10 Foods and Herbs for Enhanced Immunity

So, you’ve made the lifestyle suggestions I mentioned in the last post ,The Immune System:Your Inner Army, yet you still feel it’s not enough. You are right.
Let me get specific.
Before looking to your friendly pharmacist to help you prepare for the winter sniffles, visit your local supermarket or fruit and vegetable market. Stock up on these powerful immune boosters and make them part of your diet.

1. Citrus Fruit

Lemon fruit
Vitamin C has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect the immune cells from damage by infections. Research studies also found that Vitamin C speeds up healing and recovery.It is no coincidence that citrus fruits are abundant in winter.

Rather than taking a vitamin C supplement, reach for a variety of citrus fruits.
Other foods rich in Vitamin C include dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, red peppers, snap peas, berries, paw-paw, kiwi fruit and tomatoes.

2. Probiotic Rich Foods

It is now a well-known fact that 1/3 of our immune system lies in the gut. Therefore a healthy gut is one of our best defenses against infections.
Probiotics promote growth of good bacteria in our gut and help to stimulate the immune system,making your body less friendly to pathogens.

Probiotic rich foods include yoghurt, maas, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir and other naturally fermented foods and drinks.

3. Garlic

Garlic has strong antibacterial compounds because it is particularly rich in allicin, a compound thought to improve immune cell power to reduce infection.
Garlic reportedly has antibacterial and antiviral properties which makes it a champion in fighting bacterial and viral infections.
Eating 2-3 cloves of garlic per day may help boost the immune system helping you avoid infections or heal faster.

4. Ginger

Garlic and ginger are often used together in cooking for their taste yet they both possess powerful infection fighting compounds.
Ginger has a powerful compound called gingerol which is thought to lower the risk of infection. It has powerful anti-microbial properties which stops growth of certain bacteria.
To get both antibacterial and antiviral properties during a respiratory infection, ginger is at its most potent consumed raw.
I love cooking with ginger and it features quite prominently in my smoothies and juices.

5. Berries

Mixed berries on white backgroundDo you remember early in summer I encouraged you to freeze berries so you always have them handy? That’s because berries have very potent compounds called phylenols which fight viral and bacterial infections. Berries are also powerful antioxidants helping to fight free radicals.

6. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in protein, fibre, Vitamins D, C and B, calcium and zinc. They also contain powerful immune boosting compounds which may help kick a nasty cold to the kerb.
Medicinal mushrooms (especially Shiitake, Maitake and Reishi) are known as immune modulator which means they balance and strengthen immune system function.They are useful  in preventing illness,balancing autoimmune and allergic conditions.

Mushrooms are best enjoyed cooked, in salads and they can even be made into teas and soups.

7. Coconut oil

Did you know that coconut oil has the same immune strengthening compound as the one found in breast milk?
Choose organic, unrefined, unbleached and non-GMO coconut oil to get the best benefits of lauric acid which is converted to powerful monolaurin, the immune boosting compound.

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal -all qualities you need from an infection fighter.
A generous sprinkling on the morning cereal or warm winter drink will not only warm your soul but will also improve circulation and boost your immunity.

8. Almonds

Almonds are rich in vitamin E which is key to a healthy immune system. Other nuts also provide good fats which can be powerful in fighting winter infections.
Consume about 20-40 a day to get the daily allowance of Vitamin E. Other foods rich in Vitamin E are avocados, sunflower seeds, and dark leafy greens.

9. Echinacea

This antiviral and antibacterial herb is the most researched herb, and most used,immune booster in Western medicine. Echinacea contains elements that increase the production of white blood cells,which we now know are the main defenses in our body.This herb is best taken at the onset of infection until it subsides. It is not suitable for long term use nor is it recommended if you have an autoimmune condition.

It is available in tablet,syrup and extract form.

10. Elderberry

Quercetin in elderberries is what makes them powerful infection fighters. It provides antioxidant,and anti-inflammatory effects which help with sinus pain and chronic fatigue that comes with a compromised immune system.
You can find elderberry tea, syrup or tablets.

Immune supporting foods and herbs can help the body fight off infection and relieve symptoms of colds and flu. Make these herbs and foods pat of your diet and experience improved immunity.

 

*Disclaimer:IN BODY IN MIND and its consultants do not diagnose disease. You should consult a Medical Doctor before undergoing any dietary or food supplement changes. Any recommendations you follow for changes in diet, including but not limited to the use of food supplements are entirely your responsibility.