COVID has been a major concern over the last 12 months, and it’s important to have a strong immune system in place. Even if more people are becoming vaccinated (great!), the ability to fight illness is always useful, especially since the common cold and the flu will always be a problem.
There are many elements that can affect the health of your immune system, but one of the most effective is eating foods that help fight illness.
Are you ready to boost your immunity? Below you’ll find a list of 20 meals that nutritionists suggest you try.
Foods that fight infection
Spices, especially clove, oregano, thyme, basil, cinnamon, and cumin
Dr. Stacie Stephenson, Certified Nutrition Specialist and CEO of VibrantDoc, notes that many spices have potent anti-microbial action, preventing the growth and spread of bacteria and fungi. This is why they are commonly used to preserve food, but adding them freely to your own cooking can help them battle bacteria, not just in your food but also in you. They are.
Dr. Uma Naidoo, MD, a nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, and author of the bestseller book This is Your Brain on Food, says that chili peppers contain the chemical capsaicin. With many other health benefits, they are rich antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals, as well as fending off bacterial infections and making mucus easier to discharge from the lungs in certain respiratory diseases.
Scientist and New York Times bestselling author Dr. William W. Li argues that sulforaphanes in broccoli sprouts help boost the immune system. Sulforaphanes are bioactive compounds found in broccoli sprouts. Broccoli sprouts may even help your body’s favorable response to the flu shot, according to research. Sprouts can be used to a salad or even a smoothie as a healthy addition.
Phytochemicals, proteins, peptides, fatty acids, polysaccharides, and sterols found in seaweeds, such as nori, arame, dulse kelp, spirulina, and dulse, have been shown to have antibacterial characteristics, which could be used to combat infectious infections, according to Dr. Stephenson’s research.
Garlic has been used to treat infectious infections for millennia. Dr. Naidoo believes that Louis Pasteur was the first to identify the antibacterial properties of garlic in 1858, despite the lack of a citation. Many gram-positive, gram-negative, and acid-fast bacteria (e.g. salmonella, e. coli, Staph aureus, to mention a few) have been demonstrated to be effective against garlic.
Garlic has been shown to inhibit bad gut microorganisms more than beneficial ones. The fiber in garlic is also a prebiotic dietary source, so we might argue that it has a double-edged effect on infection prevention! According to Dr. Li, mushrooms contain beta-D-glucan, a naturally occurring bioactive ingredient that stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the stomach, hence improving immunity. Both the mushroom’s stem and its cap contain valuable nutrients, so don’t skip the stem. Mushrooms
Many of the health benefits of citrus fruits are due to the vitamin C they contain. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes are rich in vitamin C, which is not only a powerful antioxidant, but also supports both the innate (you were born with it) and adaptive (your body developed it) immune systems in a variety of ways, including wound healing, creating stronger skin and artery barriers against pathogens, and decreasing oxidative stress that could worsen infections.
Vitamin C insufficiency has been linked to an increased risk of infection, and it has also been shown to lower the severity of infection in those who are deficient in vitamin C. Red peppers, strawberries, kiwifruit, papayas, tomatoes, broccoli, and kale are all excellent sources of vitamin C.
Dr. Naidoo notes that while ginger is commonly used to alleviate nausea, it is also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities. Ginger, which is rich in beta-carotene and capsaicin, may also be useful to a variety of other medical ailments, including the immune system, according to a study of 60 studies.
It contains ellagitannins that promote the growth of Akkermansia mucinophila in your gut, according to Dr. Li. Antibiotic-resistant bacterium aids in the development of your body’s natural defenses. Pomegranate juice can aid in the treatment of Akkermansia in the intestines.
Doctor Stephenson says that one of the many benefits of eating pumpkin seeds is their high magnesium content, which aids the body’s immune system in fighting infections by stimulating the production of antibodies, reducing infection-exacerbated inflammation, and removing pathogenic microbes from the body by binding them to lymphocytes for removal. Dr. Naidoo claims that persons who ate an apple a day needed less prescription drugs in a research. Khellin, a potent flavonoid found in apples, has been shown to help clear blocked airways in people suffering from infections. The high fiber content of these foods can also aid in the reduction of inflammation in the body. Apples
Doctor Li says blueberries contain a natural chemical called anthocyanins, which has been found in studies to boost immunity while reducing inflammation in the body. Fresh and frozen blueberries can be found all year round, making them a great year-round snack.
