Can what I eat make me stronger?
Our Nutrition expert, Melanie Waxman, shares the most important foods to strengthen and stimulate our immune system.
Everyday, our immune system is working hard to protect us but there are also simple things we can do to give it extra support especially when the seasons change.
The most important way to support your immune is to eat a nutritious, diverse and balanced, plant based diet.
Here are some unique and powerful immune boosting foods that can be included in your regular diet
Miso soup is packed with enzymes that promote good bacterial flora in the intestines, and gives great support to the immune system.
Garlic contains antibacterial substances that fight germs and toxins. Garlic enhances the activity of white blood and T cells.
Umeboshi plum is a salty sour plum that is very high in citric acid. Umeboshi can sharpen the appetite improve circulation and boost the immune system. It can reduce the chance of catching a cold or coming down with the flu.
Kuzu is a starch that comes from the kuzu root, and contains many powerful antioxidants that promote longevity, endurance, and the immune function. Kuzu also contains numerous isoflavone compounds that help fight inflammation, colds, and the flu. Kuzu can be added to soups, made into sauces or enjoyed as a healing tea.
Tekka is a rich, hearty, concentrated condiment. It made from finely chopped burdock, carrot, and lotus roots that are slowly cooked with sésame oil and hatcho miso. Fresh ginger is added towards the end of cooking for additional immune boosting properties. A wonderful condiment to sprinkle on grains or vegetables to strengthen the system..
Shiso is a herb that is also known as perilla. Shiso is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Shiso condiment is a powerful treatment for allergies, coughs and other cold symptoms. Simply sprinkle on grains or vegetables.
Seaweeds are highly nutritious and full of vitamins and minerals. They are alkaline forming and wonderful for the immune. Seaweeds are extremely versatile and can be used in many dishes, including sushi rolls, soups and stews, salads, supplements, stir fries, and smoothies. A little goes a long way and there are many, different varieties that will add a zip to your energy levels.
Leafy greens including kale, bok choy, watercress and spinach are a vital part of any healthy diet. They are extremely high in minerals, vitamins, and fiber which gives great support to the immune system. Make sure to have them lightly cooked – blanched, steamed, or sauteed.
Accent you meals with fresh herbs, ginger, turmeric, seeds and lemon to add diversity and nourish the immune.
Get creative in the kitchen and learn different styles of cooking to enhance the energy of the food and help to strengthen the immune – stews, blanching, steaming, pressure cooking or stir fry.
Other Important immune boosters
- Get a good night’s sleep. Your body can’t function correctly if you aren’t sleeping well.
- Get plenty of exercise. Eating nutritious food and staying active will help your body fight off infections.
- Spend time outdoors in all kinds of weather. This helps to keep your immune strong and makes it easier for your body to adapt to changing temperatures and different weather conditions.