5 Immunity Boosters to Keep You Healthy This Winter
A healthy lifestyle can do wonders to support your body’s ability to fight off illness, and, when you do get sick, to increase your body’s resilience. Important factors include a nutritious diet, minimizing unnecessary stressors that will burden the body (such as smoke, synthetic chemicals, and electromagnetic fields,), getting ample sleep, and washing hands often.
Centuries ago, Hippocrates, considered the father of Western medicine, wisely recommended, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I generally try to follow this advice by eating foods that support my body’s abilities to fight illness, recover, and heal. Below are five tips on how you can boost immunity through diet.
Orange Pigment Foods
Because of their high concentration of vitamin C, other orange foods in addition to citrus fruits can help boost immunity through their vitamins and antioxidants. Orange foods include squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangoes, papaya, and bell peppers.
Certain mushroom varieties support immunity. Shiitakes, Enoki, Maitake, and Reishi mushrooms are can all help to ward off illness. However, common ones found in grocery stores — like the cultivated white or “button” mushrooms — include natural carcinogens. While the health effects of natural carcinogens from foods are still being studied, it is best to stick to the varieties that do not have them.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, offer a rich supply of vitamins and nutrients that may help prevent and fight illnesses, including cancer.
Garlic has been used to fight illness for centuries, and is known to combat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The active chemical, allicin, is not only responsible for garlic’s immunity-boosting power, but also its powerful smell. Some experts suggest that the stronger the garlic odor, the better the garlic’s fighting attributes. You can reap the benefits from eating cooked garlic: peel a few cloves, chop them, and then let them sit for 20 minutes before cooking. By letting the garlic rest, you will activate the immunity boosting nutrients, and allow the garlic to develop to its fullest potential.
Teas can be rich in antioxidants and polyphenols including flavonoids, which can help ward off illness. Stick to varieties that are organic to reduce exposures to pesticides. Green, white, and black teas are great choices, as they have higher concentrations of antioxidants than other varieties. For the best herbal teas, choose ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, hibiscus, jasmine, rosehip, mint, rooibos (red tea), chamomile, and echinacea.
Sophia Ruan Gushée is a mother of three who, upon leaving a career in investment management to spend more time with her children, began a journey to build the healthiest and safest environment possible for her family. This mission to become a truly conscious consumer led her into five years of research on the many toxins we are exposed to and the possible effects of these substances on our lives. Sophia earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master in Business Administration from Columbia University. She is also a certified yoga teacher, living in New York City with her family. This is her first book.
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