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6 Nutrients to Super Charge Your Immunity

Posted by | Health | No Comments
  • 3
  • April 16, 2020
Lauren Jacobsen Smoothie
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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2020)

If you’re not eating healthy, there’s no time like the present lockdown then to start.  A good diet is the first line of defence when it comes to your immunity.  Your diet provides you with all the nutrients you need to super charge your immune system.  In addition to eating better, you also need to be sure you’re exercising regularly, this will ensure your metabolism is functioning properly.  Being healthy and active is critical to having a healthy functioning immune system that can handle any added stress from a cold or flu caused by a virus.  If you’re looking for some ingredients to include in your diet to help boost your immunity, be sure to add these 6 ingredients!  I’ve also included a few smoothie recipes to easily get these ingredients into your body.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright orange, yellow, coloured root, which contains the active component curcumin.  This root has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Curcumin works by blocking a key compound involved in the inflammatory response, which means it can not only help protect the immune system, but also help stimulate the recovery process.  Curcumin’s antioxidant properties help it neutralize free radicals and boost the activity of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

One thing to note, however is that curcumin is not absorbed well, but combining it with black pepper can help increase the absorption.  Black pepper contains the active ingredient piperine.  One study showed that combining 20 mg of piperine with 2 grams of curcumin increased bioavailability by 2000 percent.

What to Eat:  You can eat fresh turmeric root – similar to how you would consume ginger root.  You can also purchase the pure powder.  Add the powder or root to curries, soups, and yoghurt, juice blends and even in your post-workout smoothie.

Daily Dose:  Studies typically use 500 mg to 2000 mg of an extracted turmeric powder with a high concentration of curcumin.   Turmeric provides about 3% curcumin, while an extract might provide up to 95%.  If you purchase a supplement, make sure it also contains piperine to help with absorption. Consider adding turmeric root to your dishes, and using a daily supplement.

Ginger

Ginger is another ingredient that most people turn to when they’re feeling sick.  This root related to turmeric, is an effective antioxidant that can help decrease inflammation and as well as reduce the feeling nausea.

Ginger root has also been shown to be effective against muscle pain, which means it can be used for its post-workout benefits, but can also be helpful to reduce muscle aches or pains that are associated with getting a cold or flu.  It seems to be most effective against pain when taken consistently.

The active ingredient in fresh ginger – gingerol also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral action in the body, helping decrease risk of infections.

What to Eat:  Fresh root is great, but dried powder is also good too.  Use grated or chopped ginger in stir-frys, soups, teas, smoothies and juice blends.   You can also add to vegetables when baking and use in meat or poultry marinating.

Daily Dose:  About ½ to 1 inch of fresh ginger root is plenty, can have some positive benefits, but there’s no reason why you can’t have more.  Consider how much you like the flavor of this spicy root! Powdered extract of ginger will provide a concentrated dose of gingerol, which will have greater benefits then just consuming fresh ginger.

Citrus

Citrus fruit is a great source of vitamin C; which is an essential vitamin and must be obtained from food, as the body doesn’t produce it.  The recommended daily intake is 75 mg per day, that’s about equivalent to the amount of vitamin C in 1 grapefruit or 1 med to large orange.  Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant that can protect the body from free radical damage brought on by oxidative stress.  Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C can help boost the body’s antioxidant capacity.

Vitamin C is also a nutrient needed in the production of white blood cells – a critical component of the immune system, which helps protect the body against infection.  Vitamin C’s antioxidant action can help protect the blood cells from damage.  It’s also suggested that those who are suffering with pneumonia may have lower vitamin C levels, and could recover faster with supplementation.

What to Eat:  Oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemons, clementines and tangerines are all great, and if you’re not a fan of citrus you can also find vitamin C in capsicum, broccoli, kale and kiwi fruit! Put citrus segments on salad, add a squeeze  or slice of lemon or lime to water or tea, or use lemon, lime or orange juice to make a salad dressing.  Make a juice or smoothie blend.

Daily Dose:  Women need 75 mg of vitamin C per day.  Just 1small orange provides 85% of your daily value.  It also delivers 3 g fiber and another super antioxidant vitamin A. 

