In the not-so-distant past, antibiotics and antibacterial wipes, lotions and hand sanitizers had not been invented, so one had to rely on your immune system and foods to fight off any type of virus or bacterial infection.
Too many of us take these important medicines for granted. My maternal grandfather nearly died from a simple cut on his hand. It became infected and soon involved his entire arm. The doctor tried his best, but was unable to stop the infection. The doctor finally asked my grandmother if she was willing to try an “experimental” — yes, he really called it that — drug called penicillin. Thankfully, my grandfather wasn’t allergic, and he was up and around in a few days.
What would we do, though, if we suddenly went back in time 100 years and were unable to find antibiotics, anti-virals, or other types of germ-fighting medicine? You got it! We would be back to relying on our immune system.
Let’s take a look at six of the top immune-building foods and herbs.
Top 3 Food Sources
We want to provide the immune system with all of the vitamins, minerals and essentials that it needs to do its job properly.
1. Foods rich in iron
Too little iron can weaken the immune system. So eat foods that are rich in iron, such as meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, fish and dried fruits.
2. Foods rich in Vitamin C
Especially when combined with iron-rich foods which help the body absorb iron, vitamin C is a well-known immune system supporter! Think beyond the typical oranges and grapefruits; bell peppers have more vitamin C than an orange! You also can consume dark leafy greens, broccoli, berries, snap peas, and papaya alongside that morning glass of juice.
While you won’t win the most kissable prize, garlic has been used for centuries to fight off upper respiratory infections. Garlic improves the body’s immune system by allowing it to fight off those annoying viruses. Fresh garlic works better than supplements, so add garlic to everything and feel the burn!
Top 3 Herbs
By now almost everyone has heard of Echinacea and goldenrod, but what if you needed other choices? Check out these three little-known herbs that have been used for centuries to help support the immune system function.
Try growing and storing ginger at home so that you always have access to this super anti-nausea and immune-supporting root. Ginger can help the body defend itself against opportunistic infection. Ginger is also super anti-inflammatory, which means faster healing when you do get sick.
2. Cat’s claw
This is the herb with the funny name, but there is no denying that cat’s claw has huge effects on the immune system. The root and bark are the parts most often used in tea form. They contain compounds that trigger the immune system and help to improve the ability of white blood cells to fight off pathogens. This herb is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, similar to ginger.
This herb has been used in Chinese medicine for untold centuries. Astragalus helps the immune system by increasing the immune cells in the bone marrow and lymph tissues. The root of Astragalus is commonly cooked in soups or stews to help soften it. You also can take this as a capsule.
What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below: