Winter is here and with it comes the increased pressure of needing to ward off harmful pathogens so you can keep your body as healthy as possible. To do this, you need to take steps to bolster your body’s natural defenses, and what better place to start than with your diet?
After all, the foods you consume directly impact the way your immune system functions and certain foods like ginger, mushrooms, and turmeric rise above other options when it comes to immune support. Let’s delve into the details about all of this and explore some simple immune-boosting recipes you can try to help make your wellness a priority this winter.
Understanding the Role of Diet in Immunity
Our immune system plays a crucial role in protecting our body from harmful pathogens, viruses, and bacteria. It acts as a defense mechanism, fighting off foreign invaders so we can stay healthy and strong. There are a variety of different factors that affect the way this important system operates, but did you know that one of the biggest factors is your diet? What we eat directly impacts the health of our immune system, making it essential that you prioritize nutrition, especially during the winter months.
How Nutrients Impact the Immune System
Just like every other system in your body, your immune system relies on the nutrients derived from your diet to function optimally. When it comes to boosting our immune system, some nutrients play a more vital role than others. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these nutrients and how they impact our immune system:
- Vitamin C: This powerful vitamin has antioxidant properties that help enhance the production of white blood cells, which are key players in fighting off harmful pathogens.
- Vitamin D: Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D supports immune cell activity and helps regulate the body’s natural immune response.
- Zinc: This mineral is great for supporting the immune system because it is essential for both the development and function of various immune cells.
- Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria help maintain a healthy and balanced gut microbiome, which, believe it or not, is crucial for a strong immune system.
- Fiber: Fiber is another dietary compound that promotes gut health, which in turn supports your body’s natural defenses.
- Antioxidants: These powerful compounds help protect the immune system by neutralizing harmful free radicals that may otherwise cause damage to your immune cells.
The best food for boosting immunity is a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Some specific immune-boosting foods include citrus fruits, berries, garlic, ginger, turmeric, spinach, yogurt, and almonds.
What foods strengthen our immune system?
The best way to boost your immunity is to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats, which will provide your body with immune-supporting nutrients. Some popular immune-boosting foods include ginger, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, medicinal mushrooms, and blue-green algae.
The Healing Powers of Ginger
Ginger is a powerful root with numerous health benefits, including immune-boosting properties. It contains gingerol, a bioactive compound with strong antioxidant properties, which are important for supporting immune health. Additionally, ginger also has antimicrobial properties that can help thwart harmful bacteria and fungi.
The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
While the verdict is still out on whether or not apple cider vinegar can directly impact the way your immune system functions, it does offer a few benefits that can indirectly support your immune system. For example, as a fermented food, raw apple cider vinegar contains probiotics that can support immune function by boosting gut health. Additionally, apple cider vinegar also contains compounds known as polyphenols, which have powerful antioxidant properties that can help protect your immune cells from damage.
The Magic of Turmeric
Turmeric, a vibrant yellow spice most well-known for its use in curry, has been used in medicinal practices in India for thousands of years. In recent years, scientists have discovered that turmeric does indeed contain compounds that grant several health benefits. Of particular note is a compound known as curcumin, which is now known to help modify certain aspects of your immune system and enhance the responses of antibodies within your body.
The Potency of Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is widely popular for its ability to boost immunity. Not only does vitamin C have antioxidant powers that help to protect your immune cells from damage, but it also is an important nutrient for the function of your innate and adaptive immune systems.
The Immune Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms, including reishi, shiitake, and maitake, have long been recognized for their immune benefits. They contain immune-enhancing compounds, such as beta-glucans, which help to promote the proper functioning of white blood cells. Additionally, the beta-glucan found in medicinal mushrooms is also known to have a prebiotic effect, which allows it to support the immune system indirectly by boosting the health of the gut microbiome.
4 Immune-Boosting Recipes to Try at Home
For those looking for ways to boost their immune system at home, here are four delicious and nutritious immune-boosting recipes that you can make yourself.
1. Citrus Ginger Shot
Ginger shots have been growing in popularity in recent years, especially in the winter months, and for good reason. They are easy to make and pack a punch when it comes to supporting your immune system. Give your body the support it needs with this citrus shot recipe inspired by the Simple Vegan Blog.
- 1 apple
- 2 lemons
- 1 piece of fresh ginger root
- 1 piece of turmeric root
- 4 emptied capsules of Defend
To prepare your Citrus Ginger Shot follow these steps:
- Wash the apple, lemon, ginger root, and turmeric root.