Dr. Stephenson claims that beta carotene, which is found in leafy greens, is converted during digestion and absorption into vitamin A, which has potent anti-inflammatory properties. As an immune-system enhancer, it also regulates cellular immunological responses, enhances the barrier function of the respiratory and digestive tracts, optimizes the immune function of bone marrow cells and increases antibody production.
Infectious disorders, such as tuberculosis, malaria, and pneumonia, have been examined as possible treatments for vitamin A deficiency. To enhance the absorption of beta carotene in your greens, sprinkle them with olive oil before eating.
Flax and hemp seeds
Sophia (Dia) Finder, Clinical Coordinator of the Applied Nutrition and Dietetics program at Logan University, explains that these contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, breast and colon cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Omega 3 fatty acids can also lessen the incidence of depression, ADHD, and allergies in children.
According to Dr. Stephenson, a polyphenol in green tea, EGCG, has been proven to greatly boost the amount of T cells in the spleen and lymph nodes, which function to increase the immune response to infections.
Calendula petals (marigolds)
According to Finder, calendula petals have anti-inflammatory properties and may be sprinkled on salads or soups to brighten any dish.
Dr. Stephenson says that there is a direct correlation between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of illness and death from microbial infections. A 3.5-ounce serving of wild-caught salmon provides 124 percent or even more of your daily recommended dosage of vitamin D, making it a rare treat. In comparison to wild salmon, farmed salmon has much less vitamin D.
Pathogen-killing proteins can be produced by vitamin D. Vitamin D receptors are found on infection-fighting cells such as monocytes, macrophages, and thymus tissues, which play a crucial role in regulating the immune response. Even if you don’t spend much time in the sun, eating salmon twice or three times a week will help you acquire more vitamin D, especially if you don’t get regular sun exposure. Dandelions contain probiotics linked to a healthy digestive system, according to Finder. You can use them in pesto or soup because of their tangy flavor. Blossoms of the common dandelions
According to Agatha Repice, proprietor of Clean Clear Body, manuka honey is manufactured from Leptospermum scoparium, also known as the tea tree and located in New Zealand and Australia. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory.
Glucoseoxidase is the enzyme in honey that catalyzes the conversion of glucose to hydrogen peroxide by oxidation. Burns, wounds, ulcers, and infections can all be treated with honey.
Can you grow your own infection-fighting foods?
A greenhouse can be used to cultivate foods that fight infection. Nowadays, adhering to an immune-boosting diet is more challenging than it used to be. Because of our hectic schedules and the inaccessibility of some foods, we are forced to make due with meals that aren’t very beneficial to our health.
It is possible to constantly have access to these nutritious foods if you have a greenhouse. Grow your own food, and you’ll always know that it’s safe to eat because it’s so simple. To learn more about this practical structure, visit Krostrade.com.
Container gardening is a simple way to raise this high-vitamin-C veggie. Once the seeds have sprouted, space them 18 inches apart and plant them half an inch deep. At a temperature of 70°F, seeds will sprout in anywhere from 8 days to 3 weeks.
Choose a spot in the greenhouse where the plants will have ample exposure to the sun. Once you see the actual leaves emerge, you may begin feeding the bell peppers up to twice a week for the rest of the season. During the heat season, it’s extremely important to keep the soil moist.
You may grow garlic in your greenhouse or garden as well. Because greenhouses are self-contained, you don’t have to wait for the growing and harvesting seasons to begin. When planting a clove, be sure to use a healthy bulb and to have the soil between 40°F and 50°F.
To begin, place a garlic clove, root side up, at least eight inches away from the other cloves. Make sure the soil is damp and cool before applying fertilizer by covering it with mulch, like dried leaves. When you notice yellowing leaves on your plants, you can feed them and water the soil to keep it from drying out.
