Foods For Immune Superpowers?

 

There has been a recent spike in foods that are marketed to improve conditions ranging from increasing energy to curing multiple disease states.

But are these claims true? Do we really need to add powdered supplements to our water?
Are they really any better than the foods that we may have pushed to the side?

There are definitely superior foods that offer greater health benefits, BUT these foods don't come in fancy packaging and you wont have to go broke trying to afford them!
Oh and you'll definitely have had them hanging around at one stage or another. Include the following on your shopping list for immune boosting, antioxidant powers:

Ginger is a fantastic anti inflammatory and also has anti-microbial properties, which is fantastic for the immune system as it helps support your bodies ability in treating infectious diseases such as cold and flus. Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. It is also believed that ginger helps break down the accumulation of toxins in the organs and it is also known to cleanse the lymphatic system!

Try the following combo as a morning smoothie

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or a handful of walnuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1 cup spinach

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

Turmeric contains curcumin which is the pharmacological agent that is most beneficial. Curcumin has shown strong anti- inflammatory and improve exercise induced muscle damage. It is potent even at small culinary doses. Recent research found turmeric to be an effective treatment for IBS, which is fantastic if you suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms. 
A whole kilo of fresh turmeric costs around $24.00, however you'll find about 100 grams to be enough to last quite a while! 

Store the fresh root in the freezer and grate into cooking, smoothies, or even into warm water with a squeeze of lemon.

Aromatic Herbs such as roesemary, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley & mint all contain essential oils and act as anti microbials in the body.
Rosemary is high in antioxidants, aids circulation and digestion and tastes fantastic on meat, cooked with eggs or can even add a boost to your green tea! Oregano is known for its healing and immune-boosting properties. It fights infections naturally due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-parasite compounds. Several scientific studies found that oregano oil has antibacterial activity against a number of bacterial isolates and species, including B. laterosporus and S. saprophyticus. 

Citrus Fruits contain vitamin C and this is fantastic because it helps build up your immune system.
Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. These are key to fighting infections. Citrus fruits to include

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Lemons
  • Mandarines
  • Limes

Your body doesn't actually produce or store Vitamin C so you need daily intake for continued health. This amount increases with stress and sickness. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it's easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.

Pineapple is fantastic for digestion and contains powerful anti inflammatory benefits due to the presence of bromelain. Bromelain reduces inflammation throughout the body and acts as a digestive enzyme, supporting the right gut environment for nutrient absorption. Pineapple is also high in Vitamin C and flavonoids, which are super immune boosters.

Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. It contains 224% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. Papayas have decent amounts of potassium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to overall health.

And if you're not on a low FODMAP diet, include the following amazing foods:

Garlic adds a little something to your food and it is a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections and it may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties come from a heavy concentration of sulfur containing compounds in it, such as allicin. It is antimicrobial, antifungal, detoxifies the body, boosts the immune system and is a natural antibiotic.

Onion contains 150 identified phytochemicals (you want these!). It also contains a high concentration of sulfur based essential oils (isothiocyanate), many phytonutrients especially the flavonoid quercetin, calcium, iodine, selenium, phosphorus, fluoride, potassium, vitamin B1, B2 and vitamin C.

Other tips & Tricks

Things such as stress, exercise and sleep play a huge role in immune function. 

If you're overwhelmed with a huge to do list, or work is stacking up, it can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends to get everything done.
When pushing sleep to the side becomes a habit,  it can have serious ramifications on your health status. Sleep is when your body recovers and repairs, so taking this time away from your body will add stress, and also limit your bodies ability to self heal. By adding a few of the above foods into your weekly diet, and taking care of your mental health through stress busters, you'll be sure to be on your way to feeling good year round.

For more recipe ideas, take a look at our recipe tab!