them in avocado kale chili salad or raw zucchini pasta with creamy avocado cucumber sauce.

 Strengthen Your Immune System with these Raw Foods

4. Kale

Kale makes the cut for most lists when it comes to protecting your greatest asset, your health. This dark, leafy green vegetable is a powerhouse at keeping illness away. Try this raw massaged kale salad with fresh figs and oranges.

Strengthen Your Immune System with these Raw Foods

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5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are great for vegan cooking because they can take on a hearty, meaty texture and taste, making them great stand-ins for red meat in a recipe. There are so many varieties of mushrooms that will help your immune system. Reishi acts as an immune modulator, regulating and fine tuning the immune system, while shitake mushooms contain lentinan which is a natural anti-tumor compound, and also offer much immune system support. Enokitake mushrooms also offer significant anti-cancer and immune-enhancing effects. Try them in this mushroom mattar masala.

Strengthen Your Immune System with these Raw Foods

Lead image source: Raw Zucchini Pasta with Creamy Avocado Cucumber Sauce

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