7 Natural Immunity Boosters That Will Protect Your Body

When the temperature drops and the snow starts to fall, everyone becomes obsessed with boosting their immune system. But honestly, why not do it all year round? Beyond flu season, honing a healthy immunity will keep you in tip-top shape. The first step, of course, is lifestyle choices.

And it’s not just about warding off the sniffles. The immune system inhibits neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.1 It’s also in charge of clearing out apoptotic cells, or “sick” cells that kill themselves to avoid harming healthy ones. Have a wound? A thriving immunity aids tissue repair, proper healing, and prevents infection.2

Clearly, the immune system has a lot on its plate! This complex network of cells, tissues, and organs works hard to keep you well, but it needs your help. Everything you consume makes a difference.3 Ready to let your immunity thrive? Check out these seven natural immune boosters.

1.
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Turmeric

7 Natural Immune Boosters That Will Protect Your Body

Turmeric doesn’t just add color and flavor to food. Its active compound, curcumin, positively affects immune cells like lymphocytes, macrophages, and natural killer cells. “Bad guys” such as viruses and bacteria won’t stand a chance.4 Top it off with the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, and your defense system will thrive.5 To enjoy turmeric, sprinkle it into meals or smoothies. Turmeric tea can also be brewed for a spicy, flavorful drink.

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha Controls Immune Response, And Fights Cancer.

Don’t

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let stress hinder your immune system. As an adaptogenic herb, ashwagandha helps you achieve much-needed balance. In turn, immune cells are protected and increase in number.6 A 2017 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology also found that ashwagandha has the power to control immune response, protect the brain, and fight cancer.7

Ashwagandha is available in the form of capsules, tinctures, and powder. At the health food store, you can find beverages infused with ashwagandha.

3. Garlic

Garlic Is A Powerful Anti-Microbial Agent

Garlic contains allicin, one of nature’s most powerful anti-microbial agents. It works by destroying the membranes of fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Allicin even cuts off oxygen and reduces growth, forcing germs to die. Phagocytosis, or the process of immune cells “eating” bacteria, also improves.8 It’s certainly worth the stinky breath! Whole garlic can be roasted for a savory snack. Add it to rice, soup, or plain yogurt for an easy dip.

4.
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Green Tea

Phytochemicals In Green Tea Prevent DNA Mutations

As one of the most popular drinks in the world, green tea is a must. The high level of phytochemicals have been shown to fight cancer and DNA mutations. Immune cells work harder, while harmful cells are forced to stop growing.9 Drinking green tea even protects the skin from UV rays, giving you protection from the inside out.10 Enjoy green tea hot or cold. To switch things up, infuse fruit or add to smoothies.

5.
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Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal Mushrooms Heal Several Abnormalities

Medicinal mushrooms aren’t your typical grocery store veggies. They offer potent health-promoting polysaccharides with antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. Better yet, consumption lowers energy intake and obesity risk, allowing overall health to improve.

There are over 2,000 species, but popular immune-boosting options include cordyceps and reishi. Find them as capsules, tinctures, and even coffee.11 12 13

6.
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Ginger

Ginger Is Anti-Inflammatory And Anti-Allergic

For centuries, ginger has been prized by ancient Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern medicine.14 And when you look at the long list of benefits, this makes perfect sense! Ginger is an anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and antimicrobial food, and it’s all thanks to active compounds called gingerols.15 Your immune system will appreciate the extra hand.

Ginger is also extremely versatile. Brew hot tea or add it to smoothies. When cooking, both fresh and powdered ginger can be used.

7. Ginseng

Ginseng Greatly Enhances Immunity

Ginseng

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is another adaptogenic herb. Traditionally, both Korean and American ginseng are used to enhance immunity.16 They’re packed with phytochemicals, giving the body a significant antioxidant boost. As for ginsenosides, ginseng’s major active constituents? These compounds improve heart health, cognition, and cancer risk. Like garlic, ginseng can be used fresh. You can also take it as tea, capsules, or tinctures.17

Don’t forget about daily habits. To support your immune system, make stress relief and sleep a priority.18 Finally, stay active to increase helper T cells and immune response.19 20

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