‘Tis the season . . . to Feed Your Immune System!
You have a lot going on, so you don’t want immune challenges to slow you down. Try these foods and more to bolster your immune system!
Here we are again in the midst of cold and flu season, a season that can span several months. For example, cold season is already on us, lasting from September through April (but you can catch a cold any time of the year), while flu season, which is here, too, runs from October through May, but typically peaks during February.
No one want immune challenges to sideline them or slow them down during this super-busy time of year.
If you want to bolster your immunity, then consider arming yourself and your immunity with real nutrition—veggies, fruits, herbs, spices, mushrooms, probiotic-rich foods—providing priority-focused attention to your immune system!†
Even in the midst of immune-challenging seasons, the immune system is amazing as a built-in system to ward off the unhealthy microorganisms and foreign invaders we continually come into contact with, and is always on call. Its first line of defense and duty is to block the invasion of these unwanted critters.
But while our immune system is nothing short of astounding, sometimes it can get bombarded, overwhelmed and can use a little help, including during the fall and winter months when our immune systems are often tried more than usual.
Why’s that? Not only do more people come down with immune-testing situations, but during colder weather, most people are often inside more and in closer proximity with others, leading to a greater opportunity to pass “stuff” around. Adding to the mix is the drier, colder air, often drying out nasal passages and respiratory areas, making them more hospitable and susceptible to what’s circulating.
What’s going around can spread quickly, too, since a single doorknob with germs can spread a virus throughout an entire building—including break rooms—in just hours. That’s fast! But it makes sense, since an average adult can touch as many as 30 objects in only one minute, including surfaces, doorknobs, phones, remotes, computers and more.
Even restaurant menus can harbor germs, some of which can survive for up to 18 hours on the menu and on hard surfaces. Other places germs can hide out are soap dispensers, grocery carts, bathroom doorknobs and faucets, doctors’ offices and . . . well . . . virtually everywhere.
Thank goodness for our immune systems! Of course, there are a lot of variables that affect how well the immune system functions, including dietary and lifestyle habits, such as sleep, stress and more, so we have to take care of ourselves overall.
However, one thing that’s super important for our immune system health is what we feed it, so here are some foods to consider. (Be sure to select organic, non-GMO whenever possible so that you don’t tax your immune system even more with prohibited pesticides, herbicides and other toxins that are found in conventionally grown items.)
Turmeric: Used thousands of years ago in Asia, turmeric is packed with antioxidants, supports a healthy response to inflammation, supports a healthy immune system and supports cellular health.† Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is mostly credited with these benefits.
Garlic: Garlic contains substances called allistatin, allicin, garlicin and ajoine, which help to deliver immune-supporting benefits.†
Astragalus: Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years, and is often used with other herbs to support a healthy immune system and respiratory health.† As an adaptogen, astragalus also functions to support a healthy response to stress.†
Echinacea: One of the most popular herbs in America today, echinacea has a history of use by Native Americans for over 400 hundred years for supporting general health.† Nowadays, echinacea is mostly used to support a healthy immune system.†
Grapes: A good source of vitamin C, grapes are full of anthocyanin antioxidants which give them their bluish-purplish coloration, but they’re also healthy immune supporters known for their support of healthy immune cells called gamma delta T cells.†
Pomegranates: Pomegranates—high in vitamin C—have been consumed for thousands of years and are rich sources of polyphenols, which are found in plants, providing their color and flavor. Pomegranates show promising healthy immune-supporting benefits and provide beneficial antioxidants, including flavonols.†
“Turkey Tail” Mushroom (Trametes versicolor): This common mycelium is often referred to as “the turkey tail” mushroom due to its variety of colors and its resemblance to the tail feathers of a wild turkey. Turkey tail mushroom helps support healthy immunity and cellular health.† It’s filled with healthy polysaccharides and possesses compounds to support a healthy viral response.†
Fermented Foods: Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and others are great ways to support immune health, since these foods contain healthy, friendly bacteria (probiotics) which help to create a healthy balance of gut bacteria.† Plus, the gut is where anywhere from 70 percent to 80 percent of your immune system is housed, so keeping it filled with good bacteria is wise—and fermented foods and other probiotic-rich foods are a good choice.
What a delicious way to feed your immune system this season!
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