In the post-COVID scenario, looking for tips on how to increase your immunity naturally has gained traction. Be it from a disease as common as the cold or flu to something serious like the COVID-19 virus, your body’s immunity is your best natural defence. The immune system is responsible for protecting you against harmful pathogens and disease-causing organisms. A weakened immune system can lead to frequent illnesses, allergies, fatigue and digestive issues. The immune system is a complex system that is still being researched for its intricacies, but balance and harmony within your body plays a vital role to strengthen it.
Lifestyle, diet and exercise have all been linked to building a strong immune system. The nutrients you get from plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices play a vital role in supporting immune health. The sattvic diet, rooted in the principles of Ayurveda, which encourages clean eating and a diet full of nutritious greens and dairy, can thus play an important role in keeping your body’s protective barriers intact. Thus natural home remedies in the form of ingredients easily available in your kitchen or in your local grocery store, backed both by science and Ayurveda, can act as immunity boosters.
1. Get natural Vitamin C from lemons, oranges, amla (Indian gooseberry) and leafy greens
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s immune health by protecting your bones, skin and blood vessels, contributing to the production of white blood cells, and by acting as an antioxidant. While Vitamin C is easily available as supplements, natural sources of Vitamin C are commonly found in India and can be used to boost your immune system. Consuming fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, amla, papayas, strawberries and tomatoes, leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli and other vegetables like red bell peppers will help your body fight against infection and disease. Eat them by themselves as healthy snacks, or add them to smoothies and salads.
2. Add turmeric in combination with pepper to your diet
Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This is due to the presence of an active compound known as curcumin in it. But curcumin has a low bio availability, which means that it is poorly absorbed by your body’s digestive system. Adding pepper, which contains the substance pepperine, to foods containing turmeric greatly increases its bio availability. Pepper is also high in antioxidants and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, which helps preserve gut health. In combination, turmeric and pepper can give your immunity that boost you are looking for. Add turmeric and black pepper to your rasams and curries. You can also boil a teaspoon of turmeric with juice from one lime, half inch of peeled ginger, 2 cloves and some pepper in 1 litre of water to form a traditional Ayurvedic health drink.
3. Spice your food with herbs like oregano and thyme and spices like cinnamon and cumin
According to a review published in 2017 in International Journal of Molecular Sciences, spices and herbs like clove, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, basil and thyme all have antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Adding these to your daily recipes and foods can thus be an answer to how to boost your immunity.
4. Eat honey for its health benefits
Raw honey has been used for centuries for its health benefits. Research shows that raw honey has a variety of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, and also have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is why honey is believed to have immune-boosting properties. Add honey to your daily cup of tea, drizzle it over your toast or bowl of cereal, or have a spoonful of raw honey sprinkled with spices like cinnamon and pepper to strengthen your immune system.
5. Include ginger and garlic in your daily recipes
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, and research shows it can help in dealing with chronic pain and lower blood cholesterol levels. Garlic, although not included in the sattvic diet, has also shown promise in fighting infections and boosting immunity. Add ginger to your tea or smoothies. Toss garlic in your salads and vegetable stir fries.