Cauliflower is one of many foods perfect for fighting infections.

When you have a wound, it’s as if a foreign army has invaded your body. When it comes to defending itself, your body has a rather effective army in place: the immune system. Referring to a number of processes and structures, this system finds, identifies and then targets certain bacteria and pathogens that stem from the wound. However, to keep your immune system up to snuff in the war that is wound care, you need to fuel it with the right foods. High in vitamins and protein, these are the five most effective immune-boosting dishes:

1. Poultry

Chicken, quail, turkey and other birds are great resources of two components central to wound healing. Iron can help your body carry oxygen to cells, and the nutrient plays a key role in cell health and the clotting process. Poultry also contains zinc, which can help regulate inflammation and increase the efficiency of your immune response.

2. Yogurt

When buying yogurt, always purchase brands that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label. According to a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it’s these cultures that help improve the function and scope of your immune system, allowing it to better fight off both disease and infection. Yogurt is also packed with vitamin D, which further stimulates the immune response.

3. Cauliflower

Like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, cauliflower is rich in several antioxidants that help to maximize your immune system. However, unlike its counterparts, cauliflower has added components that make it perfect for fighting infections. The first is choline, a chemical that helps improve both cell structure and movement. There’s also an antioxidant called glutathione, which is specifically geared toward fighting off a number of infections.

4. Kale

Much like spinach, this leafy green is jam-packed with vitamin C. This nutrient is not only a great antioxidant in and of itself, but this vitamin can also help to replenish levels of other beneficial antioxidants. Kale is also known to have a reasonable amount of zinc, which your immune system uses to create new white blood cells.

5. Garlic

For years, garlic has long been considered an effective tool in fighting infections. In fact, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some cultures used it as an antiseptic that was applied directly to wounds. Not only is garlic rich with antioxidants, but it has certain chemicals that help reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.