Drinking juices or smoothies is a great way to improve your health. Adding and combining fruits and vegetables can help support your immune system when you’re healthy or sick.

Your immune system is constantly active, figuring out which cells belong to your body and which don’t. This means it needs a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals to keep its energy up and going.

The following recipes are packed with essential nutrients for everyday health or for fighting off viruses such as the cold or flu.

Learn which immunity-enhancing nutrients each juice, smoothie, or seed milk has so you can start your mornings off with a refreshing boost to your body’s natural defenses.

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This citrus explosion by Happy Foods Tube contains around 60% of the Daily Value of vitamin C in each cup.

Vitamin C has antioxidant properties, which protect your cells from substances that damage the body.

A vitamin C deficiency can lead to delayed wound healing, an impaired immune response, and the inability to properly fight infections.

There’s currently no evidence that oral vitamin C is effective in preventing transmission of the coronavirus or treating the disease it causes, COVID-19. Neither oral nor IV vitamin C therapy is currently recommended for COVID-19 treatment.

However, if you have a cold, high doses of vitamin C might result in less severe symptoms and a quicker recovery. For adults, the tolerable upper limit is 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • potassium from the oranges
  • vitamin A from the oranges and grapefruit
  • vitamin B6 from the oranges
  • vitamin B9 (folate) from the oranges
  • vitamin C from all the citrus fruits
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Carrots, apples, and oranges are a winning combination for helping your body protect itself and fight off infections.

The apples and oranges give you vitamin C.

Vitamin A, which is also critical to a healthy immune system, is present in carrots in the form of the antioxidant beta carotene.

The carrots also contain vitamin B6, which plays an important role in immune cell proliferation and antibody production.

This recipe by The Urban Umbrella can help you get glowing and going in the morning. The tartness of the green apples really cuts through the sweetness of the carrots and oranges.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • potassium from the carrots
  • vitamin A from the carrots
  • vitamin B6 from the carrots
  • vitamin B9 (folate) from the oranges
  • vitamin C from the oranges and apple
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This fortifying juice by Minimalist Baker features three root vegetables that’ll help your immune system and provide inflammation-fighting nutrients.

Inflammation is often an immune response to infections originating from viruses or bacteria. Cold or flu symptoms include a runny nose, coughs, and body aches.

People who have rheumatoid arthritis may find this juice especially beneficial, as ginger has anti-inflammatory effects.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • potassium from the carrots, beets, and apple
  • vitamin A from the carrots and beets
  • vitamin B6 from the carrots
  • vitamin B9 (folate) from the beets
  • vitamin C from the apple
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Photo by Elise Bauer for Simply Recipes

The best way to be sure your tomato juice is fresh and doesn’t contain a lot of added ingredients is to make it yourself. Simply Recipes has a wonderful recipe that only calls for a few ingredients.

The best part? No juicer or blender is required, although you’ll want to strain the bits and pieces through a sieve.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin B9, commonly known as folate, which helps support your immune system. Tomatoes also provide modest amounts of magnesium, an anti-inflammatory.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • magnesium from the tomatoes
  • potassium from the tomatoes
  • vitamin A from the tomatoes
  • vitamin B6 from the tomatoes
  • vitamin B9 (folate) from the tomatoes
  • vitamin C from the tomatoes
  • vitamin K from the tomatoes and celery
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Kale is a staple in many green juices, but the Kale Mary — Tesco’s take on a bloody Mary — is truly one of a kind.

Instead of cutting the taste of kale with sweet fruits, this recipe uses tomato juice, adding more than enough vitamin A.

According to research from 2021, adding some spicy horseradish to this recipe may also provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Blend it up for a drink that’ll awaken your senses.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • magnesium from the tomato juice
  • manganese from the kale
  • potassium from the tomato juice
  • vitamin A from the kale and tomato juice
  • vitamin B-6 from the tomato juice
  • vitamin B-9 (folate) from the tomato juice
  • vitamin C from the kale and tomato juice
  • vitamin K from the tomato juice
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Strawberries and kiwis are other healthy options to include in a vitamin C-packed drink. Since it takes about 4 cups of strawberries to make 1 cup of juice, you may want to blend these fruits into a smoothie rather than a juice.

We love this recipe by Well Plated, which includes skim milk. Milk is a good source of protein and vitamin D, which is hard to come by in juices that use only fruits or vegetables.

