Skip to main content

POV: Polishing off a warm pumpkin pie and sipping on some freshly brewed green tea on a Spring-ish afternoon

Cold and flu season has always been a time to support your immune health. Pandemic or not, these six immune-boosting foods are here for good and could not be more important. 

1. Ginger

Ginger provides a distinctive spice as well as potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. This root helps the body clear away harmful toxins and treat illnesses caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites. 

Try seasoning your food or drinks with essential oil derived from ginger.

2. Bone Broth

There’s a reason why we’ve treated colds with homemade chicken soup for so many years.

Bone broth, made from boiling bones and other discarded animal tissues over a long period of time, is teeming with anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting nutrients like collagen. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium and manganese along with several essential amino acids nourish your body and replenish your energy levels.

3. Red Bell Peppers

It’s well known that vitamin C helps your immune system ward off illness. But did you know that bell peppers—specifically, red bell peppers—are among the world’s most vitamin C-rich foods? 

In fact, one medium-sized pepper provides 169% of your daily RDI. Add these versatile veggies to all your meals to dial up their taste and health quotient!

4. Green Tea

Green tea can perk you up and also deliver a generous dose of antioxidants, antifungal and antiviral properties, and immunomodulatory agents. That means it can drive your immune system to be more powerful. Think of green tea as a natural steroid for your disease-fighting faculties. 

5. Pumpkin

Whether it’s the time of year for pumpkin-flavoured everything or not, it’s good news for your immune system. Because this vibrant orange veggie is rich in beta-carotene, it reduces disease-causing inflammation and fights the oxidative stress that takes a toll on your immune system.

Add real pumpkin to your baking, soups, or smoothies and reap the benefits.

6. Parsley

Often misused as a garnish that is simply discarded, parsley is actually a powerfully medicinal food. Because it is rich in the antioxidant apigenin, parsley can help regulate immune function, reducing inflammation and warding off cellular damage. 

All the foods listed here are easily available and also versatile to cook with. Use them in your drinks, entrees, main course dishes, soups, salads and desserts too. Not only will they prep your immune system for a rough day, but also add colour, taste and textures to your ‘same-old’ menu!

Oh and that pumpkin pie-green tea combo was a game-changer!

References

  1. Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence Int J Prev Med. 2013 Apr; 4(Suppl 1): S36–S42.
  2. Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis Medicina (Kaunas). 2021 Nov; 57(11): 1138.
  3. Vitamin C and Immune Function Nutrients. 2017 Nov; 9(11): 1211.
  4. Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity in Different Grafted Varieties of Bell Pepper Antioxidants (Basel). 2015 Jun; 4(2): 427–446.
  5. Sweet Red Bell Peppers MyFoodData 
  6. The immunomodulatory effect of green tea (Camellia sinensis) leaves extract on immunocompromised Wistar rats infected by Candida albicans Vet World. 2018 Jun; 11(6): 765–770.
  7. The effects of methanolic, chloroform, and ethylacetate extracts of the Cucurbita pepo L. on the delay type hypersensitivity and antibody production Res Pharm Sci. 2012 Oct-Dec; 7(4): 217–224.
  8. The Profile of Carotenoids and Other Bioactive Molecules in Various Pumpkin Fruits (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) Cultivars Molecules. 2019 Sep; 24(18): 3212.
  9. The significant impact of apigenin on different aspects of autoimmune disease Inflammopharmacology. 2018 Dec;26(6):1359-1373.