Bleary wet weather, storm after storm and now an epidemic. While personal hygiene is key in lowering your risk of catching an illness, it is also important to boost your immune system from within. Sure it's important to maintain a healthy diet and reduce consumption of processed foods but here are 5 surprising foods that can give you a leg up in building up your protection and staying well:
It's no secret just how rich Matcha is in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and nutrients but how does it support our immunity? This is thanks to its main antioxidant content Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which assists your body’s production of T-Cells which reduce inflammation and fight pathogens.
Matcha also contains a high level of flavonoids which form a powerful anti-bacterial defence force by killing off bacteria from viruses/infections and soothing sore throats!
Chlorophyll is what gives Matcha its vibrant green colour which is key in the detoxification process. A detoxified body has better defences against pathogens!
Seeing ginger shots pop up just about everywhere? That's because the humble ginger root has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which in effect strengthen your immunity.
Chronic inflammation can weaken your immune system, potentially increasing your chances of contracting an illness - so increasing your consumption of ginger is key to boosting immunity.
Many studies have been performed on ginger's effects on the body, where one of these studies found that fresh ginger not only had antiviral effects against respiratory infections, but also supported the body's natural immune response against them.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
It's important not to neglect our body's microbiome, or in other words, our gut bacteria. Our own good bacteria not only help us form protective barriers but programme our immune systems to respond more effectively to illnesses. It has been seen in clinical studies that older people, and those with pre-existing inflammatory conditions, tend to have less varied gut microbiomes, suggesting a strong correlation between microbiome strength and immunity.
Fermented foods such as kefir yoghurt, pickled food and probably the most popular one of all - apple cider vinegar are highly recommended to increase variety in the gut.
Apart from its positive effect on gut health, ACV also has antibacterial properties which promotes an effective barrier against pathogens. It also encourages detoxification through lymphatic drainage and enhances circulation of blood, which will help the body deliver crucial T-cells to active pathogen sites and remove dead pathogens more quickly.
This spice is on trend with good reason. Turmeric is a great way to help support the immune system by increasing the immunomodulating (try saying that quickly!) capacity of the body. It's brilliant yellow color is thanks to its main compound, curcumin. Even at low doses, it has been shown that curcumin can improve our bodies' recognition of and response to pathogens.
Recent studies have also shown on how curcumin can alleviate cell oxidation and stress caused by infections and inflammation. Researchers have also compared curcumin to artichoke, rosemary, and dandelion extracts in terms of how well it can inhibit cell growth, such as tumor cells, and found that turmeric extract exhibited the highest levels of activity of cell protection.
Curcumin may also serve as a means to protect the liver by enhancing antioxidation in the body. Researchers have found a positive correlation between turmeric and the suppression of hepatic oxidative stress.
5. Raw Honey
Raw honey has unbeatable anti-viral properties that can help to boost your immune system and protect you from illness. It can also help soothe the effects of sore throats, by sending antibacterial agents to where your body needs it.
Raw honey also contains phytonutrients, which are compounds found in plants that act as the plant's own defences by protecting the plant from harm.
These phytonutrients are what gives honey its antioxidant properties, as well as its antibacterial and antifungal power. It is also the reason raw honey has shown immune-boosting and anticancer benefits.
In addition to practising a healthy lifestyle, getting enough rest and keeping personal hygiene, it's important to also maintain a regular intake of supplements to ensure your body is fully equipped to fight infection and illness.
Looking for an quick and easy way to get these foods into your diet? Check out The Pretty Smart Ultimate Wellness Bundle!
Photo by Alexandra Gorn