Boosting your Immunity on a Budget
In order for your immune system to function properly, and stay in tip-top shape, you need adequate sleep, regular exercise, and proper nutrition. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs, and spices can boost your immunity. If you're looking for ways to prevent winter colds and the flu, plan your meals to include some of these immune system boosters.
Nuts, seeds and spices are known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and vitamin-rich properties. Stress and busy lives can cause mild inflammation over time, leading to burnout and weakened immunity. Antioxidants protect your cells from harmful substances (free radicals) found in our environment. Try adding the following anti-inflammatory spices and nutrient rich nuts & seeds to your diet.
You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries. But this bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage.
Baking is synonymous with cinnamon, a warming and comforting flavor. Cinnamaldehyde is a bactericide present in cinnamon. Taking cinnamon in high enough doses can may enhance insulin secretion - a study found that cinnamon is not only beneficial for the immune system, but could also help people with diabetes.
Chinese and Indian cuisines make extensive use of hot and zesty ginger, as well as in baked goods like gingerbread. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, ginger is also antioxidative. Ground ginger is also effective in treating nausea and vomiting. It can be added to smoothies and porridge or used in cooking.
Like the other spices we’ve mentioned, coriander has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. This spice comes from seeds within the cilantro plant. Use fresh in salads or sprinkled over meals or use ground or whole dried seeds in cooking. Great for curries, stir frys & dressings.
Cumin has anti-inflammatory properties. Cumin is commonly used in Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese and Indian cuisines to give dishes an earthy flavor.
Vitamin E, B and omega fatty acids are all great for keeping your bodys immunity up. Try adding the following nuts and seeds to your diet.
When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. A half-cup serving of whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.
Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. They’re also incredibly high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function. Other foods with high amounts of vitamin E include avocados and dark leafy greens.
Walnuts are like no other foods when it comes to brain food and immune-boosting properties. They are packed with brain-boosting nutrients, including protein, polyunsaturated fats, and B vitamins, among others. This means walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids as well. The right balance of Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids are necessary to keep your body running optimally.
Pistachios are packed with nutrients including vitamins B6, copper, manganese, and more. In addition to creating new red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body, vitamin B6 also plays an important role in keeping the immune system healthy. Additionally, pistachios are delicious, especially when seasoned to perfection. Having a handful or two each day can improve your overall health.