There’s a continuous war going on between our body and the disease-causing agents all around and within us. Our health, and even our very existence, depends on the outcome of this ongoing battle. While our body is well equipped with an immune system to handle most of these attacks, food plays an important role in keeping it in prime condition. Here are some immunity enhancing foods that are easy to add to your diet.
Homemade Chicken Broth
If chicken broth had been your grandma’s dinner staple, especially during the flu season, it might have helped ward off several bouts of illness. Part of its immunity boosting action comes from the spices and herbs that go into it. The onions, leek, garlic, ginger and peppercorns, contribute their unique polyphenols. These phytonutrients have specific anti-microbial functions besides empowering the body to fight the disease-causing organisms. The hot broth promotes nasal secretions and help clear up airways where congestion can create an environment conducive to microbial growth.
Proteins are also very important as immunity boosters, and chicken provides easily digestible, quality protein that contains all the essential amino acids. When germs invade our body and are recognized as enemies by our immune cells, specific proteins called antibodies have to be produced to counteract the foreign proteins known as antigens. The amino acids are the raw material for these antibodies.
Make your own chicken broth using organic, free range chickens. Store-bought broth is often loaded with preservatives and fillers.
As one of the most nutrient-rich natural foods, honey has few parallels. Since the bees typically collect nectar from several thousand flowers to make just one teaspoon of honey, it is a concentrated source of phytonutrients such as polyphenols and oligosaccharides besides simple sugars like glucose and fructose that provide instant energy. It is rich in vitamins and minerals that help fight infections. The antibacterial activity of honey is well known; the enzymes in honey may act in unique ways to protect us from pathogens. Cough remedies based on honey are popular. In fact, they are found to be as effective as dextromethorphan in relieving cough. Use pure honey in tea or as a sweetener in cooking.
This little warrior from the onion family is well known for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Its offensive odor notwithstanding, garlic can be your greatest ally when contagious diseases are doing the round. When you feel a tickling in the throat that could be the first sign of an impending bout of cold or cough, pop a single piece of garlic into the mouth. Bite on it occasionally to draw a bit of its juice to send it down the throat. By the time you’re done with that piece, you’d have successfully escaped an irritating infection, although the resulting bad breath may keep you from the social circuit for awhile. The organosulfur compounds may be responsible for the protective effect of garlic.
This most common and easily accessible probiotic food is great as an immunity booster. It creates an environment favorable to the growth of beneficial microflora in the gut which keeps the disease-causing ones like E. coli under check. The beneficial gut bacteria play a significant role in the production of several B-complex vitamins that are involved in the proper functioning of the immune system. They also produce enzymes and antibodies that directly act on the invaders. Live culture yogurt can supply lactobacillus populations on a regular basis to replace those perishing in the constant battle against harmful organisms. Maintaining a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in the gut is your best bet for a robust immune system. Yogurt made with organic or raw milk is always best.
The secret that has been known for thousands of years by some is now becoming common knowledge. Coconuts are great at enhancing our general health making us resistant to diseases. The coconut water/milk is almost equivalent to blood plasma that it has been used as a replacement in times of emergency. This isotonic fluid supplies electrolytes in the right proportion to make up for blood loss due to injuries or fluid loss by vomiting or severe diarrhea. Regular intake of coconut water is a natural way employed by people in the tropical islands and coastal areas to build up immunity. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid with proven anti-microbial activity. On ingestion, lauric acid gets transformed into monolaurin, an immune-boosting substance present in abundance in breast milk. When you use coconut oil, milk and water liberally in your diet you will not only build up your resistance to common conditions such as colds and flu but also protect yourself from other serious conditions and promote well-being. Be sure to always use organic (unrefined) coconut oil and coconut products.
Sources for this article include: