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We all know a healthy and balanced diet is essential for a healthy body and a super healthy immune system.  To make sure you stay healthy through the cold-weather seasons, check out which immune-boosting superfoods you should stock your pantry with. Find all the healthy products we recommend in this article at iHerb, where you can find an amazing selection of healthy foods and supplements at awesome prices.

Here are some of our favorite immune-boosting foods we’re stocking in our pantry:


1. Warm Spices

Warm spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon can add delicious exotic flavor to your favorite fall dishes. But they have a variety of health benefits too!

With anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, these spices can help ward off infection while their antioxidants have anti-inflammatory effects that can help protect cells from damage.

They also have prebiotic properties and may improve gut health, which is where your good bacteria and the front line of your immune defense reside. [1]

Turmeric and ginger are great for marinades, dry rubs, stews, soups, and curries, while cinnamon is the perfect spice for adding fall flavor to your apple and pumpkin baked goods. 

For USDA organic spices at a great price, try the exclusive line of spices from California Gold Nutrition available only at iHerb. Super fresh, they’re also non-GMO, non-Irradiated, Non-ETO (not sterilized with ethylene oxide, a gas that kills fungus and bacteria), and gluten-free.

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2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a potent immune booster and natural antibiotic. It’s also antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal because of its rich concentration of two fatty acids: lauric acid and caprylic acid. [7]

A great substitute for butter and vegetable oils, coconut oil which has a smoke point of 350 degrees is ideal to use for medium-heat cooking and baking recipes. Coconut oil is also naturally gluten-free, vegan, keto, and Paleo-friendly.

For a healthy and high-quality organic coconut oil, try California Gold Nutrition Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Made by cold pressing the liquid from coconut meat and then separating the oil without the use of chemicals, it’s a smooth, unrefined virgin oil that’s GMO, hexane, pesticide-free and packaged in plastic that is BPA and phthalate free.

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3. Soups, Stocks, and Bone Broth

Fall is soup season! Not only are soups an easy way to get dinner on the table, but they can help you get more healthy veggies and important nutrients in your diet. Plus, you don’t need a ton of ingredients to make a great soup. And sipping broths can also stand in as a healthy midday snack or warm alternative to coffee or tea.

For a nutritious soup base, bone broth is a healthy option made with simmered bones, herbs, and veggies. The major benefit of bone broth is that it’s rich in collagen, a type of protein found throughout your body that helps strengthen and provide support for your bones, joints, skin, hair, and nails.

Collagen is rich in glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body that is incredibly important for healthy metabolism and immune function in every one of our cells. Glutamine also helps to strengthen the lining of our guts, which can prevent pathogens from passing through. [2]

For a fast, filling, and delicious natural chicken or beef bone broth that’s infused with collagen try Lonolife Keto Broth. Great on the go, it comes in individual stick packs that provide 10 g protein, and 3 grams of fiber per serving. Plus, they’re friendly for Paleo and Keto diets.

Another healthy alternative to bone broth is miso soup. Made with a fermented soybean paste that has that satisfying umami flavor, miso soup is rich in nutrients like manganese, vitamin K, copper, and zinc.

Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in fermented foods like miso can support immune function and help fight infections. [3] The probiotics in miso can also help improve gut health, which is directly linked with healthy immunity.

For an instant miso soup option, try Edward & Sons Instant Miso-Cup. They also offer vegan-friendly bouillon cubes that are great for any time you want to throw a pot on or give flavor to sauces.

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4. Sea Vegetables

The food we should all be eating more of to boost our health and immune system is sea vegetables, a.k.a, edible seaweed. Nutrient-dense and full of antioxidants, seaweed is  a good source of the immune boosting vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene. One of the best sources of iodine, which is important in thyroid health, but also acts as an antioxidant, antimicrobial by nature and  can help regulate and boost immune function.  [4]

Seaweed is also a better source of  copper and iron per gram than beef or spinach, which is important in optimal immunity.  Sea veggies are rich in plant compounds called lignans which have been isolated for their cancer-protective properties and are a good source vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids, the key building block of cell membranes  which can ease inflammation and boost immunity [5]

Sea vegetables come in a wide variety of seaweed types and styles such as raw, pickled, dried, and toasted. If you’re just getting started with seaweed, Nori, those thin sheets of seaweed that are wrapped around your sushi rolls, is one of the easiest ways to use it in your kitchen. You can learn to make your own sushi at home, or simply use it to wrap around avocado and veggies. Kelp granules are another easy way to get more seaweed in your diet. A little bit salty, simply sprinkle some over your salads, popcorn, or soups to season.

Before eating seaweed, check with a doctor if you have any thyroid condition or are on thyroid medication.

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5. Kuzu (Kudzu) Root Starch

When the weather gets chilly, we naturally crave heartier dishes. To thicken these dishes, ingredients like cornstarch or flour are traditionally called for in recipes. But if you’re looking for a healthier option, or avoid wheat or corn, Kuzu starch is a healthy and gluten-free alternative. 

Widely used and native in China and Japan, and also known as Pueraria, Pueraria root, and Ge Gen, Kuzu root is one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. High in antioxidants, Kuzu has been used as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including colds, sore throats, headaches, upset stomach, indigestion, and fatigue. [6]

Besides using Kuzu to thicken stews and gravies, Kuzu root starch can also thicken desserts while adding creaminess to pies, puddings, and cheesecake.

Kudzu root like this organic one from Eden Foods is flavorless and easy to use. 

