There are many natural and herbal ways of boosting your immune system; herbs like mushrooms, garlic, oregano, thyme can help you fight off illness like colds and flu in the winter season. Read on to know of foods that can help strengthen your immune system in this cold weather.
Include mushrooms in your diet
Mushrooms are anti-inflammatory meaning they can stimulate an underactive immune system and calm an overactive immune system, you can use mushrooms like shiitake, reishi, chaga that contain immune strengthening compounds. The beta-D-glucan polysaccharide can work on and kill tumor cells by stimulating specialized white blood cells known as macrophages. Mushrooms can be simmered for hours and the stock can be added into soups and broths and meals.
Fight off colds and flu
There are many herbs that can prevent or slow down a bacterial or viral infection, elderberry is one such delicious herb that has been used for centuries to treat colds, flu and viral infections. It has high levels of flavonoids that promote an anti-inflammatory function in the body. Infected persons can use elderberry syrup that is safe to be consumed by children and elderly.
Echinacea and goldenseal are useful herbs in stimulating the immune system. When you’re coming down with a flu or common cold you can use Echinacea herb as a tincture. Goldenseal has antimicrobial functions; this is due to the compound berberine in it. You can also use andrographis; a herb native to India and Sri Lanka, this herb can be used to reduce the severity of the common cold.
Herbal steams are very effective in stimulating the immune system and clearing up the sinuses and any condition that effect your nose, throat and lungs. Boil water and herb, add drops of essential oil in it and take in the steam for 5-10 minutes. Other herbs you can use are thyme, eucalyptus, and lavender.
The general plan of action for the winter months should be to include fruits and vegetables, and whole grains into your diet that are rich in antioxidants. Get exercise regularly, stop your intake of processed foods, smoking and alcohol, and include herbs that are easy to access like ginger, onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper every day.
Always consume fresh, crushed garlic, garlic has allicin, a powerful compound that is antimicrobial and provides protection against colds and flus. Ginger tea is known to stimulate blood flow and thus fight off microbes. Ginger also helps in digestive infections; oregano and thyme are aromatic herbs that are antimicrobial in nature. You can use all these herbs as directed.
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