Which Immune-Boosting Ingredient Do People Prefer?- Exclusive Survey

Keeping our immune system primed and operating at peak performance is key to our overall health and well-being. Responsible for keeping our body protected from germs and illness, our immune system can reap the benefits of certain food items we ingest. For example, a 2020 scientific review published in Integrative Medicine found that incorporating herbs and spices into our diet may help enhance our immune system's disease-fighting capabilities. Amongst others, cloves, basil, and spearmint were found to be some of the most beneficial ingredients for our immunity when mixed into a healthy diet.

But it's not just the scientific community that has tapped into the potential health benefits of these immune-boosting ingredients. Rather, many people reach for these ingredients themselves. Whether purchasing a wellness juice shot from the store or cooking them into your favorite meal, we asked 612 readers of Health Digest which immune-boosting ingredient they most prefer between five possible answer choices. Between garlic, elderberry, turmeric, citrus, and ginger, let's find out which answer came out on top.

Garlic versus citrus for top spot

With 99 votes was ginger, proving to be the least selected answer option amongst respondents. This answer choice made up 16.18% of the total answer choices. In addition to boosting immune system health, experts at Novant Health say that ginger may also help lessen inflammation, relieve muscle pain, and offer digestive support. With just two more votes was turmeric, accounting for 16.5% of the total answer responses. A 2007 study found that small amounts of curcumin — the compound found in turmeric which gives it its signature coloring — may boost the body's antibody responses. Antibodies play a major role in the body's ability to fight off infection.

In third place was elderberry with 107 votes, accounting for 17.48% of the total answers. Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, WebMD explains that elderberry holds major immune-boosting potential. Competing for first place, however, were garlic and citrus. It was a close race, but ultimately, citrus was crowned the winner with 157 votes, compared to 148 votes for garlic. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Immunology Research found that garlic appears to activate certain types of immunity-related cells. Similarly, a 2021 narrative review published in Frontiers in Immunology revealed that the folate and vitamin C contained in citrus fruit juices helps support healthy immune cell function. Additionally, the antioxidant properties of vitamin C are thought to reduce inflammation, further supporting immune health. So go ahead and enjoy that morning glass of orange juice!