Immunity Part 3:
Foods and Vitamins that Boost Immunity
By Dr. Anna Gold
Eating a variety of whole foods contributes to a person's overall health. But, did you know that you can eat can specific foods to bolster your defenses against viruses and bacteria?
Here is a list of foods that you may already have in your kitchen which can help protect against viral and bacterial infections. If you're feeling under the weather or more fatigued than usual, incorporate more of these foods to help with recuperation.
Alliums: Alliums are a family of plants that include garlic, onions, leeks, green onions, chives and shallots. They contains a protein lectin that have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. In addition, they contain a specific substance called quercetin, which may help lower histamine production.
Ginger: Ginger has many powerful compounds, including gingerols, shogaol, and paradols." These compounds promote anti oxidation which enhances immunity and can block viruses from attaching to cells. Ginger in Chinese medicine helps relieve pathogens and regulate the digestion.
Green Tea: Compounds in green tea stimulate T- cells. T-cells are part of an immune response that kill off viruses and bacteria in the body. In studies, it has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and neurological degeneration. Catechins in tea are also antimicrobial, antioxidative, and reduces risk to infectious diseases.
Tumeric: Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric,has antibody and anti-inflammatory properties. It not only helps with aches and pain, but also enhances anti-body responses when the immune system is fighting off viruses.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms have medicinal properties that regulate the immune system, combat inflammation and fight cancer. Specifically, the mushrooms available in your local market which you can incorporate into your cooking include maitake and shiitake. Maitake has been shown to have an effect on the immune system for those dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome. Maitake mushrooms increases white blood cell activity, macrophage, natural killer cells, and T-cells. Shiitake mushrooms improves cardiovascular health, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Other mushrooms, like Lion's Mane, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Cordyceps have immune enhancing properties, but are difficult to find in the supermarket. They are available in tea form.
In the final segment, Part 4, of my Immunity blog series, I will discuss a Chinese medicinal formula, Jade Windscreen, that has been used in TCM for thousands of years as protection against viral illnesses.