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The Top Immune-Boosting Keto-Friendly Fruits and Vegetables

You’ve probably heard it before: eating the rainbow can improve your health and boost your immune system. That’s because brightly colored fruits and vegetables tend to be rich in vitamins and minerals, which are critical for immune health. 

This is true no matter what diet you’re on, including the keto diet. 

The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that calls for a caloric breakdown of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Because of this, most fruits won’t make the cut for keto dieters due to their high carb content. There are still plenty of fruits that are keto-friendly, including one high-fat superfruit (avocados!). Plus, there are many low-carb vegetable options from which to choose.

“Food is the best medicine we have to keep our bodies strong against potential illness and infection on a daily basis. Now, more than ever, a focus on a varied and colorful ketogenic diet is so very important. Watching your macros doesn’t mean avoiding your micros (vitamins and minerals). Make the carbs you have count! I’m all for getting one serving of green leafy veggies, dark berries, or other bright low-carb and keto-friendly veggies at each meal,” said Molly Devine, RD.

In short, the keto diet includes many healthy immune-boosting fruits and vegetables that can help prevent you from getting sick, or help minimize cold and flu symptoms. 

Best Immune-Boosting Keto-Friendly Fruits

Avocados

This heart-healthy superfruit is one of the best things you can eat on the keto diet, or on any diet, for that matter. A 3.5-ounce serving contains only 1.5g net carbs [1]. Avocados are also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate. Plus, the fiber in avocados is great for digestive health.

Keto breakfast scramble

Raspberries

This berry is one of the healthiest berries you can eat. Raspberries contain antioxidants which may reduce the risk of disease and infection. The anti-inflammatory properties of raspberries may protect you from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It can also support weight loss efforts [2].

A cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber and more than half of the RDI for vitamin C, an immune-boosting vitamin [3]

Strawberries

Strawberries are low in carbs and high in vitamin C, so are an excellent choice when it comes to immune-boosting keto fruits. A cup is just 8.7g of net carbs and it’s loaded with vitamins (including vitamin C), minerals, and antioxidants [4].

Tomatoes

Although often thought of as a vegetable, tomatoes are technically a fruit. A one-cup serving contains 2g of fiber and 5g of net carbs [5]. Their immune-boosting properties come from antioxidants including lycopene, beta carotene, and naringenin [6]. They’re great in salads and other dishes.

avocado salsa

Blueberries

These nutrient-dense berries are a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as manganese. One cup contains 4 grams of fiber, which supports digestive health [7]

Blueberries are known for their high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants have been shown to protect the body against diseases, reduce inflammation, and slow the aging process [8].

Keto blueberry cobbler

Açaí Berries

This dark purple fruit comes from the açaí palm tree in Central and South America. Acai berries are often called a superfood due to its antioxidant properties. They’re full of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants linked to health benefits, such as enhancing immunity and minimizing inflammation [9][10]

Researchers are studying açaí berries as a potential treatment for chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, due to their immune-boosting benefits. 

Lemons

This tart fruit is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. An average lemon is just 4g of net carbs [11]. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into tea or use it in recipes. Lemons go particularly well with seafood dishes. 

lemon herb salmon

Best Immune-Boosting Keto-Friendly Vegetables

Arugula

Arugula is one of the most micronutrient-dense foods you can put in your body. This peppery veggie has more phytochemicals than any other green leafy vegetable. It’s a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and folate [12]. Add it to your salad to give it a flavorful kick.   

Spinach

Another superfood, spinach is a low-carb leafy green that provides vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, folate, magnesium, and iron. All of these work together to boost the immune system. Spinach can be eaten raw in salads, sautéed with olive oil and garlic, used in recipes, and even blended into smoothies. 

Keto omelet

Broccoli 

This nutrient-dense veggie is great for immune health. Bummed you can’t eat oranges on keto? One cup of broccoli contains as much vitamin C as an orange does. Other essential vitamins and minerals include B vitamins, namely B1, B2, B3, and B6, plus zinc, beta carotene, and potassium. 

Another reason to love broccoli? It contains glutathione, an antioxidant known for its ability to reduce the levels of oxidative stress. Higher levels of oxidative stress is associated with diseases, such as cancer, so it appears that foods that lower oxidative stress can reduce the risk of disease [13].

broccoli

Bell Peppers

This low-carb vegetable is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, making them a tasty way to boost immune health. Bell peppers come in various colors, including red, orange, yellow, and green. One medium-sized bell pepper contains 169% of the RDI of vitamin C, as well as vitamins A, B6, E, and K, potassium, and folate [14]. They’re delicious raw or cooked.

Kale 

Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. This leafy green is a member of the cabbage family. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, K, C, and B6, plus manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, and magnesium [15][16].

keto chicken salad recipe

Garlic

Garlic has long been known for its immune-boosting qualities. The bulbs are rich in antioxidants and have anti-viral properties that can help prevent the common cold and flu, reduce the severity of symptoms, or minimize the duration of illnesses [17][18][19]. 

Mushrooms 

Mushrooms contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for the immune system to work properly, namely selenium, riboflavin, and niacin. Another reason to eat mushrooms? They are high in polysaccharides, which are molecules that are known for boosting immune function [20]. Popular options include button, cremini, portobello, shiitake, and oyster [21].

Rosemary 

Technically a herb, rosemary is an easy and healthy way to add flavor to recipes. It contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, which enhances gut health, and therefore, your immune system. Other herbs that have similar gut-health qualities include thyme, sage, basil, and oregano [22][23][24].

hanger steak

Ginger 

Ginger is a root that contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting functions. These can help protect the body against radicals that lead to diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and other chronic disorders. Ginger can be used in cooking (it’s very popular in Asian stir-fry dishes), or steeped in hot water to make tea. The anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of ginger make it a real powerhouse for immune health [25][26][27].

oxtail stew

Eat the Rainbow for Optimal Health 

When it comes to keeping your immune system strong, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important. It doesn’t happen overnight so the key is to make it a regular part of your daily diet. 

For those on a keto diet, eating an abundance of berries and green leafy greens is a good way to keep carbs at a minimum while maximizing nutrient intake.

Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals that support immune health and protect you from getting sick. If you do get sick, having a strong immune system can help shorten the duration of your illness or minimize the severity of the symptoms.

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