Oftentimes, we can be our own best medical advocates. By keeping to a diet rich in antioxidant vitamins and nutrients, we can boost our immune systems to ward off a litany of ailments and infection. Our bodies produce molecules that can damage cells, called free radicals. Antioxidants such as zinc help neutralize these potentially dangerous free radicals.
Researchers believe that when the balance between free radicals and antioxidants is upset, it can contribute to developing cancer and heart disease, as well as age-related diseases [source: WebMD]. To get enough antioxidants in your diet, experts recommend eating an abundance of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Zinc also not only increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection, but also helps them fight more aggressively. It also increases killer cells that fight against cancer and helps white cells release more antibodies. Zinc increases the number of infection-fighting T-cells, especially in elderly people who are often deficient in zinc and whose immune system may weaken with age [source: NIH].