Spices

Foods That Boosts Immunity – How to Boost Immune System Naturally

Simpy eating certain foods can help keep your immune system strong. If you’re looking for ways to prevent illness like flu and other viral and bacteria infections, focus on what you eat. Wisely prep your meals ahead to include these powerful foods that boosts immunity and fight off infections.

Garlic

Mistakes everyone makes when cooking with garlic

Garlic is known as both an effective flavor booster and as well as a strong booster of the body’s immune system. Garlic is referred by one other name, and that is the immunity-boosting superstar. People all over the world hailed garlic as a health elixir for hundreds of years already. It helps to treat common cold flu and a variety of other illnesses.

Garlic is a member of the lily family plants. In ancient writings, garlic was used as a currency in Egypt and as an aphrodisiac in India. One clove of garlic contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds, it is also potent against bacteria and infections.

Fun fact: garlic was used to keep away gangrene in the previous world wars. Raw garlic, in it’s most primary form, is most beneficial for health since heat and water inactivates enzymes diminishes the garlic’s antibiotic effect. Garlic also seems to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and kills parasites in our bodies.

Papaya

Not explained in the mainstream, but Papaya is actually a strong Vitamin C source compared to the common citrus options we know. You can find 157% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya.

Originally found in Central America and Southern Mexico, Papaya is also now grown in many other parts of the world. Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which can break down tough protein genes, found in muscle meat and can help indigestion.

Also, papayas have decent amounts of potassium and Vitamin B for lead, all of which are beneficial to your immune system. Papaya also contains antioxidants, Vitamin A, and C. All these vitamins and antioxidants make Papaya great food for boosting your immunity.

Green Tea

The health benefits of green tea | BBC Good Food

Both green and black tea are packed with flavonoids, which is a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is at its levels of epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function.

The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of EGCG present in it. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved. It has been studied to treat various diseases and maybe one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.

Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-Theanine. L-Theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells.

Broccoli

Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with Vitamin A, C, and E as well as many other antioxidants and fiber; broccoli is one of the most nutritious food you can serve because of the rich amount of vitamin C found in it, ultimately doing a good deal in boosting your immune level.

A hundred grams of broccoli can contain up to 89 mg of vitamin C, which is more compared to what a lot of citrus fruits carry. Broccoli, when it comes to beta carotene content, is very rich and is a host of other antioxidants; which makes it a perfect vegetable for your overall immunity.

The key to keeping its health benefits is to half-cook it as much as possible or better yet, not cook it at all. Steaming is the best method to prepare broccoli out of all the ways to preserve the nutrients present in broccoli.

Citrus Fruits

What's the most awesome citrus fruit? - Quora

Citrus fruits help significantly in boosting the immune system, that’s because citrus fruits are strong sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C contributes highly to white blood cell production, which are key cells when it comes to killing infections.

A review published in the nutritional journal shows that getting enough vitamin C can reduce the symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections like common colds. Its antioxidants meanwhile, can help protect against oxidative stress and prevent damages to your immune cells.

Citrus fruits include grapefruit oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes. Because your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, if you want to boost your health in general, taking rich Vitamin C sources every day is an ideal step to observe.

The majority of all citrus fruits are strong sources of Vitamin C, with a wide array of options to choose from. Adding a squeeze of these citrus fruits is easy to do on almost every meal, you just squeeze some juice in it.

Ginger

Ginger is another ingredient that many people have trusted since ages for treating various types of illnesses. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce sore throat, joint pains, flu, common cold, and many other inflammatory illnesses.

Ginger may also help decrease nausea and vomiting. Various used in many sweet desserts, ginger, pack some heat in the form of gingerol which is a relative of capsaicin. This compound decreases chronic pain and possesses cholesterol-lowering properties, which is according to a recent annual research conducted in Australia.

Ginger helps the immune system perform optimally by boosting it when it is underactive or suppressing it when it is overactive. The research also suggests that ginger can help fight drug-resistant bacterias.

Spinach

5 Wonderful Benefits Of Spinach You Never Knew - NDTV Food

Spinach is rich in Vitamin C, it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which increases the infection-fighting ability of your immune system. This vegetable can be incorporated quite easily into your diet and is cheap as well as it is easy to prepare.

Spinach is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A folate, and many other antioxidants which are essential micronutrients for your immune system. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when half-cooked as it retains the majority of its health benefits when not cooked thoroughly.

Spinach is also a strong source of dietary magnesium, a necessary factor for a healthy immune system and aid in maintaining blood pressure levels.

Red Bell Peppers

If you think Vitamin C can only be found in citrus fruits – think again. Red bell peppers contain twice as much as Vitamin C as compared to other citrus fruits that are good at boosting your immune system.

Vitamin C can also have effects on maintaining healthy and radiant skin. These peppers are also proven to be strong sources of beta carotene. Beta carotene is also one of the factors responsible for keeping our eyes and skin in healthy condition.

Many studies have shown an association between diets rich in carotenoids and a reduced incidence of many forms of cancer; from this, it has been suggested that this is usually the antioxidant properties of carotenoids.

Apples

Grocery Store Apples May Be Up to 10 Months Old When You Buy Them ...

There are many different reasons why apples are great for building a strong immunity and good health. First and foremost, apples contain good quantities of all the essential vitamins like Vitamin A, E, B1, B2, and C. All the vitamins mentioned before are critical contributors in sustaining a healthy body.

A type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic, called pectins, can also be found in Apples. Apple, containing pectin, means that it can facilitate the process of good bacterias all over the gut. Our gut bacteria directly regulates the function of our immune system by releasing compounds in the gut that act on our immune cells and modulate their function.

The characteristics of our immune cells can also be affected by soluble fibers. They go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory healing cells that help us recover faster from infection. This was said by Gregory Freud, who is a professor at the UI college of medicine and gastroenterology.

For a holistic and strong foundation of health, keeping a healthy diet and giving our bodies the proper amount of rest it needs plus regular good exercise will ensure that our bodies are always in condition.

Effective Ways to Absorb Turmeric Better

People have a lot of different ways to say the word – turmeric. It doesn’t matter how you pronounce it though, turmeric is here to stay. It’s one of the most popular health foods today.

But did you know that if you don’t consume turmeric in a certain way, you probably won’t absorb it right too? If you read along, we’re going to talk about two ways in which you can absord turmeric better in all its goodness.

If you’re interested, keep reading.

The How To’s of Turmeric

It’s something that a lot of people are asking today. Should I be having turmeric? And it’s because it’s such a popular topic right now, but a lot of people don’t realize that turmeric is not easily absorbed. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin.

Curcumin is responsible for a lot of health benefits. Unfortunately, curcumin is something your body does not want to absorb. So we need to figure out ways that your body can absorb it. And there are two scientifically proven ways on how to do that. So let’s get into it.

Adding Black Pepper

It’s not a complicated thing. A study was done where black pepper was added to turmeric and the absorption was boosted significantly, 20 times as much. Now what can you do? So let’s say you’re having a turmeric tea latte and adding black pepper may sound like a little bit too much. You don’t want a spicy kick to your latte.

The thing is you don’t have to add too much black pepper. In the study, they used a quarter teaspoon, that’s actually not that much, but you don’t even have to add a quarter teaspoon. You could add a pinch to your turmeric tea latte and that will make a significant improvement to your absorption level.

When it comes to something savory, adding black pepper is easy. For example, you’re making sauteed veggies with some turmeric. Add a little bit of black pepper to it, and you will absorb the turmeric a lot better. Number one was very simple, the same will go with number two.

Something Fatty With It

Number two is to add some fat. The compound in turmeric that’s responsible for the health benefits, curcumin, is fat soluble. If you have turmeric without fat, you’re not absorbing it as much as you think. Let’s say you’re having a turmeric shot, there are a lot of these shots that they sell at different juice bars. Turmeric with juice isn’t any better though.

