When I was younger, health and strength looked like Popeye. I remember my parent’s telling me how I should eat spinach so that I could be strong and healthy. So even back then, the importance of food as part of my immune system was a topic that was an important theme in my life. As we face difficult times with Covid, we are all asking what we can do to improve our immune system. Eating spinach just doesn’t seem to be quite enough. Our immune system is our biggest defense against bacteria, germs, viruses, cell changes, and other harmful substances. To function well, our immune system requires balance. It is important to check all areas of our life such as sleep, environment, stress, genetics, and food. Since we started discussing spinach, lets focus on nutrition for now.
In fact, Popeye was not wrong at all. Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, which helps protect us from seasonal illness and other health problems. Studies have shown that gut health is essential for overall health, so what we eat and supplement with, can have a huge impact on our immunity. Not one food or supplement can prevent illness but by including the following nutrients, you can aid in supporting your immune system:
Protein is very important for healing and recovery. Getting a variety of proteins sources like seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and seeds will aid in supporting your immune strength.
Vitamin A is super important in helping regulate the immune system and protecting it against infections. Example of sources of Vitamin A, are sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs.
Vitamin C supports the immune system by stimulating the formation of antibodies. Include more sources of this healthy vitamin by choosing citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomatoes.
Vitamin E works as an antioxidant and may support immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts and peanut butter.
Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.
When it comes to nutrients, others including vitamin B6, B12, copper, folate, selenium and iron also may support immune response. Moreover, in terms of foods, there are some out there that have shown to have great impact in our immune response.
Garlic contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs and has also shown promise as a treatment for preventing colds and the flu.
Studies have shown that garlic reduces the risk of becoming sick in the first place, as well as how long you stay sick. It can also reduce the severity of symptoms. Garlic can be crushed, chewed or sliced to produce allicin, which is thought to give garlic its immune-boosting properties.
Oil of Oregano – People are turning to a powerful Mediterranean herb to protect themselves during the global pandemic. It’s called oregano oil and has proven to boost the immune system by increasing the levels of interferon in the blood, as well as killing the flu virus
The benefits of Ginger Root are extensive. When it comes to immunity, ginger is antimicrobial and has two natural antibiotics. Its is a strong antioxidant that helps eliminate congestion, inflammation, and cold viruses.
Tumeric or Curcumin just as Ginger is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activity. Now, studies confirm that turmeric acts as an antioxidant as well.
We know its not easy to consume all these nutrients and foods on a daily basis, so we have found that aside from supplements, consuming simple immunity shots with some of the proper nutrients and ingredients above every day can be an amazing way to make sure you get some of these incredible benefits. Not only are they easy to get, but they are quite easy to make at home. Below are two recipes. Give them a try!
Citrus Immunity Shot
- 1 medium grapefruit (peeled)
- 1 medium orange
- ½ medium lemon
- 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled
- 1 (1-inch) piece fresh turmeric root, peeled
- ½ clove garlic
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- In a blender, combine (whole) grapefruit, juice from the orange and lemon, ginger, turmeric, garlic and pepper. Blend until smooth (adjusting ingredients to taste, if necessary).
- Place a small sieve or strainer over a mason jar or glass cup.
- Pour liquid into strainer and serve immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 4 days
Immunity orange-oregano shot
- 1 navel or valencia oranges
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger root
- 1-inch piece fresh turmeric root
- pinch black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coconut or oregano oil
- 1. Peel oranges (removing seeds and white pith), ginger and turmeric root.
- 2. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until pureed. If needed, add more orange juice to achieve the correct consistency.