Our Favorite Immune Boosting Ingredients
Eating good really does make you feel good. And feeling good – by reducing aches, cravings, sleeplessness, and stress – can help your immune system stay strong, no matter what’s coming at it. If you’re looking for healthy ingredients to sprinkle in throughout the day and keep you feelin’ good, these 4 are perfect to start with.
Let’s start with the one ingredient you probably haven’t had before. Turmeric grows as a root, similar to ginger or a tiny sweet potato, but is most commonly found in the U.S. as a powdered spice with an earthy flavor and distinct orange hue. It contains a polyphenol, curcumin, that’s responsible for most of its immune benefits.
According to Mary-Eve Brown, an oncology clinical dietitian/nutritionist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Curcumin has many biological activities, not all of which are understood,” Brown says. “Like other colorful plant-based foods, turmeric is rich in phytonutrients that may protect the body by neutralizing free radicals (pollution, sunlight) and shielding the cells from damage.”
Dr. Brown goes on to recommend having small amounts of turmeric regularly, because curcumin isn’t easy for your body to absorb. Add a small amount to tea, homemade curry, or even peanut butter, and it’ll quickly become a part of your routine. You can also check out our IG post from December 2022 for an immune-boosting elixir featuring turmeric (and all the other ingredients on this list.)
If you haven’t had ginger, you’re missing out. It can be found in everything from candy to Chinese food to tea to the famous Gingerbread man cookies. Its overpowering tart-spiciness can be tough to tame, but uniquely refreshing when you get it right.
While the scientific evidence of ginger’s health effects is still being sorted through, its use as a medicinal herb for over 3000 years speaks for itself. What we do know is that ginger is easily absorbed by the body, particularly the GI tract. This confirms ginger’s role as a stomach pain reliever, digestion aid, and antinausea treatment.
Studies have shown to reduce and suppress oxidative stress, a key factor in many diseases, including cancer and Parkinson’s. Ginger has also been shown to reduce inflammation, including everyday muscle aches and more severe conditions like arthritis.
Ginger just straight-up makes you feel good. And a little honey-ginger tea? There’s nothing better to help you chill out before bed.
Raw & Unfiltered Honey
Blood sugar regulation
We could go on and on and on about the health benefits of honey, but thankfully we don’t have to: Dr. Ron Fessenden, the Honey Doctor, already did. In his books, “The New Honey Revolution” and “Feed Your Brain First,” he describes all the ways honey can help you eat, sleep, and feel better. All while providing helpful stories, examples, and tasty recipes that show how easy it is to swap out sugar for honey.
According to Dr. Fessenden, the primary way honey helps our immune system is by preventing metabolic stress: the flood of hormones that the brain sends into the body whenever it’s “hungry” for nutrients. Over time, metabolic stress damages just about every part of the body, potentially leading to a range of ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s and insomnia, just to name a few.
Dr. Fessenden’s prescription? A few small spoonfuls of honey throughout the day, but particularly right before bed. Raw & unfiltered honey is more than delicious enough on its own, but if you’re looking for ways to add it to meals, we’ve got plenty right here on The Local Buzz Blog.
Good for Skin Health
Good source of Fiber
Reduce risk of kidney stones
The medical journal Frontiers in Immunology sums it up well:
“Citrus fruit juices contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals…important in immune function support…citrus fruit juice is a particularly good source of two of these, vitamin C and folate.”
The really great thing about citrus fruits are how easy they are to add to anything you might be having throughout the day; a squeeze of lemon is as good in tea as it is on sautéed asparagus. The acid in lime and orange juice can complement Asian dishes or cook shrimp ceviche.
Citrus fruits’ well-publicized Vitamin C content is their main benefit. Vitamin C is essential to have every day. Instead of depending on supplements (which may contain Vitamin C that isn’t bioavailable), try getting your citrus from whole fruits. Have half a grapefruit at breakfast. Tear into a clementine as a mid-morning snack. Squeeze that OJ yourself and taste the difference! The fiber in every citrus fruit will also help keep you full throughout the day.