As the seasons change, everyone wants to stay well when a virus is going around. Washing your hands and staying away from anyone who is sick both help, but that’s not all you can do to protect yourself. Focusing on your diet and making sure it includes immune-boosting superfoods is another great way to keep yourself healthy. If you want to eat to increase your immunity, incorporate these five powerhouse foods into your diet.

  1. Garlic

This versatile veggie is among the best-known immune-boosting superfoods in the world. It has long been touted as an antidote to sickness, and modern-day research suggests that its powers are real. Garlic contains calcium, potassium and sulfuric compounds that help fight infection. It is most potent in its raw form. Eat it fresh in homemade salad dressings or roasted with root vegetables.

  1. Yogurt or Kefir

Yogurt and other cultured milk products such as kefir contain naturally occurring probiotics that can help support a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that eating yogurt helps your body make more sickness-fighting cells. Eat yogurt as a healthy snack or in place of sour cream. Kefir makes a great meal-time beverage too.

  1. Butternut Squash

This tasty relative of the pumpkin is chock-full of vitamins and minerals that support immune health. One serving packs in 457 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin A, 52 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C, and 13 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin B6. That makes it a real immune-boosting powerhouse. Eat it roasted with olive oil and a little salt, or puree it and serve in place of mashed potatoes.

  1. Oatmeal

Oats contain beta-glucan, which is known to boost the number of infection-fighting cells in the bloodstream. Oats also contain 41 percent of your daily recommended dose of zinc, a big-time immune booster. Eat it in the morning with nuts, fresh fruits or spices like cinnamon and ginger. Use it in place of the rice in risotto for a savory twist.

  1. Low-sodium juice blends

Both fruit and vegetable juices pack in lots of vitamins, minerals, and immune-boosting compounds. Look for fresh citrus, carrot, green vegetable and blended vegetable juices with no added sugars and low sodium. Drink it in the morning instead of that high-calorie coffee, or use it in smoothies to change things up.

Even if you eat these foods and still catch an occasional cold or flu, you’ll likely notice that symptoms don’t last as long. Of course, eating immune-boosting superfoods has benefits far beyond preventing colds. You’re also supporting skin and nail health while fighting free radicals. Include a few of these superfoods in your diet this week to give your immune system a powerful boost.

Which immunity boosting superfoods are your favorite?  Can you challenge yourself to add a few in this week?