Top Food Tips to Support Your Immune System
There are so many easy ways to support your immune system with food this time of year. Now is a good time to move away from the colder foods and start thinking about soups, warming herbs and spices. These naturally heat up your body and help you transition to the colder months. Here are some KrantzWellness food tips to support your immune system:
Garlic has many healing properties and has been found to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, garlic is a powerful antiseptic, antibiotic, and antimicrobial. To get the maximum benefits, peel and chop your garlic and let it sit out for 15 minutes. This will allow the alliin to convert to allicin, which provides the antimicrobial properties. For maximum benefit, add it to food raw or cook for a short time using a low temperature.
Ginger is a warming herb that is an anti-inflammatory, increases circulation, and enhances the functioning of your immune system. Ginger tea can increase sweat production, which helps your body release toxins. In addition, it is an effective remedy for nausea/stomach discomfort.
Broccoli is one of the most nutrient dense foods and it has anticancer, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It has twice the vitamin C as an orange, almost as much calcium as whole milk, and is high in fiber. Incorporating broccoli into your diet will provide many nutrients to support your immune system.
Astragalus is the root of a perennial plant that has strong immune boosting qualities. It can be purchased in thin slices and cooked with pots of soup, grains or beans and then removed before serving. This adds the health benefits to your dish without much of a flavor change. It is best used to boost immunity rather than treat illness.
Apples are high in flavonoids (ie. quercetin) and pectin, a soluble fiber. A medium, unpeeled apple has 3 grams of fiber. Apples have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, asthma and Type 2 diabetes. Apples are on the “dirty dozen” list, so be sure to look for organic apples.
Winter squash is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The orange/yellow flesh is a high source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant (sweet potatoes and carrots have this same feature). In addition to the flesh, pumpkin seeds have many health benefits including being a valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and zinc.
Turmeric is a root in the ginger family. Turmeric powder is made by boiling, drying and grinding the root. Its yellow pigment comes from curcumin, which is rich in beta-carotene. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Turmeric can be used as an individual spice or as one ingredient in curry powder