Drinking juices or smoothies is a great way to improve your health. It’s easy to add and combine healthy fruit and vegetables that 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 more than enough of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

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 new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) or treating the disease it causes, COVID-19.

However, research has shown promise for intravenous (IV) infusion of vitamin C as a COVID-19 treatment.

More clinical trials are in the works for treatment, not prevention, using IV infusion, not oral therapy.

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 one serving)

  • potassium from the oranges
  • vitamin A from the oranges and grapefruit
  • vitamin B-6 from the oranges
  • vitamin B-9 (folate) from the oranges
  • vitamin C from all of the citrus fruits
  • zinc from the oranges
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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 your 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 B-6, which plays an important role in immune cell proliferation and antibody production.

Click here for a recipe by The Urban Umbrella that’ll get you 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 one serving)

  • potassium from the carrots
  • vitamin A from the carrots
  • vitamin B-6 from the carrots
  • vitamin B-9 (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 decrease inflammatory symptoms.

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 one serving)

  • potassium from the carrots, beets, and apple
  • vitamin A from the carrots and beets
  • vitamin B-6 from the carrots
  • vitamin B-9 (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 B-9, commonly known as folate. It helps lower your risk of infections. Tomatoes also provide modest amounts of magnesium, an anti-inflammatory.

Notable nutrients (in one serving)

  • magnesium from the tomatoes
  • potassium from the tomatoes
  • vitamin A from the tomatoes
  • vitamin B-6 from the tomatoes
  • vitamin B-9 (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.

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

Notable nutrients (in one 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 largely found in sunlight and 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.

Some recent research suggests a connection between vitamin D deficiency and infection rates and severity. Clinical trials are needed to determine whether it has the same effect on SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus.

For an additional boost, swap the milk for a few ounces of probiotic-rich Greek yogurt. Taking probiotics may help your cells maintain an antimicrobial barrier. Probiotics are commonly found in supplements and fermented foods.

Notable nutrients (in one serving)

  • calcium from the skim milk
  • manganese from the strawberries and oats
  • phosphorus from the oats
  • potassium from the strawberries, banana, and orange
  • vitamin B-1 (thiamine) from the oats
  • vitamin B-6 from the banana
  • vitamin B-9 (folate) from the strawberries and orange
  • vitamin B-12 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 the 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 enhance the immune system, especially in older adults.

Notable nutrients (in one serving)

  • calcium from the almond milk
  • manganese from the strawberries
  • potassium from the strawberries
  • vitamin A from the mango and carrot
  • vitamin B-6 from the mango
  • vitamin B-9 (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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Not only is watermelon rich in vitamin C and arginine (which can bolster your immune system), but it also can help relieve muscle soreness. Muscle soreness is a common symptom of the flu, especially in older adults.

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 Dassana’s recipe for watermelon mint juice at Veg Recipes of India. 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 one 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 extra health benefits are also hard to ignore. Not only will this milk boost your immune system, but it may also help your:

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.

Australian researchers are looking into intravenous zinc as a treatment for respiratory issues associated with COVID-19.

Also in the works is at least one U.S. clinical trial exploring zinc’s effect (in combination with other therapies) on preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Notable nutrients (in one 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 that’ll make anybody, including kids, happy to drink their greens.

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

Notable nutrients (in one serving)

  • iron from the kale
  • manganese from the kale
  • potassium from the kale
  • vitamin A from the kale and celery
  • vitamin B-9 (folate) from the celery
  • vitamin C from the kale and lemon
  • vitamin K from the cucumber and celery
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Making juices, smoothies, and nutritional drinks is one of the tastier ways to 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.