Boost Your Immune System With Foods

By Venus florus

Autumn is fast approaching with its fresh, less sunny days. Take advantage of September to take your last sunbaths and to prepare your body for winter. This week we are offering 7 foods that will help boost your immune system in preparation for winter.

Why it's essential to boost the immune system

The immune system is vital: it protects the body from pollutants, pathogens, and disease-causing cell changes. It includes various organs, cell types, and proteins. As long as the body’s defense works smoothly, it is not noticeable.

But if the immune system fails because it is weakened or cannot do anything against particularly aggressive pathogens, you get sick. Even pathogens that are still unknown to the body usually have an easy time of it. With specific pathogens, however, only the first contact leads to disease – for example, in childhood diseases such as chickenpox.

Ginger

Ginger is a perennial plant native to Asia, the Arabic word for which was used to name an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania:  Zanzibar. Ginger is the basis of many Indian and Chinese dishes but is also used in the making of the famous ginger ale (ginger ale, Canada dry). Several studies demonstrate its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiemetic (against vomiting) faculties.

Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for medicinal purpose for nearly 4000 years. It is very beneficial for the body because it contains a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory  called curcumin. This powerful antioxidant is not easily absorbed by the body however if consumed with black pepper or some healthy fats can increase the ability for digestion and absorption in the body.

Grapefruit seed extracts

The extracts of grapefruit seeds have a high content of bioflavonoids, a molecule entering the composition of plants and fruits that have been used for medicinal supplements or for other health purposes. Flavonoids have antioxidant and antibacterial effects put forward in several studies. The benefits of taking grapefruit seed extract is that it may protect against stomach damages, can help in the treatment of UTI’s and it may also reduce the risk for heart diseases.

Cruciferous Vegetables

These amazing veggies are commonly known for their cancer fighting abilities because they potentially prevent DNA damage. These veggies include broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and Kale. They are packed with immune boosting vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E.

Garlic and onion

Garlic and onion are plants from the Alliaceae family used as condiments and as vegetables (onion) to season many dishes. Several varieties are available, although the vast majority of the garlic and onion consumed comes from Asia.

Some people may have difficulty consuming them due to the presence of sulfur-derived compounds in their molecular composition. Several medicinal properties are associated with garlic and onion, including anticoagulant, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Chew on a lemon or fresh apple will remove the possible aftertaste of garlic and onion. Interestingly, the watery eyes that occur when an onion is sliced and caused by the release of a volatile gas formed by an enzyme contained in the cells of onions.

PEPPERS

Peppers, whether green, red, or yellow, should be on every menu. Paprika contains carotenoids, which have an antioxidant effect and are essential cell protection for free radical damage.

A single pepper also contains the same amount of vitamin C as two oranges. Vitamin C is also essential for a well-functioning immune system.

Cumin

Cumin is a herbaceous plant native to the Near East and part of the same family as parsley. It is used as a spice to season dishes and has medicinal properties put forward in traditional Chinese medicine.

Several recent studies demonstrate the antibacterial activity of cumin. Use it in your next chili recipes!

Propolis

Propolis is a gift from nature offered by bees. Indeed, from their secretions and a series of adhesive substances, bees produce this natural sealer to protect their hives from microorganisms and pathogens that can harm the colony.

In Ancient Egypt, propolis was used to embalm the dead. Scientific studies demonstrate the antifungal (fungus), antiseptic, antibacterial, and anesthetic effects of propolis. Look for it in your health food store!

Echinacea

Echinacea is a plant native to North America, used historically by First Nations to strengthen the immune system. Some studies show that echinacea has antibacterial effects and can help treat minor respiratory tract infections.

The essential oil of oregano and thyme

Oregano and thyme are widely used spices to enhance the flavor of several dishes, including tomato sauces and red meats. The essential oils obtained from these two spices can also be used to season individual servings, but are most often utilized using a diffuser.

These oils have a relaxing effect on the body and specific antibacterial properties. Keep these oils away from children, however, and do not apply them directly to the skin.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is an all-rounder that can be used in many ways in the kitchen. Rice goes well with many dishes and is filling for a long time. It contains complex carbohydrates and fiber.

The unpeeled grains also provide vitamin B and zinc, vital substances that are important for strengthening the immune system.

The potassium contained in brown rice helps to eliminate metabolic products that can make you sick. Brown rice also contains protein. The immune cells also consist of protein.