Many people are deficient in vitamin D, which is produced in your skin when exposed to sunlight and is also found in smaller amounts in animal products. Healthy levels, achieved through sunlight, diet, or supplements, reduce your risk of respiratory infections like pneumonia or the flu.

For an additional boost, swap the milk for a few ounces of probiotic-rich Greek yogurt. Probiotics increase the number of healthy bacteria in your gut, which can help protect against disease-causing bacteria.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • calcium from the skim milk
  • manganese from the strawberries and oats
  • phosphorus from the oats
  • potassium from the strawberries, banana, and orange
  • vitamin B1 (thiamine) from the oats
  • vitamin B6 from the banana
  • vitamin B9 (folate) from the strawberries and orange
  • vitamin B12 from the skim milk
  • vitamin C from the strawberries, kiwi, and orange
  • vitamin D from the skim milk
  • vitamin K from the kiwi
  • zinc from the skim milk
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Feel Good Foodie’s strawberry mango smoothie is a healthy way to satisfy your cravings for a bottomless brunch. This recipe uses some frozen fruit, which packs the same nutritional punch as fresh fruit.

You can also opt for using all fresh fruits if you have them on hand.

The vitamin E from the mango and almond milk adds extra antioxidant benefits to support the immune system.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • calcium from the almond milk
  • manganese from the strawberries
  • potassium from the strawberries
  • vitamin A from the mango and carrot
  • vitamin B6 from the mango
  • vitamin B9 (folate) from the strawberries and mango
  • vitamin C from the strawberries, mango, and orange
  • vitamin D from the almond milk
  • vitamin E from the mango and almond milk
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Watermelon is rich in vitamin C and arginine, which can bolster your immune system.

The heavy water content of this fruit may also make it easier to juice (and it feels like less of a waste of fruit).

Take a look at this recipe for watermelon mint juice at Dassana’s Veg Recipes. You can also mix watermelon juice with other plain fruit juices, such as apple or orange, that may not have as much vitamin A.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • arginine from the watermelon
  • citrulline from the watermelon
  • magnesium from the watermelon
  • vitamin A from the watermelon
  • vitamin C from the watermelon
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Photo by Trent Lanz for The Blender Girl

Many pumpkin juice recipes online include a lot of added sugars or require store-bought apple juice.

This is why we decided to include this pumpkin seed milk recipe by The Blender Girl instead. It’s one of the freshest, most natural recipes available online. It works as a great base for fruit smoothies too.

The pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc. Zinc is already a common ingredient in many cold remedies due to its positive effect on both inflammation and the immune system.

Current guidelines don’t recommend using zinc supplementation above the recommended dietary dosage for the prevention of COVID-19, except in a clinical trial.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • magnesium from the pumpkin seeds
  • manganese from the pumpkin seeds
  • potassium from the dates
  • zinc from the pumpkin seeds
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A vegetable-based green juice is a powerhouse of nutrients that promote a strong immune system.

Show Me the Yummy has a wonderful recipe to help you happily drink your greens.

Throw in a handful of parsley or spinach for some extra vitamins A, C, and K.

Notable nutrients (in 1 serving)

  • iron from the kale
  • manganese from the kale
  • potassium from the kale
  • vitamin A from the kale and celery
  • vitamin B9 (folate) from the celery
  • vitamin C from the kale and lemon
  • vitamin K from the cucumber and celery
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If you’re in a time crunch, look for bottled juices without added sugar or sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup. Avoiding juice concentrate or opting for 100% fruit concentrate is also best to make sure you’re getting only fruit juice in your drink.

Out of some of the most commonly bought juices, including apple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice, orange juice is a recommended option due to its high concentration of vitamin C compared with apple juice and cranberry juice. Just make sure that it is 100% orange juice.

Making juices, smoothies, and nutritional drinks is one of the tastier ways to help stay healthy. No matter which one you like, you can always add other superfoods, such as chia seeds and wheat germ, for more health benefits.

Other ways to keep your immune system strong include practicing good hygiene, staying hydrated, sleeping well, reducing stress, and exercising frequently.

Use a blender

If you don’t have a juicer, use a blender. Add 1 cup of coconut water or nut milk to get the machine going. You’ll also benefit from the fiber content of a blended smoothie.