Our immune systems are integral to our overall well-being. Whether we are looking to improve our mental, physical, and/or energetic health, the immune system plays a key role. And having to grapple with Covid-19 has only made us more aware of the importance of building stronger immune systems and focusing on improving our overall health.
As a psychotherapist, whole-body health is important for myself and my clients. The body and mind are not separate yet are interconnected, and when one system in our bodies or mind is off, it leads to dysfunction in other systems over time. With mental health and wellness being a real concern for most of us, as the world is traumatized, it is imperative we look at supporting each other in better overall health and the immune system is interrelated to our bodies and our minds. If you are struggling with chronic illness and/or mental health concerns, or just needs some support in improving your health, we are here to help with coping skills groups that lead to real changes and compassionate and supportive therapeutic services.
Most of us already know you should take more vitamin C, but here are some other foods that we can include in our diet to give our immune system a powerful boost:
If you have a sweet tooth like me, you will find joy in learning that honey is a superfood that has antibiotic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that boost our immune systems. These healing properties are present in several types of honey, like manuka, clover, acacia, wildflower, avocado, buckwheat, dandelion, orange blossom, and more.
Another benefit may be that local honey from near where you live is also widely believed to help lower pesky allergy responses.
To build immunity, use honey as your sweetener instead of regular sugars that don’t provide much, if any, nutritional benefits. And better yet, add it to medicinal and herbal teas, such as chamomile, mint, nettle leaf, lemon balm, ginger, and more. This Healthline article highlights 10 surprising benefits to honey, besides it being so yummy. I also believe eating honey may add more joy to our lives, check out our article on finding more joy.
Turmeric & Ginger.
Turmeric has gotten a lot of press in recent years, and for good reason. It contains a magic compound called curcumin. It is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and is ultra-rich in antioxidants. Turmeric is also both antibacterial and antiviral, making it a superfood. Adding this rich and flavorful spice to your curries, soups, and rice dishes is a natural way to help bolster your immune system. It is believed to fight against disease, cancer, infection, and other diseases. Learn more about Turmeric’s proven superpowers by reading this Healthline article.
Ginger, similar to Turmeric, is commonly used in the treatment of flu and colds and has anti-viral properties. Consuming both these powerhouse foods may ward off so many common ailments and illnesses. Preventive medicine is good medicine. Ginger is also known and has been uses for centuries to aid in nausea, joint pain, and upset stomach. It is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Ginger has been recognized as a natural antibiotic as well. My favorite is ginger pieces with my sushi and of course ginger tea with honey and lemon. I have more recently been adding it to my juicing for a powerful kick that is especially good with orange juice. Try the shots found in most grocery stores if you prefer that and add them to soups, curries, rice dishes, smoothies, and more.
Along with their vibrant color, I like putting this beauty out as décor also, they pack a mean punch for your immune and overall health. They pack enormous flavor, adaptability, and amounts of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells that fight off infections.
It also is thought to prevents the common cold and other illnesses when you have been exposed. And if you do get a cold, or common illness, the vitamin C in citrus fruit can also help lower the duration and severity of a cold. So, add lemon to your water and enjoy cooking with and eating an abundance of oranges, lemons, and limes.
Can you say tacos with guacamole, cilantro, and extra lime or an orange creamsicle smoothie?
Mushrooms have been known as medicinal for thousands of years and maybe longer. There are many species of mushrooms, and most provide an abundance of protein, fiber, and B & C vitamins, as well as minerals.
Reishi mushrooms have been found to have a positive effect and may increase, white blood cells, which our immune system’s way of fighting off infection. They are believed to have excellent preventative properties, warding off disease as well as medical properties for those who are already ill.
Mushrooms protect cells and have anti-aging properties that we can all benefit from. Properties in Reishi and other mushrooms are shown to modulate our immune systems reducing inflammation and free radicals and staving off illness and healing oxidative stress responses.
Dealing with chronic illness and/or working on preventing it, a superfood to look into is spirulina. The blue-green algae is a powerhouse bursting with nutrients and antioxidants, including protein, B vitamins, copper, iron, omega fatty acids, and other necessary minerals. Some believe it is the most nutritious food on the planet. Studies show that spirulina has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties and increases the production of antibodies that fights off infections and greatly improves immunity.
Spirulina heals and protects from oxidative damage with the component Phycocyanin. It may have anti-cancer properties too. I use it most often in my smoothie recipes.
Cinnamon is one of the most versatile, delicious, and possibly healthiest spices on the planet. One study compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices and guess what, yes you guessed it, cinnamon was the winner.
I am happy to hear this news, as I add cinnamon to my beloved coffee, making it into a latte with my wiped oat milk.
Cinnamon has such a wonderful and distinct smell and flavor which stems from the compound cinnamaldehyde. I like to get fair trade cinnamon and have become quite a cinnamon snob when I tasted the difference of really good cinnamon.
I recommend Frontier Coop Cinnamon, I purchase it from Whole Foods. You cannot go wrong with their Ceylon-, Korinise-, or Vietnamese-Cinnamons.
Cinnamaldehyde is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on our health, metabolism, and overall well-being. It is loaded with antioxidants, which we know boost our immune system’s ability to protects us from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. It naturally fights infections and repairs tissue damage with its anti-inflammatory. It is also thought to have an anti-diabetic effect.
Other favorites of mine include granola with cinnamon or baked apples with maple syrup, walnuts, and cinnamon.
Please always consult with your doctor for your own specific health and diet needs, especially if you are dealing with any illness or disorder, and always choose what makes you feel best.