Our immune system takes a beating during the colder months when the influx of germs and illnesses seem to proliferate in mass quantities. Give you body the extra defense it deserves to combat winter woes with these immune boosting, feel-good foods.
Almonds- These nuts are packed with immune boosters, Vitamin E and Manganese. Vitamin E is a powerhouse antioxidant that fights free radicals - substances that damage cells, organs, and tissues. Manganese is a mineral that also fights damage from free radicals and supports a strong immune system. Opt for 1 oz or about 24 almonds for a serving. Almonds are versatile; eat alone, chopped in oatmeal or yogurt, or toasted and tossed in a salad.
Berries- Nature's candy contains high doses of Vitamin C - an antioxidant that protects the body against illness and promotes immunity. Vitamin C has the ability to decrease the severity of the common cold and assists in iron absorption. If you don't want to splurge on fresh berries, go for frozen. Add fresh or frozen berries to smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt, or mash on toast in place of jelly.
Citrus- Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, or tangerines are all bursting to the brim with Vitamin C - the powerhouse antioxidant that gives a boost to the immune system. Start your day with a glass of room temperature water with a squirt of lemon, add lemon or lime juice to dressings, or top freshly grilled wild salmon with some grapefruit relish.
Chili Peppers - Bright red chili peppers are rich sources of Vitamin A and C, both immunity boosters. Capsaicin is the spicy component in peppers that also provides anti-inflammatory effects. Sprinkle chili flakes on soups, pastas, grains, eggs, or vegetables and add minced chili peppers to marinades or sauces for an added kick.
Chicken Soup - Hardly an old wives' tale, chicken contains the amino acid cysteine, which may be helpful with the breakdown of mucus. The hot temperature of warm soup may increase the flow of a runny nose, assisting in the release of pathogens from the body. Additionally, iron in chicken helps T cell proliferation - essential cells which help to fight infections. Up your chicken soup game with the addition of other immunity boosters such as turmeric, ginger, lime, and chili for a fully charged meal.
Ginger - This nobby root not only reduces indigestion, but is also an antioxidant and scavenges for free radicals. Ginger also aids in promoting T cell utilization. (T cells are white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria). Make a fresh ginger tea with sliced ginger and hot water or grate ginger in salad dressings, marinades, or sauces.
Green Tea/ Matcha - Sip this green brew bursting with flavonoids and polyphenols which are plant based antioxidants. Avoid using boiling water when making your tea. The temperature can affect the potency of the antioxidants. Added bonus, sipping warm liquids ensures hydration and helps break up mucus.
Honey - The sweetest natural remedy of them all has a multitude of medicinal proponents which range from fighting infections due to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to coating a sore throat. Add a tsp of honey to tea, whisk into a salad dressing, or stir it in with your plain yogurt for a touch of sweetness.
Yogurt - Probiotic containing yogurt supports improved immunity. Probiotics increase white blood cell counts - the cells that fight infection. Dollop some yogurt on soup, mix with curry powder and mustard for a dip, or combine with herbs and spices to coat cauliflower prior to roasting. Not a yogurt person? Get your probiotics from other sources like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or miso.
Turmeric- This spice has anti-inflammatory action which is mainly attributed to curcumin, the compound in turmeric most cited for its medicinal potency. Turmeric can be found in powder or in root form. It is strongly suggested that turmeric is linked to preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease, assisting with the relief of symptoms from arthritis, and aiding in the prevention of certain cancers. Turmeric can also be of benefit in treating digestive problems and reducing the body’s inflammatory response. When turmeric is paired with black pepper, the bioavailability or power is greatly increased. Add turmeric to soups, stews, or smoothies.
Guard yourself this season and beyond with natures remedies.