Whilst I am loathe to admit it, it's getting to be that time of year again when circulating snuffles and coughs become the norm! Ever since I started studying nutrition my immune system has gone from strength to strength and I rarely get hit with whatever lurgy is doing the rounds. I put it down to getting plenty of sleep and rest, slowing down at the first sign of a tickle in the back of my throat, and including natural immune boosters into my diet daily.
Here I share with you 5 natural ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen that can help protect you and your family this Winter and check out my Fire Cider Recipe which includes all of these immune boosters and more!
For centuries onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections. They are filled with many valuable nutrients such as Selenium, which has been shown to initiate the immune response and prevents excessive immune response, and Quercetin which has anticancer properties. Onions are naturally high in sulfur and contain antibacterial benefits along with prebiotics. Prebiotics help feed already existing healthy bacteria in the colon.
Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herb. There are many medicinal benefits of ginger; it can be very powerful when struggling with stomach pain, bloating, gas, morning sickness, and a loss of appetite. Ginger is also a natural motility agent, meaning it helps move things along in the digestive tract. This helps us detoxify and eliminate on a regular basis, which is crucial in today’s toxic world where we're supposed to be eliminating 2.2 lbs of toxins every single day. Check out my Golden Milk recipe for a warming way to include ginger into your diet.
Garlic is an antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial herb – which makes it great for both colds and the flu. It’s commonly used in the treatment of Candida and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Garlic also has healing properties, which can strengthen the immune system and help fight off bacteria. The active component of garlic is the bulb, called allicin, which allows your immune system to shut down any circulating bacteria or viruses before it is too late. See my article on the health benefits of garlic for more info.
Horseradish is a member of the Brassicacae family, so a close relative to other plant superstars broccoli, cabbage and mustard greens. The active constituent is the root, which has antimicrobial efficacy against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Horseradish is packed with beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals such as vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zine and fibre. Horseradish can naturally lower elevated blood pressure by regulating the movement of fluid between cellular membranes.
Manuka honey is monofloral honey that is made by bees pollinating the manuka plant, which is native to New Zealand. Raw manuka honey has powerful antibacterial properties and has been shown to boost the immune system. It is important to purchase manuka honey only from New Zealand to be sure you're receiving all the wonderful medicinal benefits. I tend to avoid heating Manuka Honey, in fact heating honey in general goes against Ayurvedic advice, and instead have a small teaspoon straight from the jar when feeling a little run down!