With fall in full swing and the beginning of winter not far away, this time of year always seems to present a challenge for everyone’s immune system. Colder weather often means more runny noses, fevers, and headaches. However, you might be hiding some immune-boosting help in your pantry without even knowing it! If you are trying to keep a winter cold at bay, look no further than your own kitchen.
Let’s take a look at a few natural ingredients that you can incorporate into your diet during this winter:
Spicy Ginger Power
Ginger is loaded with beneficial antioxidants that may help prevent stress from pro-oxidants that can damage your body’s DNA. These powerful antioxidants may also help your body fight off infections and colds, making it a “go-to” wintertime staple for healthy immunity for both you and your family. For example, add a few slices of fresh ginger root to some cooked vegetables as a tasty side dish that has an immune kick.
Although vitamin D3 is most popular for bone and joint support, this stunning vitamin also plays a key role in the modulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. In recent years, research has indicated that immune cells are responsive to D3 levels, suggesting that maintaining an adequate intake of this vitamin can help support your immune system.1 Wild-caught fish is a wonderful source of vitamin D3, so be sure to include some in your diet often to boost your levels of D3. Supplemental D3 can be especially helpful to those who are deficient.
As a lesser-known immune mineral, zinc helps keep the immune system strong, supports normal cell growth, and helps heal wounds. A zinc deficiency can negatively impact innate immune cells and macrophages, which may compromise the immune system and leave you more susceptible to illness.
Although garlic is revered mostly as a delicious pungent seasoning for various dishes, research now proves its potent powers as an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. The active compound in garlic, called allicin, can help support your immune system so that it can elegantly resist and destroy a full range of microorganisms, bacteria, or viruses.
Naturally occurring polysaccharides, called beta-glucans, can help increase the defensive capability of your immune system by activating white blood cells and improving natural killer cell function. These incredible polymers are found in the cell walls of oats, barley, yeast, and many types of mushrooms including reishi, maitake, and shiitake. Try adding a scoop of fermented mushroom powder to your next main dish.
You may not have heard of nucleotides before, but these organic molecules are the building blocks of your cell's DNA and RNA. These tiny molecules have important, integrative functions that relate to cell signaling, overall metabolism, and enzyme reactions. Research demonstrates that nucleotides can facilitate the synthesis of immune cells that repair tissues and maintain organ function, thus strengthening the immune system. Definitely one of our favorite molecules.
Citrus fruits are a rich source of natural vitamin C, a famous nutrient that is well known for strengthening the immune system. Sufficient amounts of vitamin C have the added benefit of maintaining the skin’s elasticity and smoothness.
Lucious Leafy Greens
Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard offer high levels of naturally-occurring vitamin C, K, and folate, which function as immune system boosters. Many researchers believe leafy greens deserve to be named as superfoods because they are rich in many nutrients, high in gut-boosting fiber and low in calories. Make these a staple of your daily diet so you can enjoy your best health and wellness.
In the last few years, magnesium has been the subject of many research studies that have unveiled magnesium’s strong relation to the immune system. Magnesium also plays a key role in healthy inflammation, the aging process, and innate and adaptive immunity. Rich sources of magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Be sure to include a few of these in your daily diet often.
It’s back to nature’s natural bounty of healthy superfoods to keep your immune system in tip-top shape through this coming winter season.