Having some fatty nuts on the side will help a whole lot better, walnuts for one. Walnuts have high amounts of heart-healthy alpha-linoleic acid (ALA); consuming 14 halves of it would be 18 grams fat. Now, let’s say you’re having turmeric tea. Adding a little bit of coconut milk will do the work. The coconut milk will also help make a significant difference in optimizing the benefits of turmeric.

When it comes to savory things, adding fat is a lot easier. Making curry that contains turmeric in it is one way. You can add a little bit of coconut oil if you use oil or add coconut milk or add some nuts like cashews. Add something with fat and your body will be able to benefit from the turmeric more effectively.

Combining Them?

Now for maximum benefits, adding both black pepper and fat to your turmeric will also work. Doing this will surely give you a real boost in absorption. Brainstorm recipes or do some research on some exisiting ones that you can tweak or do some changes in. Incorporate the use of both black pepper and healthy fats with turmeric in your own recipes.

If you’re going to try something new, the control will be up to you on how much black pepper and fat are you willing to combine with the turmeric. Let your preference be the whole judge. You’ll be the one consuming all of it after all, together with all the goodness of turmeric and the shortcuts you learned by consuming it the right way.

What are some of your favorite ways to use turmeric?

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Turmeric (Curcuma longa): An Ancient Healing Spice

A perennial native to South Asia, turmeric has been a staple in worldly cuisines for ages. Its Latin name is Curcuma longa, and it is the plant’s long orange root that produces the familiar yellow spice found in so many Indian dishes.

With its historical roots in Ayurvedic culture, turmeric root is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs.

Between its countless uses and numerous health properties, turmeric is one of those spices and foods that should be a staple in every household.

Its nutritional contents and versatility as food are just two of the reasons why. It is also popular because of its orange-yellow coloring and has been utilized for even beauty purposes.

Not only is the root good for the body nutritionally, but it can have some major benefits to the mind.

Curcuma longa has a unique chemical profile that allows it to be included in a variety of treatments for health issues ranging from cold and flu to circulation problems. [R]

The properties are good for health, sure, but are also what gives it its distinct flavor and undeniable appeal.

It is for those reasons that health gurus can testify that turmeric in all forms can help keep the body healthy and prevent diseases.

Turmeric Benefits

Used for centuries for its healing properties, turmeric root is thought to have many powerful benefits.

1. Full of Nutrients

Curcuma longa possesses numerous nutrients and factors beneficial to health. These are vitamins, minerals, amino acids, natural oils, and phytochemicals. [R]

The phytochemicals alone are what cause the amelioration of bodily functions. These include better functioning cell tissues, organs, and muscles. [R]

The compounds will also help prevent certain diseases due to their health properties that serve to boost the functions and pick up slack where vitamins and minerals may be lacking in the body.

Turmeric contains more than 300 components that are found naturally in the root.

These include, but are not limited to, vitamin C, calcium, fiber, beta-carotene, iron, flavonoids, zinc, niacin, and potassium.

2. Prevents and Treats Cancer

Laboratory studies have shown that curcumin found in Curcuma longa can target cancer cells and kill them. It has anti-cancer effects. [R]

Not only can it kill cancer cells, but the curcumin can actually be used as a preventative measure to stop more from growing. [R]

Lower rates of cancer have been found in countries where more turmeric is ingested on a daily basis.

3. Treats Arthritis and Supports Healthy Joints

Arthritis is a common inflammatory disorder characterized by painful swelling in the joints.

Various studies have shown that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis by keeping the joints from getting swollen and inflamed. [R]

In some cases, curcumin was even more effective than prescription drugs when given to osteoarthritis and RA patients. [R]

4. Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agent

Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory component called curcumin that helps regular the natural inflammation of the body. [R]

Inflammation is a constant problem in the body, either bringing pain or some form of swelling largely due to the foods that a person consumes.

