The autumn and winter months are a period when, due to low temperatures, there is an increased susceptibility to infections. During this time, we should especially take care to strengthen immunity. One of the tasks of the immune system is to protect against the common cold. Many factors influence the smooth functioning of the immune system. It is worth paying attention to natural products and preparations of plant origin that support the protection of our body
One of the key factors for strengthening the immune system is a properly balanced diet, rich in vitamins and microelements. First of all, it should provide the right amount of nutrients. Food deficiencies may increase the susceptibility to infections and, consequently, their more severe course, as well as a greater risk of complications. A properly balanced, richly nutritious diet strengthens the immune processes.
For many years, natural methods for the prevention and treatment of colds have been known and used. Their job is to stimulate the cells involved in defence reactions to increase the body’s protection. An example of a plant with an immune-boosting effect is Aronia fruit. They are rich in polyphenols such as flavonoids, phenolic acids and anthocyanins. These fruits have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-cancer and anti-hepatotoxic properties.
A popular medicinal herb is also Echinacea (purple coneflower). It is very often the main component of immunostimulant preparations. It contains numerous chemical compounds to which it owes its unique properties. They include, among others fatty acids, phytosterols, flavonoids, polysaccharides or essential oils. Echinacea is also characterized by antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Another noteworthy plant is Black Cumin. Its seeds are used in colds, coughs, catarrhs and bronchitis, and in recurring infections. It contains compounds that strengthen the immune system.
Another example is raspberry. Its fruits are used in the composition of preparations with anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and diaphoretic properties. Raspberry is high in vitamins C, E and B, potassium, calcium, copper, iron and manganese. Moreover, it is a source of polyphenols: flavones, tannins, phenolic acids, anthocyanins.
For many generations, natural antibiotics have been very important in building immunity and shortening the course of infection.
Common garlic has been used since ancient times. It has antifungal, antiatherosclerotic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. Garlic increases the body’s defenses by strengthening and regulating the cellular responses of the immune system. The biologically active ingredient responsible for the antibacterial properties is allicin.
Common onion is one of the oldest and most famous vegetables in the world. It contains many organic sulfur substances that have bactericidal properties, and additionally increases the secretion of mucus from the upper respiratory tract and their cleansing, thus reducing the symptoms of mucosal inflammation.
Turmeric and the curcumin it contains have very strong anti-inflammatory properties and are effective against bacteria and viruses. From the paste made of turmeric, you can prepare the so-called “Golden milk”.
• 2-3 tablespoons of Turmeric powder
• 1/2 cup of water
• 2 pinches of black pepper
1. Heat all the substances in a pot, stirring until a smooth, creamy mass is formed.
2. You can create a warming drink from the paste prepared in this way or use it as an addition to pasta, soups and sauces.
3. Store it in a refrigerator in a glass jar for 2-3 weeks.
An equally helpful plant in a fight against colds is ginger. It has disinfecting and bactericidal, as well as warming and anti-inflammatory properties. Its consumption is recommended during periods of upper respiratory tract infections.
It is also worth taking advantage of the warming properties of chilli pepper. Thanks to the capsaicin contained in the fruit, the pepper warms the mucous membranes. The dilation of blood vessels makes it easier to clear the respiratory tract of residual secretions.
Ingredients boosting immunity – plant sources
beta-carotene (provitamin A) – colorful vegetables (pumpkin, kale or carrots)
vitamin E – vegetable oils, especially sunflower oil; almonds, nuts, sprouts and cereal seeds, bran and oatmeal, spinach, pepper, broccoli
vitamin C – acerola, wild rose, black currant, raspberries, gooseberries, peppers, parsley, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, sauerkraut, sea buckthorn
selenium – nuts and grain products
iron – green leafy vegetables
essential fatty acids (EFAs) – vegetable oils, in particular, soybean, rapeseed and linseed oil
probiotic bacteria – sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, beetroot leaven
prebiotic foods – tomatoes, onions, garlic, bananas, barley or wheat, chicory, artichokes and dandelions
The above-mentioned vitamins and minerals can be provided with a properly balanced diet. However, if there is a problem with immunity, it is worth paying special attention to the supply of products that are their source.
Dietary management is essential for the functioning of the human immune system. Raw materials of plant origin can be successfully used in the treatment of colds, because they have antipyretic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as soothe a runny nose and cough. Their unquestionable advantage over synthetic drugs is their multidirectional action, resulting from the presence of various groups of active compounds. It is worth enriching the diet with these products, especially in the fall and winter season, when the frequency of infections is increasing.
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