Herbs and Spices that Strengthen the Immune System
Herbs and Spices that Strengthen Immune System Responses
Over the past several decades, there has been emerging interest in the study of the human immune system. Experts have discovered the many repercussions of a weakened immune system response. A body with a weak immune response has a more difficult time combating viral infections (e.g., coronavirus/COVID-19), pathogens, and other foreign substances.
Dietary and lifestyle habits affect immune health, altering both innate and adaptive functions. A daily diet of necessary nutrients is essential for building and supporting a healthier immune system. The immune system’s cells include many different types of white blood cells that are essential for defending the body against viruses and pathogens.
This article will examine the role of herbs, spices, and other foods and how they could play a key role in promoting immune system health.
Curcumin is the principal nutrient in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin demonstrated immune-modulator effects on many cells and organs. Immune-modulators are agents that help modify or regulate the immune system. Curcumin helps stabilize cell membranes, which could ultimately increase a cell’s resistance to infection. Curcumin may also help in the regulation of autoimmune disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, asthma, allergy, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and scleroderma.
Garlic (and onions) is high in a type of sulfur called allicin, which has natural anti-fungal properties and may increase anti-microbial activity in the body. The sulfur in allicin is released when the garlic cloves are crushed, chopped, or chewed. Eating garlic may provide a boost to the immune system.
Ginger contains essential compounds called gingerols in the root of rhizome that may help to reduce stiffness, muscle ache, and joint pain. It is also an antioxidant that may naturally boost the immune system and may prevent cold viruses or at least reduce their lifespan. Adding ginger to your daily diet may strengthen immunity while reducing soreness, swelling, and inflammation. Ginger may help reduce inflammatory processes, chronic pain, nausea, and slightly lower cholesterol levels.
This tea could enhance immunity functions, as it is full of flavonoids and other antioxidants. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which helps in the production of germ-fighting elements of T-cells.
Acacia fiber is the soluble fiber extracted from Acacia tree sap. This renowned fiber may improve gut health and boost immunity. Acacia is unaffected as it moves through the gastrointestinal tract until it reaches the colon, where it is fermented. This fermented fiber promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. A study has shown that using Acacia for a month causes the growth promotion of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.
Why is it important to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut? It’s important to increase the number of good bacteria in the gut because up to 75 percent of the immune system is located in the gut (gastrointestinal tract).
This African “Superfruit” is considered a hidden gem of Africa that may be very effective at boosting the immune system. This immunity-boosting effect is due to its ultra-high vitamin C. This vitamin enhances both the adaptive as well as innate immune system response by stimulating various cellular processes.
It also is an antioxidant that may reduce harmful reactive radicals. By promoting epithelial growth, vitamin C provides an epithelial barrier that fights to keep pathogens out of the body.
Vitamin C, in neutrophils, increases microbial killing and phagocytosis, whereas, in lymphocytes, the contribution of vitamin C is to promote differentiation of B and T-lymphocytes. Vitamin C may also reduce the longevity of common colds and other common viral infections.
Beta-Glucans are a type of sugar located in the cell walls, like oats and barley. They are also in lichens, yeasts, and fungi (like mushrooms). Beta-Glucans are immune-modulating substances that possess many health benefits.
In research studies, beta-glucans demonstrated their ability to stimulate both the macrophages and the lymphocytes. Macrophages are those cells that cause phagocytosis, as well as play a vital role in the communication of various types of immune cells. Lymphocytes stimulated by the beta-glucans are capable of killing harmful substances. In addition to the direct effect of beta-glucan on the immune cells, they possess antioxidants that may help the body get rid of harmful reactive radicals, and therefore reduce oxidative stress. Beta-glucans may allow the body to deal with infections more efficiently.
Mediterranean Olive Leaf Extract:
Olive Leaf Extracts (OLEs) may strengthen the immune functions in humans by boosting phagocytosis and production of Interferon-γ, which in turn increases killer T cell and natural killer cells. In addition to the better immune function, Olive Leaf Extract may also contribute to the anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity.
Antioxidants are also abundant in the Olive Leaf Extracts. Antioxidants scavenge for free radicals and may defend against harmful mutations and damage to the cells. Olive Leaf Extract has been noted for its many other potential health benefits.
Improving the health of the immune system is of vital importance. One must strive to provide their body with nutrient-dense foods on a consistent basis. Using herbs and spices and fungi-like mushrooms could provide additional support that the immune system needs.
Before using any supplement, always consult a doctor or medical professional first.