- Peel and chop all produce and run them through a juicer.
- Pour the juice into a glass, mix in emptied Defend capsules, and enjoy!
2. Apple Cider Vinegar Immunity Elixir
Combining the many benefits of apple cider vinegar with the immune-boosting properties of turmeric, this Apple Cider Vinegar Immunity Elixir from The Harvest Kitchen is a great option for supporting your immune system this winter.
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 teaspoons raw honey
- A pinch of black pepper
- 4 emptied capsules of Defend
- Cinnamon sticks (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a mason jar and tightly seal the lid.
- Shake and enjoy!
3. Turmeric Honey Booster
These turmeric honey boosters, which are inspired by the turmeric honey shared by Adriana at Willamette Transplant, are simple to make and packed with vital immune-boosting nutrients. All you have to do is add a bit of this special honey to a glass of water and you have a simple and delicious immune-boosting drink that you can enjoy.
- ¼ cup raw honey
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- A pinch of black pepper (optional)
- 4 emptied capsules of Defend
To prepare your Tumeric Honey Booster, follow these steps:
- Combine turmeric, honey, pepper, and emptied Defend capsules.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for daily use.
- To make a shot, combine 1 tablespoon of the honey mixture with 2 tablespoons of water or lemon juice. Alternatively, add 1 tablespoon to yogurt, oatmeal, or a smoothie!
- Helpful Tip: You can use fresh turmeric instead of turmeric powder. Just peel and grate it before adding it to the honey.
4. The Ultimate Citrus Blast Smoothie
Inspired by a similar recipe by Joy Food Sunshine, the Ultimate Citrus Blast Smoothie combines the immune benefits of citrus fruits with other healthful ingredients to give your body the support it needs to stay as healthy as possible.
- 1 ½ cups almond milk
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 tablespoons nut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ large grapefruit (peeled)
- 1 medium navel orange (peeled)
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- Vanilla extract to taste
- 4 emptied capsules of Defend
To prepare the Ultimate Citrus Blast Smoothie, follow these steps:
- Place all ingredients into your blender or food processor in the order listed.
- Blend for 90 seconds, starting with a low speed and gradually increasing to a high speed until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
- Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy!
Making Immune-Boosting Recipes a Part of Your Routine
To maximize the benefits of immune-boosting recipes, it’s important to schedule them strategically throughout the day. Here are some tips for scheduling your recipes:
- Use Them to Kickstart Your Day. Enjoying an immune-boosting elixir or smoothie is a great way to start your day as it will help provide your body with an array of essential nutrients and help set a healthy tone for the rest of the day.
- Use Them For an Afternoon Energy Boost. In addition to supporting your body’s natural defenses, apple cider vinegar can also serve as a natural energy booster. Because of this, consider sipping on drinks like the Apple Cider Immunity Elixir in the afternoon to help give you a boost of energy to get through the rest of the day.
- Stay Consistent. To reap the most benefits from these recipes, it’s important to be consistent about consuming them. Find a recipe or two that you like and work it into a specific part of your daily routine so you can make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck for your immune system.
- Make Adjustments. One of the great things about these recipes is that they can easily be adapted to suit your personal preferences or dietary needs. Don’t hesitate to make changes that will adjust the sweetness, help them fit into your dietary restrictions, or change their flavor.
Defend Your Immune System with New Earth
As you prioritize your health and well-being this winter by incorporating one or two of these immune-supporting recipes into your daily routine, consider taking them a step further by adding a product like Defend from New Earth.
Designed specifically with your immune system in mind, Defend’s powerful wholefood ingredients that are known to support your body’s natural defenses. With six different medicinal mushrooms, beta-glucan, and organic Wild Microalgae®, Defend is a simple, natural, and effective way to give your immune system the support it needs during the winter months and beyond.
The best part is you can put it to the test risk-free with our 90-day money-back guarantee!
At New Earth we are on a mission to positively impact the health of every body and soul we come in contact with. We specialize in producing third-party certified, organic whole food supplements including a variety of probiotics, and digestive support. Our supplements feature a rare, yet highly nutritious superfood, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Also known as organic Wild Microalgae®, AFA is a unique type of microalgae that is available in many forms including tablets, capsules, and powders all designed to help you on your journey to holistic wellness. The best part? We offer a 90-day money-back risk-free guarantee on all of our products. Visit our website to learn more.