With coronavirus and other seasonal issues such as colds, flu at hand, it’s very important to keep your immune system running well at all times. Everybody is different, and we all respond to vitamins, minerals, medicines, and supplements differently. Rather than recommending them, I put together a list of nutrient-rich foods which are rich in various properties that boost the immune system and better help you fight colds and viruses.
1. Raw honey
For centuries, honey has been used for medicinal purposes- both inside and out of the body. In addition to being a mood booster, great energy source and hormone balancer raw honey is a great source of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from chronic disease. Add it to your tea, drizzle on yogurt, or swap it out for sugar as a healthier substitute.
If you do happen to get a cold, sore throat or cough, raw honey can be an effective cough syrup remedy. Consume 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp as needed. Don’t give raw honey to babies under 1, as their little bodies may be allergic.
Be sure to purchase raw honey as close to unrefined as possible. It contains most (if not all) of the nutrients (pollen, royal jelly ) hat would otherwise be lost in the refining process of the honey. On the contrary, regular honey is heavily refined, sometimes contains fillers such as HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and water. Raw honey can be found in all major grocery and health food stores, and online. Bonus points if you buy locally, as local honey contains nutrients that can combat seasonal allergies you experience in your area.
Mint contains powerful antioxidants that improve digestion and aid in respiratory health. It is also a natural sore throat soother. If you can’t access fresh mint, not to worry. Use dried mint in tea, smoothies or in dressings.
Turmeric is a powerful spice that packs an amazing amount of antioxidants Turmeric contains the phytonutrient curcumin, which gives turmeric is a beautiful golden hue and has powerful properties that fine-tune the inflammatory response and helps the body heal faster. Curcumin improves immune health even better than some prescription drugs. You can find turmeric at your local grocery store fresh (usually near fresh ginger) or dried in the spice aisle, health food store or online. The body cannot absorb all the benefits of curcumin in turmeric alone, so pair it with black pepper. Doing so increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. Turmeric has a rather mild earthy flavor, so you can add it to both savory and sweet applications. I love to add it to breakfast dishes, tea, stews, and curries.
See: Golden Milk Chai Recipe: https://bit.ly/39FBkoh
Used in ancient medicine as a digestive aid, nausea soother, pain manager and immune booster, ginger deserves its title of superfood. Ginger contains the compound gingerol, which is responsible for is scent and anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. Purchase ginger at your local grocery and store in a cool dry place. When you’re ready to use, break a piece off and peel, or leave it whole. Ginger can be used in teas, stews, fresh juice, soups smoothies. It is very spicy, so beware if you try to chew on it.
Check out this,[Red Thai Curry Soup Recipe](https://bit.ly/3dUPGEJ) made with fresh ginger root.
5. Raspberry leaf
Bright juicy raspberries are a great addition to any fruit plate, but did you know its leaves are just as beneficial? Red raspberry leaves contain polyphenols that combat oxidation in the body and help protect cells from damage. The leaves are also a good source of vitamins B, C, magnesium, phosphorus and iron, all of which are essential in fighting infection and disease. Raspberry leaf also has bonus benefits for women, as it helps relieve some symptoms of PMS and promotes a healthy pregnancy. I love to blend homemade “hormone relief tea" with dried raspberry leaf, dried peppermint and a dash of ground cinnamon.
When life gives you lemons….use every bit of them! Lemon is not only delicious but provides the body with a megadose of vitamin C, the water-soluble vitamin which is essential in fighting disease. Lemon can also help the body better absorb nutrients in other foods such as leafy greens. Both the juice and zest (outer rind) of the fruit are beneficial. The zest contains the oil of the lemon, which is a natural air purifier and mood booster. Try boiling water on the stove and adding lemon peel, the lemon oil-infused steam released can help soothe a store throat and break up phlegm.
See: Lemon Ginger Mint Tea Recipe (link to be provided)
7. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great go-to for immune health, as it aids in digestion, can help balance cholesterol levels, and can help you better absorb nutrients in different foods. Be sure to purchase Raw cider vinegar with “the mother” which is the probiotic bacteria which is used to turn the apple cider into the product you see in the bottle. Regular refined apple cider does not have this property.
You may know oregano as a delicious dried herb for topping Italian and Greek dishes, however, it has long been used as a powerful plant with medicinal properties. Oregano contains the antioxidants carvacrol and thymol, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Consuming oregano dried is a great way to get these benefits. Add it to soups, pasta, chicken, salads, dressings, and tea. The essential oil of oregano has the highest concentration of these nutrients, however, it must be diluted for safety. Fresh oregano is fairly easy to maintain as a house plant, which gives you an endless supply of the herb on hand.
Garlic is a delicious and potent at-home immune booster. This allium naturally purifies the blood, improves blood circulation and starves out cancerous cells within the body. Adding garlic to your diet through cooking, and even consuming the cloves whole (if you’re brave enough). In the future, I hope to try creating a garlic-infused honey cough syrup, which is said to have as much potency as an over the counter cold med. I will update this post after doing so. Garlic comes in many forms, fresh, dried, granulated and even in capsule form. When in doubt, fresh is best. Consuming fresh garlic ensures the body receives all the nutrients it has to offer, without having gone through heating and processing.
Not exactly sure how to incorporate all these ingredients into your diet? Start small. Slice up cucumbers to have raw as a snack, or drop them into some water with a few sprigs of mint. Chop off a few cloves of garlic and add to your next meal. Add apple cider vinegar to your juice or tea with honey to improve flavor and sneak in extra benefits. Add turmeric (remember the black pepper) to your smoothie, oatmeal, soup or rice. Check out the recipes included in this post for more inspiration, and let me know
Watch the live replay where I discuss all 10 foods and how to incorporate them into your immune-boosting routine:.
- [10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin](https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#section2)
- [8 Raw Honey Benefits (Plus, 20 DIY Uses) - Dr. Axe](https://draxe.com/nutrition/the-many-health-benefits-of-raw-honey/)
- [11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger](https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger#section1)
- [Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Pregnancy, Benefits and Side Effects](https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#benefits)
- [Lemon Essential Oil: Benefits, Side Effects, How to Use, and More](https://www.healthline.com/health/lemon-essential-oil#improve-cold-symptoms)
- [6 Science-Based Health Benefits of Oregano](https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-oregano-benefits#section7)
- I am not a doctor nor a medical practitioner. All information disclosed is merely for suggestions. Talk to your doctor before starting, stopping supplements for your health.