You don’t have to invest a lot of effort to give your food certain immune boost properties. There are lots of herbs and spices you can add to dishes to improve their medicinal health benefits with very little effort. Not only will your dishes be overall healthier, they will also taste better. If you haven’t been utilizing spices already, now is the time to start. Just open up your pantry and get cooking using some of the herbs and spices listed below.
The common baking spice, has been used for centuries as both a spice to improve the taste of food and as an immune booster. We can trace cinnamon’s use as far back as 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt. There are four standard types of cinnamon: Saigon, Cassia, Korintje, and Ceylon (known as the “true” cinnamon).
Ceylon is the preferred type of cinnamon because it tends to be safer to use long term as it has lower levels of coumarin, one of cinnamon’s active ingredients. If taken in large doses, coumarin can cause liver damage. Another of cinnamon’s active ingredients, known as, cinnamaldehyde grants cinnamon antibacterial properties which help to fight viruses and infections. Besides that, cinnamon is a well-known antioxidant and is great for digestion.
This iconic orange root has been utilized for its medicinal properties in India for over 4,000 years, where it is an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric is used to treat wounds, reduce mucus and lower inflammation. It is even used as an insect repellent. Turmeric’s primary active ingredient is curcumin -it’s also what gives turmeric its distinctive orange color. Curcumin helps the body fight off infections and boosts the health of cells. You can consume turmeric in a variety of ways: grind it into a powder and season your food, make a tea, turn into milk, etc.
The very pungent bulb that is a kitchen staple around the world, does more than just help your food taste amazing. It also has very potent medicinal properties. Allicin, the primary active ingredient in garlic is a sulfuric compound that has anti-bacterial and anti0fungal properties. Just make sure to avoid exposing garlic to very high heat, as that neutralizes the allicin and its health benefits. Garlic also helps to treat and prevent chest infections, cold, and flu. It’s most effective when crushed and eaten raw.
Certain spices have developed near mythic reputations over the years due to their very potent medicinal properties. Ginger happens to be one of them. It contains compounds known as, sesquiterpenes that treat cold viruses. They also help to suppress some of the more irritable symptoms brought on by colds and flu, like soothing a sore throat, easing body aches, and treating nausea.
This root comes from Manchuria, China where it has been used for its health benefits for more than 5,000 years. A lot of advertising has contributed to ginseng’s reputation and caused it to be known as a miracle cure over the years. This is a little bit far-fetched, but ginseng does possess an extremely large quantity of immune boosting antioxidants. Regularly using ginseng has also been shown to treat respiratory illnesses and overall improve the respiratory system.
6. Cayenne Pepper
Anyone who likes their food hot and spicy is probably already familiar with cayenne pepper. Its active ingredient, capsaicin, is not only responsible for making pepper hot, but it also contains lots of health benefits. Capsaicin suppresses the neuropeptides that cause inflammation. It also boosts the immune system by increases the effectiveness of the circulatory system. Cayenne pepper also contains beta carotene, a very powerful antioxidant which can further boost your health and immune system.
A common household herb, sage is much beloved for its medicinal properties. It’s a great addition to your food if you’re feeling under the weather as it has natural antibacterial properties. As it is a great garnish for savory dishes like soups and stews (dishes that are good for treating colds and flu) you can bolster their cold fighting properties with very little effort.