As the cold season ensues, you might find yourself wondering what foods you can consume to naturally boost the immune system. Our immune system is our first line of defense against outside invaders. We rely heavily on the integrity and function of our immune system to prevent us from getting sick with a cold that could land us in bed for several days. It is important then to consider how we can support the optimal functioning of our immune system with foods. In general avoiding unprocessed foods and sugars will help keep your immune system strong. Increasing the number of servings of fresh vegetables and fruits into your diet will increase the number of phytonutrients that are needed to support your immune system. There are however, selected foods when consumed that have been shown to strengthen the immune system.
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha contain live probiotics that help keep the gut lining free from germs. In particular, the specific strain, Lactobacillus reuteri, has been found to stimulate white blood cells (infection fighting cells) in the body. There are also herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, and turmeric that can help ward off infection. Garlic in particular is known to have antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. For optimal benefits garlic should be consumed fresh. Ginger is well known for both its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and has long been used in many traditions to prevent infection. Turmeric best known for its anti-inflammatory and cancer preventing properties is also a natural immune booster. Mushrooms are gaining attention for their immune boosting benefits. Studies have shown mushrooms increase both the number and activity of white blood cell thereby enhancing the immune systems. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi appear to be the most potent of the mushrooms with the highest antiviral properties and immune boosting benefits. Certain teas are known to help fend off potential invaders, the two best types are matcha and tulsi tea. Matcha is a nutrient rich green tea from Japan that is also a potent antioxidant. Tulsi tea also known as holy basil contains significant antioxidants and is known to support the immune system. Consider incorporating these foods into your diet this winter season to give a natural boost to your immune system.
At Hermann Wellness we offer Holistic Primary care to our patients. Our offices are located in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Please call the office at (813) 902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.