Garlic

Garlic contains the phyto-compound – alliin, which turns into the active compound allicin when it is crushed or chewed.  This active compound helps the immune system fight off germs.  In the body, allicin converts to other sulphur containing compounds that help bolster our white blood cells, when they encounter viruses, such as the common cold or flu.

Studies have shown that consuming garlic can help reduce the risk of even getting sick, as well as the severity of sickness and how long you remain sick!  In one study, those that consumed garlic for three months had a 63% lower risk of getting a cold, and had shorter colds when they did get sick, compared to those who only took a placebo.

What to Eat:  To make sure you’re getting the maximum health benefits of garlic, you must crush, slice or grate garlic and let stand for a few minutes before you cook with it.  If you can stomach raw garlic, even better!  Add lots of garlic when marinating meats – at least a few cloves.  Add to stir-frys, sauces, dips, hummus, or anything you like!   You can also use garlic oil for cooking.

Daily Dose:  A few cloves of garlic will provide some benefits, but if you’re not a fan of eating garlic everyday, you can opt for powdered capsules with a concentrated dose allinase.  This will convert to the active, virus fighting allicin in the intestine.  Just be warned, you might end up smelling like garlic.  At least the vampires will stay away.

 Avocado

This fruit is full of essential vitamins including B-vitamins, K, E and C.  It’s also a source of the minerals – potassium, magnesium, copper, iron and immune boosting zinc.  Avocadoes are also full of fiber, healthy fats and the super antioxidant glutathionine.   This antioxidant can help protect the body, and prevent aging – bonus!

One study showed that people who eat avocado tend to be healthier and have higher nutrient intake versus those who don’t include avocado in their diets.  What’s more, eating avocados can also help increase the absorption of nutrients and antioxidants from other plant foods – primarily due to its high concentration of good fats!

What to Eat: Chop them and put them on salads, have them with eggs, or smash them and have them on toast.  Make guacamole using avocado, lime juice, olive oil, diced tomatoes, jalapenos and red onion.

Daily Dose:  Eat as much as you like, just remember avocado is calorie dense.  Just 100 g provides 160 calories and 15 g of fat, 7 g of fiber and a very low 9 g of carbs.

Dark Chocolate

Yep, maybe it’s not an obvious immune booster, but it’s hidden in its contents.  Dark chocolate, about 75% cocoa, provides antioxidants, iron and magnesium but it also provides 30% of your daily value of zinc in about 100 g or 3.5 oz.

Zinc is a critical nutrient when it comes to our health; it’s needed for the production of over 300 enzymes in the body that are involved in numerous metabolic pathways.  Zinc helps regulate and control the immune response through enzymatic action – turning on and off pathways as required.

One pilot study in 2018, found that consuming a larger quantity of 70% dark chocolate had a significant effect on regulating immune response.  It’s not clear if it’s from zinc, it’s other minerals or its antioxidant compounds – including flavonoids.

What to Eat:  Choose dark chocolate with at least 75% cocoa powder.  1 to 2 oz of dark chocolate per day is ok, but try not to get all your zinc from dark chocolate as it also contains sugar and fat.  Choose organic dark chocolate, or dark chocolate cocoa powder.

Daily Dose:  The daily value for zinc is 8 mg for women, 12 mg if you’re breast-feeding.  You can eat some chocolate, but eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh foods, nuts, seeds, meats, and legumes, will definitely provide you with all the zinc your body needs.

Immunity Boosting Smoothies:

Turmeric, Mango & Banana Smoothie

  • ½ Frozen Banana
  • ¼ cup Frozen Mango
  • 1 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Milk
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Whey or Vegan Protein
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ½ inch Ginger Root
  • Water and Ice

Spicy Chocolate Banana

  • ½ Frozen Banana
  • 1 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Milk
  • 1 tbsp Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 scoop Chocolate or Vegan Protein
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • Water and Ice

Creamy Orange Smoothie

  • ½ Frozen Banana
  • ¼ cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Milk
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Whey or Vegan Protein
  • Water and Ice

Try these smoothies or blend your owns using these ingredients and your favourite ingredients.  Tell me what’s  your favourite smoothie?

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

LJ

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