The root source of any healthy immune system is, quite simple, food. But not just any food. Certain foods can actually weaken our immune system or work against it (such as refined sugars, processed foods, alcohol, and sodas – yikes!). So what should we be looking out for?
Here are a few picks of our favourite immunity-boosting foods that are completely vegan friendly!
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy, green vegetables are packed with immune-boosting vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K as well as folate (the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9). They are also known to be great sources of minerals, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium, which ensure life-long bone and muscle health.
What’s more, because leafy greens are so high in fiber, they assist and promote healthy digestion and metabolism and help to control blood sugar. If that’s not enough, they are also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants which help in the fight against cancer. Safe to say, leafy green veggies really are superfoods in every sense!
Kale, spinach, rucola, cabbage, lettuce, watercress… even beetroot leaves! The sky is the limit when it comes to leafy greens, and thankfully, most, if not all, can be found all year round!
For full health benefits, these mighty leaves are best taken raw… be it in a salad, a smoothie or a juice. If you prefer the cooked version, that’s fine too. Though, we would recommend steaming or stir-frying your greens in that case, so that you will be able to retain as much of their goodness as possible.
Pumpkin is a delicious, nutrient dense staple food, loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals! It is a particularly great source of vitamin C and is also known to have high levels of the antioxidant beta-carotene, a carotenoid that the body converts into vitamin A!
Vitamin A is, in turn, known for its strong immunity building properties and is a front-runner in the fight against infections, viruses, and diseases – not to mention that it is essential for healthy eye-sight!
Want to know the added bonus to all this? Pumpkin is delightfully low in calories. Win/win!
Antibiotic, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory… Enough said! One tiny clove of garlic is bursting with active compounds, such as allicin, that help our bodies to prevent and fight infections and inflammation by stimulating and activating white blood cells.
Allicin is most commonly present in freshly cut or crushed garlic. For optimum health, therefore, garlic is best consumed raw.
That said, the benefits of garlic extend beyond merely physical consumption. Did you know that garlic may also be applied topically to relieve, treat, and effectively cure skin problems, such as eczema and even hair loss!?
Simply crush a clove and rub the juice into the problematic skin area every day and patiently wait for the healing process to slowly but surely begin to unravel before your eyes.
Like garlic, ginger is an excellent source of dietary antioxidants that help to lower the risk of cancer and supports cardiovascular health.
What’s more, ginger is known to improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, and ease muscle pain. Through its active enzymes, it aids the body to break up and expel built-up gas and to increase movement through the digestive tract.
The result? Relief from nausea and constipation and a healthier digestive system!
Want to know the best part? Ginger has an amazing flavour! Besides its fantastic healing properties, it’s actually a great way to spice up any dish or juice or smoothie or tea! We would say its best taken fresh, but it may, of course, be used dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice too.
This flavor-filled spice is a relative of ginger and is renowned for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory powers. Turmeric contains a number of bioactive compounds known as curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is known for its potent antioxidants that promote and support your infection-fighting cells.
Moreover, with its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin has been recognised as an effective anticarcinogen, which means that it actively plays a part in reducing your risk of cancer and various chronic diseases.
Want to know an interesting fact? Adding pepper to any dish containing turmeric will actually help to increase its bioavailability.
Unfortunately, however, it is quite difficult to obtain the desired levels of turmeric that body really needs, solely through food, and therefore to be able to reap the full benefits of turmeric, we recommend taking a supplement containing large amounts of curcumin.
Incorporating these 5 immune boosters into your daily diet will positively activate your immune system, strengthen your body’s defences, and contribute to a healthier, happier you!