By helping to prevent inflammation, turmeric can actually be a factor in preventing things like heart disease, obesity, and heart problems. [R] [R]

Turmeric fights inflammation at the molecular level. [R][R][R]

5. Fights off Bacteria

Curcuma longa contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components that are beneficial in fighting bacteria and viruses. [R][R]

It also allows for a boost in the immune system (your body’s natural defense against diseases).

The same unique blend of vitamins and nutrients in turmeric target specific areas of the body where the average Western diet is lacking.

Through this, a balance is restored and the capacity to fight off bacteria is heightened.

6. Boosts Stress Tolerance

Turmeric has shown progress through its antioxidants to lower oxidative stress in humans. It can also help to cure mental stress with the way in which its many nutrients work together. [R]

Particularly when used as a tea, the turmeric root can have a calming effect on the brain. [R]

7. Aids Digestion

Turmeric can aid digestion and absorption in the body. Its nutrient formula can help open up passages for the nutrients of other foods to properly be absorbed into the body.

Its work as a detoxifier also helps this process. In addition, metabolism is helped by the influx of natural products found within turmeric’s chemical formula. [R]

Turmeric’s antibodies also provide the base for a way to quell nausea. When taken as a hot tea, the root is perfect for settling the stomach and helping the digestive process run smoothly. [R]

8. Remedy Acid Reflux

While it would be difficult to ingest enough turmeric in a single day to be able to properly treat acid reflux, it does help. [R][R]

Curcuma longa can play a key role in the way acid reflux is treated as curcumin is rapidly metabolized by the liver.

Even in small doses, ingesting turmeric for its extracted curcumin in order to help balance the pH level of your body will work.

There also exists a way to get the full recommended amount of this healing spice, and that lies in supplements.

Organic turmeric extract can be taken and used as a simple way to get the full daily medicinal dose.

9. Treats Hay Fever

Turmeric, in its spice form, has often been used as a medicinal ingredient to treat hay fever. The symptoms that this spice treats include a sore throat, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing and some headaches. [R]

Turmeric tea is often preferred for treating these symptoms due to its warmth and ability to retain a wholesome dosage.

This spice is excellent as a natural alternative to taking pharmaceutical drugs when hit with a cold or similar.

10. Fights Against Depression

The curcumin contained within turmeric has been tried and tested to help relieve the effects of depression. [R]

Those already taking anti-depressant drugs had seen a decrease in their symptoms when they added turmeric to their steady diet. [R]

11. Treats Stomach Ulcers

Research has shown that the chemical found in turmeric, curcumin, has the potential to treat stomach ulcers. It may be consumed in powdered form — taken 3-4 times daily for 6-8 weeks. [R]

However, it’s recommended that you consult with a health care practitioner before including that much turmeric in your diet.

There are certain groups of people that should not consume turmeric in large doses like that (see side effects/caution).

How to Use

When eating turmeric in its raw form, the curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream.

The reason this presents somewhat of a challenge for the body is that the chemical compound is not one it is used to.

  • Taking turmeric with black pepper, high in a compound called piperine, enhances curcumin absorption by up to 2000%. [R]
  • By eating Curcuma longa with healthy fats like coconut or avocado oil, it is more easily absorbed into the bloodstream. [R]
  • A study also shows that heating turmeric for up to 10 minutes increases the solubility of curcumin 12 folds, thereby enhancing its absorption by the body. [R]

Here are some ways of incorporating this healthy spice into your diet.

1. Making a Tea

One of the easiest and most effective ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet is through an herbal tea.

By crushing the root, adding other herbs of choice, and steeping the mixture into hot water, a tea can be made. Let it cool before adding a sweetener of choice.

It is effective due to the way that the root is still practically raw when ingested. This means that any and all nutrients will be absorbed to the fullest extent. [R]

In addition, the heat from the tea can help with other conditions as well. It can help aid digestion, not only for settling the stomach but since it will lessen the effects of bloating or gases.

