Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

10 Foods for Robust Immunity

 

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Seasonal change and flu go hand in hand. With change of weather there will be increased incidences of sneezes, sniffles, cold and cough, more sick leaves and lost work days. However, you just don’t need to endure this year after year, because we’ve talked to holistic health experts on the best natural supplements to bolster your immunity.

By now, if you’ve been reading this space, you must be aware of the terms like viruses and bacteria. The easiest way to outsmart these nasty bugs is to bolster your immunity. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in this process. This involves eating right, sleeping well, and staying active along with managing stress. However, there are many natural herbs and supplements that can give your immunity the much needed boost and most of them are freely available in your kitchen.

Herbal road to immune strength

Make friends with herbs. There are many herbs in your home that can support your immune strength, like garlic, tulsi, ginger and have them as often as you can.

  1. Garlic has proven anti viral properties and having a chopped pod on an empty stomach can keep offending bugs at bay. If the thought sounds difficult to digest than you can try garlic capsules.
  2. Holy basil or tulsi is a restorative warming herb and is considered to be potent antioxidant. It has two flavonoids: Orientin and vicenin that control free radicals. Belonging to mint family, strong aroma and astringent taste come naturally to this herb. In traditional healing system of Ayurveda tulsi found its way through different concoctions—herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf or mixed with ghee. Having your tea infused with tulsi leaves is a simple way to boost your immunity.
  3. In Chinese medicine ginger is believed to cure colds. Peel a piece of ginger and chop it roughly. Boil it and allow it to steep in the boiled water for some time. Strain the beverage and sip on it before bed time. It brings down the fever. For ages, we have been sipping on adrak ki chai during seasonal change.
  4. Giloy also known as Guduchi increases the function of protective cells, known as macrophages and boosts the usefulness of defensive white blood cells (WBC), which makes it one of the most powerful immune boosters. Dr Dheeraj, practicing naturopath with Tulsi Holistic Clinic says, “Giloy given in conjunction with wheat grass to cancer patients brings miraculous results.” “When you combine giloy with basil it fights viral fever and gets rid of toxic ingredients from the liver,” says he.
  5. Echinacea was the most commonly used medicinal plants by Native Americans for keeping immune system in proper shape. It is used to relieve symptoms and hasten recovery from the common cold to influenza and infections of all types. It has often been recommended as what benefits the immune system because of this fact.
  6. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza) induces interferon which leads to significant antiviral activity. It also has antibacterial and antifungal activity.
    Siberain ginseng improves immunity and counters the effect of stress which can be directly related to decreased immunity in the body.
  7. Vitamin A improve basic resistance to infections, Vitamin A works directly on maintaining the integrity of mucus membranes. Drinking water spiked with lemon juice helps support body’s internal pH at an alkaline level which promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. Viruses and bacteria need slightly acidic environment to thrive. “When I was young my mother would give me vitamin C tablets a month before the change of season and I was able to sail through the change of weather minus any hiccups like cough, cold or flu,” recalls 30 year-old homemaker Sugandha Sharma.
  8. Zinc is the most important mineral to increase immunity in the body. It promotes proper function of the immune complex. Selenium affects all the components of the Immune system. Deficiency in selenium results in depression of immune function.
  9. Sleep on it. Nothing rejuvenates your body like sleep. Most of us caught in our city life are practically sleep deprived. Sleep deficit makes you vulnerable to infections and flu like conditions.
  10. Getting ample of vitamin C is one of the easiest ways to reinforce your immune system. Spike your drinking water with a dash of lemon juice and keep sipping on it through out the day.

With inputs from Dr Lavleen Riar, Gurgaon based Naturopath

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