How to Improve Your Immune System: 5 Spices That May Boost Your Immune System & Overall Wellness by Belinda Lichty Clarke
Public Goods is a subscription-based online company (very affordable!) that is setting a new standard for sustainable household and beauty items, tree-free paper products and healthy food offerings. Lucy Xiong, a regular contributor to the Public Goods blog, recently did a story about the importance of spices and how they can help boost your immune system. Here are some highlights:
Photo: Public Goods
- Turmeric: You’ve likely seen turmeric showing up on the labels of today’s trendiest foods – for good reason. This powerful and flavorful ancient spice gets its vibrant color from curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound with properties rivaling that of ibuprofen, without the side effects. The active ingredient, curcumin, boosts the body’s antioxidant capacity by being highly effective against free radicals. Turmeric has also been shown to inhibit fungal growth and suppress tumor cell growth.
- Ginger: A ubiquitous ingredient in kitchens around the world, ginger is filled with nutritional properties that greatly benefit your health. Originating from China, ginger contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes that target cold viruses. This immune-boosting spice also has antibacterial properties that can help prevent nausea. The spice’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties help control the process of aging and aid digestion. Ginger also contains antimicrobial compounds that allow it to help in treating infectious diseases. Make your own ginger tea by combining fresh ginger root, lemon juice and honey with 12 ounces of boiling water.
- Cayenne Pepper: The distinguishing ingredient in some of your favorite spicy dishes, cayenne pepper is a member of the capsium family, also known as the chili peppers family. In addition to its potent immune-boosting nutritional composition, the spice is also an excellent source of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Whatever you decide to use it for, cayenne pepper can be a staple for boosting your health and immunity.
- Garlic: Boost your immune system while enjoying your favorite pesto. Major civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Greeks, Babylonians and Chinese, have been using garlic for medicinal purposes since ancient times. A 12-week study found that, compared to a placebo, garlic reduced the number of participants with the common cold by 63 percent. Garlic supplements have also been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes in humans, in addition to notably reducing oxidative stress in individuals with high blood pressure.
- Cinnamon: Made from the inner bark of the cinnamomum tree, its use has been dated as far back as ancient Egypt. Cinnamon fights inflammation and helps ward off infections and heal damaged tissue. Containing large amounts of polyphenol, cinnamon outranked “superfoods” like garlic and oregano in a study comparing the antioxidant activity of 26 spices. Some studies have shown that cinnamon may have anti-diabetic effects and help cut the risk of heart disease.
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