Immune Boosting Juices: are they Good for You?

Have you ever walked into a health food store or juice/smoothie store and been bombarded with immune boosting shots and drink options? Maybe you read online about the potential benefits of these drinks or the ingredients in them but still aren’t sure whether you should give them a try. Let’s break it down.

What even is immunity?

One very important system in our body is the immune system. This system has a whole bunch of cells and microorganisms whose main function is to protect us from getting infections in the first place, while also being able to fight these infections if they do occur. Immunity is therefore the way our immune system protects our body from infections. Vaccinations are an example of one way we can gain immunity. Throughout life there are various recommended vaccinations, starting with several for newborns and on up through adulthood. These vaccines protect against a bunch of different infections so that the chances of getting these infections throughout life is low. Just think of the COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccination helps our body be better able to fight the infection if we ever do catch it.

What are immune boosting drinks?

Many fruits and vegetables have gotten the “immune boosting” title because of the types and amounts of vitamins and minerals they contain. You may have heard that citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are helpful at fighting the common cold or that ginger may help cure a sore throat for example. These foods do indeed =have vitamins and minerals that are shown to have some benefits on the immune system such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin A, iron, folate, and zinc.

Immune boosting drinks are juices and smoothies made from fruits and vegetables, with the addition of  other ingredients (teas, apple cider vinegar, spices etc.) that claim to help your body fight infections. These may come as full-sized drinks or small shots and are usually quite pricey. You can also find recipes online and make them at home with ingredients you’ve likely never heard of or seen in a grocery store (again, you’ll likely pay a hefty price if you find them).

If you haven’t heard of this trend, then you’re not one of the people who has contributed to the $21 billion immune supplement market (seriously, that’s impressive)

So, should you give them a shot?

All the ingredients that you would typically find in an “immune boosting” drink have a good amount of vitamins and minerals that provide health benefits to the body. If you’ve been reading these blog posts for a while, you have probably recognized that there is no magic potion to health or nutrition. There doesn’t exist one single food or drink that’s healthier than another or that can cure an illness or disease. There’s no downside to drinking these drinks (besides cost) if it’s something that you enjoy. However, the best, most effective way to keep your immune system and overall body healthy and functioning in top shape, is to eat a well-balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables which naturally contain important vitamins and minerals!

-Dietitian Reuby