Continuing on the theme of all things immune, here are five quick foods you can add to your diet to help boost your immune system this month!
Easy to incorporate into winter warmer stews and casseroles, to help give you immune system a bit of a boost! This powerful little bulb packs some serious anti-microbial, anti-bacterial action! Garlic, and onions, are members of the Allium family, and contain the constituent Allicin. The constituent Allicin is known for its anti-microbial and immune enhancing activity. A 1991 study by Lau et al. demonstrated the enhanced macrophage and T-lymphocyte function of garlic, which works against virus pathogens both directly and indirectly.
Just like garlic, onion contains bug busting Allicin. Onion can be so versatile in helping us fight our colds and ‘flus.. Some swear by placing a half an onion in their room at night, if they’re feeling a little unwell before they go to bed. Likewise, others will rub an onion on the soles of their feet before putting on socks and going to bed to ward of the impending cold. During the colder months, I like to use it as ‘Food as Medicine’ and add it to cooking and infuse its anti-microbial goodness into a honey macerate.
We have all heard of the wonders of Manuka honey, but when I talk about honey, I will use anything lying around the house! Current evidence will suggest that Manuka honey from New Zealand, and Australian Jelly Bush honey have the greatest antimicrobial activity, So how does honey work to soothe a sore throat and help fight the bad bugs? Number one – its delicious, and can help give you some pep in your step.It’s a food as medicine that kids will happily, literally eat off a spoon.
Honey has a high sugar content, and a low water content; it’s this high osmolarity helps it to bind to existing water molecules, and create an environment that is lower in water,. Therefore decreases the likelihood of bacteria breeding. Some of my clients’ pop honey in their tea, but if I feel a sore throat tickle, I will lick the honey of a spoon and try and hold it on the back of my throat. I also recommend making a honey macerate and keeping on the go all winter!
The humble roasting herb! Thyme is delicious as a tea. I love making a brew of thyme with a bit of peppermint and just holding it under my nose. I then breathe in its fragrant steam. Thyme is used in cases with a bit of a cough. Thyme works as an anti-tussive, anti spasm and anti-microbial. One of the actions that makes thyme so great for ‘set-in’ coughs is its expectorant action. The saponins in thyme help to gently stimulate a cough to help drowning lungs get clearer faster.
Echinacea is often found in many cold and flu formulas available as tablets or liquids in chemists and health food stores.I will often consider Echinacea in herbal formulations for my immune support clients. However, I love Echinacea as a tea! Echinacea works in many ways to support our immune systems. Similar to Vitamin C, Echinacea acts on our phagocytes and T-cells, helping our body to recognise and destroy pathogens
So, there you have it! Five of my staple ‘Foods as Medicines’ to keep in the house until the days start getting longer and warmer!
- Jenna Verhoeven