This is a great time to bump up your immunity by adding these herbs and spices into your cooking or brewing a tea.
I love garlic and add it to anything I can, generally 3 to 6 cloves, as I love the taste. Garlic has a wide array of health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection to immune stimulation. There are high concentrations of sulphur compounds; these are responsible for the aroma of garlic and its effectiveness against bacteria, viruses and fungi. One of these compounds is called Allicin, it is released when garlic is cut or crushed, it has potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Unfortunately, this compound breaks down and loses its potency when exposed to high heat.
It is therefore far more advantageous to take garlic either fresh or as a supplement daily. This can be achieved by adding it to salad dressings, eating it in hummus or in the delicious traditional Lebanese Garlic sauce Toum. In particular when eaten raw, studies indicate that garlic can help prevent colds and chest infections and to reduce both the number and duration of colds.
The leaves of rosemary are used in traditional Mediterranean dishes and impart a fragrant, fresh aroma. Rosemary has strong antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to improve circulation and boost the immune system. Research has shown rosemary extract has both antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Studies have also found that rosemary may be good for your brain by fighting off damage by free radicals. Although more studies are needed there is evidence it may have therapeutic benefits in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and the treatment macular degeneration.
Black and Green Tea
There is something about sitting down with a lovely hot cup of tea, not only is it warming it is soothing in a crisis and comforting when feeling unwell. Studies have shown that drinking 5 cups of black tea a day super charged T cells, a blood cell that plays a role in the immune response. Continual tea drinking over several weeks showed the cells produce 10 times more interferon, a chemical that fights viruses and helps stop them. If you prefer green tea, that is great too. Green tea contains a amino acid that research has shown may work to give your immune system a boost
Although drinking 5 cups of tea a day may be out of the question for most of us, by sipping a cup or two a day there is no doubt is very beneficial in boosting our immunity.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of trees. There are four common types; these are Ceylon sometimes referred to as true cinnamon, Cassia, Korintje and Saigon. Ceylon is considered the best as it contains lower quantities of a chemical called coumarin, that may cause liver damage if used in large doses.
There are records of cinnamon being used as far back as 2,000 BC in Egypt. There is a long history of it being used medicinally for centuries in several cultures. The health benefits have now been confirmed by modern science, cinnamon does have amazing health benefits. It has antibacterial properties, it is also high in antioxidants. Cinnamon has shown to improve sensitivity to insulin, lower blood sugar and has a powerful anti-diabetic effect.
Cinnamon is a wonderful spice and has many uses. It can be added to both savoury and sweet dishes, sprinkled on breakfast or fruit and added to drinks. To obtain the full benefits to use only Ceylon Cinnamon it is worth the extra expense for the long-term health benefits.
Ginger contains chemicals that target cold viruses. It helps suppress coughing and sooths sore scratchy throats. Compounds in ginger can also inhibit certain types of bacteria and it has powerful pain relieving properties.
Ginger is one of the most effective remedies for motion sickness. It has great for morning sickness and the nausea associated with chemotherapy. Ginger also contains compounds that act as anti-inflammatories and has been shown to help those who suffer osteoarthritis. It also helpts with the nausea and pain for those who suffer migraines, as I can attest to.
Another versatile spice ginger can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, baked goods or drinks. Use fresh if available, although powdered ginger is great when fresh isn’t around and has all the same health benefits.
This beautifully coloured root is closely related to ginger and has been used medicinally in India for more than 4,000 years. The active ingredient, curcumin has extremely high antioxidant power. When black pepper is used with turmeric the piperine in black pepper enhances the absorption of the curcumin in turmeric by up to 2,000%.
Research has shown it protects against cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, eye diseases, depression, skin problems and many more.
Wow! What an amazing spice. Versatile and beautifully coloured, use it in drinks, sweet and savoury dishes and baked goods. Again fresh is best although studies show there is little difference between fresh and good quality dried Tumeric.