For each cup of liquid:

  • Dissolve 1 tablespoon Kuzu in 2 tablespoons cold liquid to thicken desserts
  • Dissolve 1 tsp Kuzu in 2 tsp cold liquid to thicken sauces or gravies.

Simply whisk in until clear and thick and warmed and add more until you get the consistency you’re looking for.

As a cold or stomach ache remedy, try adding a teaspoon of Kuzu to the warm tea or beverage of your choice. 

Note: Avoid kudzu if you’re taking methotrexate, tamoxifen or have hormone-sensitive cancer.

Recommended Products: Eden Foods Organic Kuzu Root Starch


6. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar or ACV for short, has a cult following with uses reported for everything from helping to boost fat loss to reducing acid reflux and indigestion. What studies have shown is that apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties with the ability to kill off certain bacteria, yeasts, and fungal infections. [8]

While studies are mixed on whether ACV is an effective cold remedy, apple cider vinegar with the “mother” – a cloudy residue you’ll see in the jar’s bottom- is a good source of antioxidants and probiotics that can aid in gut and immune health.

Either way, it’s a healthy vinegar that should be in every pantry. To get the good stuff, just make sure the label says raw and contains the mother. Use apple cider vinegar in your salad dressings, and marinades, or add a splash to soups and stews for a little tang. Use it to quick pickle veggies.  

Try this Certified Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Tonic from Dynamic Health Laboratories. Delicious and blended with ginger and lemon, it’s nice as a cleansing digestive aid, and tonic before eating to help improve digestion or to boost energy in the morning.

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7. Immune Boosting Teas

Cold weather is the best weather for hot tea. There are so many varieties to choose from and each of the ingredients in the tea you choose will carry its own benefits.

Here are a few beneficial herbal tea ingredients to stock in your pantry:

  • Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): strengthen the respiratory system and enhance immune response. [9]
  • Rosehips (Rosa canina): Bright and tangy, rosehips are potent immune boosters and have the highest amount of vitamin C of all fruits and vegetables. [10]
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Use as a cough remedy and soothe the respiratory system. [11]
  • Dandelion: (Taraxaci officinales): Antimicrobial and antiviral, dandelion is nutrient-rich and can help promote healthy liver and detoxification. Several test-tube studies found that dandelion extract significantly reduced the ability of viruses to replicate (12, 13).
  • Tulsi: also known as Holy basil, this naturally sweet herb is amazing for a deep night’s rest, but can also boost immunity and help with stress and anxiety. [14]
  • Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea): A flowering herb native to North America, echinacea has been used as an immune defense for centuries. [15]
  • Green Tea: A great boost of energy without the jitters, green tea is high in antioxidants called catechins which have been shown in studies to increase metabolism, lower cholesterol, decrease inflammation and boost the activity of immune system cells.  [16, 17 ]
  • Matcha: With the most antioxidants of all green teas, Matcha is a type of green tea in which the whole leaves are finely ground and mixed into hot water instead of steeped. Matcha can be used in baked goods as well. Try swapping out your coffee for a matcha latte instead.

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8. Raw Honey

A natural way to sweeten your tea or coffee, raw honey, is a superfood you’ll want in your cool weather pantry. Raw honey is honey, that is only processed by straining. This leaves its beneficial nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants intact.

When you’re sick, raw honey is naturally antimicrobial and can help soothe a sore throat.

Raw honey is also:

  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. A review in 2021 found honey is a helpful remedy that “was superior to usual care for the improvement of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.” [18]
  • A source of vitamins like Vitamin C, pantothenic acid (B5), niacin (B3), and riboflavin and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc [ 19]
  • Good for healthy digestion and can help lower bad cholesterol levels [20]

Besides sweetening teas and coffee, honey is great to use in marinades and salad dressings. We love it drizzled over Greek yogurt or goat cheese or used in baked goods like muffins or cornbread.

Commercial honey is often pasteurized (treated with heat), ultra-filtered, watered down, or cut with corn syrup. These practices to make a cheaper product can all negate the natural health benefits of honey in its natural state. Raw honey is naturally cloudy, and if it doesn’t say raw on the label, it’s not.

Honey is still sugar, so be sure to use it in moderation.

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9. Mushrooms

Warm, earthy, and sometimes nutty, mushrooms shine in richer, heavier dishes like we often crave in fall and winter. Besides being tasty, mushrooms are high in nutrients and antioxidants and have a variety of health and immune-boosting benefits. 

Mushrooms are:

  • High in protein! Mushrooms have over a dozen vitamins and minerals, including nutrients like B12, vitamin C, selenium, zinc, potassium, and copper.
  • A good food source of vitamin D.
  • Rich in a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. It can help lower bad cholesterol and boost the immune system. Oyster and shitake mushrooms are especially high in beta-glucans. [21, 22]
  • The best dietary source of powerful antioxidants glutathione and ergothioneine, which can help protect cells from damage. [23] Glutathione, called the body’s “master antioxidant” is used to by cells during detoxification. [24] Porcini mushrooms are rich in these compounds. 

Since different varieties of mushrooms carry different amounts of nutrients, try adding a wide variety to your diet.

They’re also super versatile to use in the kitchen! Besides sauteing and roasting, add mushrooms to soups, stews, omelets, pasta, and salads, or mix in with meat loaves or meatballs for what we call a flexitarian style dish. They also make a great meat-like addition to vegetarian and vegan dishes. 

For some new delicious ways to get your mushrooms, try naturally energizing mushroom-infused hot chocolate, or our new favorite snack – mushroom jerky!

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iHerb has a variety of products for all your healthy pantry needs! 

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