Ginger’s roots will act as seeds since they are so different from those of other plants. Toss it into a bowl of warm water and let soak for at least an hour before cutting it into bite-sized pieces. Subsequently, bury them in your soil and sprinkle on some fertilizer.
Because you can keep the temperature between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, growing ginger in a greenhouse is easier and ensures a crop. The vegetables won’t be exposed to direct sunshine, and you’ll have an easy time determining when the soil needs watering. Because you may replant some of the bulbs, you’ll have a steady supply of ginger for years to come.
Horseradish can help prevent a urinary tract infection if you keep a supply at home. You can cultivate this crop in containers in the greenhouse and manage its growth. Cover the crown of the root pieces with compost and plant them 4 inches below the soil line.
You can increase the size of your horseradish root by watering it thoroughly and removing the top foliage. Pests don’t bother this spicy crop much, and it’s easy to keep it going in the greenhouse. Harvesting them after the first frost is the optimum time to do it.
Kale is one of the best greens to have in your greenhouse if you want to make a healthy smoothie or salad. Plant the seeds at a temperature above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and allow them to grow to maturity in a cool environment. In a greenhouse, you can ensure that your greens are free of pesticides, which can have a negative impact on our health.
Additionally, you’ll have a steady supply of kale because you may sow seedlings or transplants every three weeks. The transplants develop in 40 days, so you can harvest them no matter what the weather does. It’s very easy to feed and water these greens.
Having your own lemon tree or trees in a greenhouse is quite simple. To ensure that your immune system is never compromised, grow dwarf lemon trees if you reside in a frigid area. So, how exactly does one go about growing their own lemons?
Starting with a pot with a drainage hole, you put your tree in the ground. After the first frost, you can remove it from the greenhouse. Otherwise, place the tree in a spot that gets at least eight hours of sunlight each day. Another consideration is keeping it between 55 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temperatures in the greenhouse should be kept between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit for the magnificent onion to thrive. You can also alter the temperature in response to the plant’s growth stage and the outside weather. For example, the daytime temperature should be between 60 and 65°F, while the nighttime temperature should be between 55 and 60°F.
Seedlings can be grown in trays before being transplanted to the greenhouse bed. Make certain you’ve fertilized the bed before you begin. To keep onions from rotting, avoid feeding them large levels of nitrogen.
As an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins, spinach can be used in a wide variety of dishes. So why not try growing your own wonderful greens that fight infection? After sprouting, you may either plant the seeds directly outside or transplant them into a greenhouse.
Ensure that the temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re growing in a greenhouse, it’ll be much easier to keep an eye on the temperature and avoid abrupt shifts. Overall, spinach is a simple plant to grow and harvest in just 45 days.
Using a two-crop rotation in the greenhouse can extend the growing season and increase the number of tomato harvests. Because of this, you can grow both a fall and spring harvest. In addition, make certain that a trellis system is in place to hold the tomatoes.
Daytime temperatures of 70 to 80°F and nighttime temperatures of 60 to 65°F are ideal for greenhouses. Exhaust fans can also be used to increase the humidity in your region. Tomatoes are great because, depending on the type, you can have a long harvest season.
If you grow your own turmeric, you’ll always have a supply on hand. Turmeric can be stored indoors all summer and harvested 10 months after planting. Just keep in mind that the best time to begin cultivating is in the dead of winter.
If you’re using rhizomes to plant ginger, the technique is very similar. Maintain a temperature of 86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the greenhouse where they will grow. Turmeric can be harvested when the leaves and stems have become brown.
In addition to regular physical activity, a strong immune system is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. There are numerous anti-infective and anti-inflammatory foods that you may incorporate into your diet to help you stay healthy. Vitamin C and antioxidants abound in these plants, as do antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral capabilities as well as other health benefits.
You may easily cultivate all of these in your greenhouse and include them in your diet. So you don’t have to wait until they’re in season to reap the benefits of their nutrition. Finally, you’ll have the peace of mind that they’ve been grown in a manner that is safe for human consumption.