In a world where we are constantly being battered by toxins, viruses and bacteria, it has become more important than ever to maintain a healthy immune system. The good news is, there are a number of natural ways to accomplish this, just by altering our diets a bit.
Here are 10 herbs and foods that will help your complex network of participating cells and organs, which comprise your immune system, to work at maximum efficiency:
- Echinacea: This popular herb has long been identified as one that helps boost immunity. Combined with another herb, goldenseal, or enjoyed by itself, perhaps as a tea, this daisy family member has been found to be effective in preventing upper respiratory tract infections and the common cold.
- Ginseng: Coming in many varieties, the most commonly studied variety is Panax ginseng, also known as Korean ginseng. Its main component, ginsenosides, have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
- Garlic: This wonderful tasting spice has a long history of medicinal value. In a recent study it was reconfirmed that garlic has great cardiovascular, anti-microbial and antineoplastic properties.
- Bell peppers: This pepper variety does not contain capsaicin, like its more fiery cousins, but is sweet, crunchy, and contains carotenoid lycopene, which lowers cancer risk, as well as beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A, and other useful elements.
- Ginger: This herb can reduce inflammation, cardiovascular problems, blood clots and cholesterol, and has been found effective in helping to control blood sugar in diabetics. Also, it has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol.
- Turmeric: A spice that contains curcumin, turmeric has remarkable antioxidant properties, as well as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and stomach-calming abilities. It helps reduce inflammation by stimulating the adrenal glands to bolster the hormone that lessens inflammation. It also helps protect the liver from the adverse effects of alcohol.
- Ginko Biloba: This herb’s leaves contain antioxidant agents called bilobalides and ginkogolides, which protect the body from damage from free radicals. Also, it has even been found to protect against radiation. In a study using animal subjects, gingko demonstrated protection against radiation poisoning.
- Ganderma: This bitter mushroom is also known as reishi, and has long been a popular herb in Chinese medicine that has been attributed to longevity and good health. Additional studies found that it helps strength immunity and has anti-cancer qualities, while providing relief from urinary tract infections.
- Astragalus: Also from China, this herb boosts the immune system, aids in digestion, and increases adrenal gland function, as well as serving as a diuretic.
- Cat’s claw: Originating in Peru, this herb is most commonly used to treat stomach problems. But recently it has been found to be an excellent immune response stimulator and can help the body fend off infections and degenerative diseases.