Making a pot of turmeric tea can also be an excellent way to use the root’s anti-inflammatory assets. The heat and facilitated entry into the digestive system will serve to add a bit of a boost to the already-there soothing nature.

During cold and flu season, drinking turmeric tea infusion daily can help fight off infections that might attack the immune system.

Turmeric tea is easy to make, helps soothe the digestive process and any inflammatory problems.

2. As a Spice

Perhaps the most common way to use Curcuma longa is as a spice. It has been used this way for centuries and is often times the main form in which you’ll find turmeric.

Curries, sauces, soups, breads, salads or dips. Turmeric is a spice that can be used in just about anything. Since it does have such a versatile set of nutrients in it, ingesting turmeric in your weekly diet is a must.

It has such a savory taste that it can easily be incorporated into any dish. Not only is using the crushed root as a spice the easiest way to ingest turmeric, but it is one of the most effective.

This ancient healing spice has antibodies and antioxidants that work inside the body to relieve many ailments. [R]

3. As a Paste or Poultice

Turmeric powder combined with castor oil can be a big aid when used topically on the skin any place on the body, which can help with inflammation through the nutrients soaking into the body by way of the skin.

Besides, applying a paste of turmeric and castor oil has the potential to improve one’s complexion.

All of the nutrients soak into the skin and have the capacity to remedy wounds and clear blemishes, including any spots on the body where the sun may have caused damaged or where oil may be built up. [R]

Other methods of preparation:

  • A paste can be mode out of turmeric and manuka honey to remedy cuts and wounds and reduce scarring.
  • Combine aloe vera and turmeric powder to make a soothing paste for sun damaged skin and skin bruises.
  • Reduce inflammation and scaling by applying a turmeric mask or cream on psoriasis-affected skin.
  • Mix together turmeric powder with water and apply to psoriasis-affected skin as a nighttime treatment. Leave on for a couple of minutes before washing off.

It is always important to know which beauty products not to put on our face due to chemicals. The chemical build up in store-bought products can often be harmful to the skin and make it less resistant to the sun’s rays.

By making your own natural turmeric paste, you can avoid this. Doing it at home ensures that everything is natural and organic.

This means that you are able to oversee exactly what is going onto your skin, safe in the knowledge that it is doing far more good than harm.

Placing a poultice or a spread onto the skin can also be great to soothe it. With the nutrients found within turmeric put to work, it can be a great relaxer.

Heat coupled with the minerals and electrolytes can work to soothe a rash or fight off an infection. The antibodies that are present in curcumin are perfect for that.

Infection and inflammation can be easily remedied by using turmeric as the base for your beauty paste.

Side Effects/ Caution

1. Blood Thinning Effects

Since turmeric can be used as a natural blood thinner, it should not be taken if you are on medication that thins the blood. This can cause serious medical issues. [R]

Additionally, when too much is ingested daily alongside other medications/ingredients that have the same properties, problems may arise.

2. pH levels

Especially when combined with certain drugs, pH levels can go out of balance when turmeric is used as a complementary remedy.

As always, check your prescriptions to make sure that they are compatible with the nature of turmeric.

3. Gallbladder Issues

Turmeric may exacerbate gallbladder issues when taken too often or in large amounts.

4. Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Curcuma longa can lower blood sugar levels. Those with diabetes are not recommended to add turmeric to their daily diet. [R]

When eaten consistently or in large quantities, turmeric can cause a diabetic’s blood sugar level to drop too low. This can become life-threatening in extreme cases.

5. May Affect Iron Absorption

When taken in large amounts, turmeric may hinder iron absorption.

Where to Buy

Turmeric, like most spices nowadays, can be bought all year. The root may end up being seasonal, depending on your location.

For the most part, turmeric root can be found in local grocery stores or farmer’s market.

Turmeric is also available online in powder form, capsules, and fluid extracts.

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