We live in a world where we continuously fight pathogens and infections. Our bodies have complex fighting machinery to combat any harmful foreign agent. While we carry on our daily activities our immune system might be fighting a potential pathogen. The immune system has four basic functions, detect a harmful substance, prevent its entry into the body, stop it from spreading, and destroy it. These harmful agents can be bacteria, viruses, pollens, poison, or cancerous cells. The immune system consists of a physical barrier (skin and mucous membrane), a chemical barrier (tears, saliva, mucous), phagocytic cells, T and B cells, and antibodies.
A balanced diet with all the essential nutrients is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. Foods that stimulate or modulate the immune system are called immune boosters.
Let’s discuss some standard immune boosters.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is rich in bioactive compounds having high antioxidant properties. Curcumin (an active compound of turmeric) has many medicinal benefits. Turmeric reduces oxidative stress and cell damage. It has anti-inflammatory properties. Many studies have reported the antimicrobial effect of turmeric against some harmful bacteria, fungi, and viral species. Turmeric is also said to be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes, certain cardiovascular diseases, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and cancer.
- Ginger: Ginger is another therapeutic herb that has abundant polyphenols, alkaloids, and flavonoids. Ginger has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-viral effects. Apart from this ginger is good for digestion and also relieves cramps. Several bioactive compounds of ginger reduce pain, headaches, and nausea.
- Garlic: Garlic is an ancient medicinal herb used to treat diseases like asthma, the common cold, and diarrhea. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The sulfur compounds of garlic increase the immune system activity. Garlic possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antiviral properties. Garlic oil is also used in the treatment of ringworms and warts. It has beneficial effects in the treatment of heart diseases, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. The antioxidants in garlic reduce carcinogenic compounds and prevent cancer.
- Neem: Neem is a native tree with many medicinal benefits. Usually, the neem leaves are used for herbal preparations. Neem leaves boost immunity by stimulating the phagocytic, and T and B immune cells. It strengthens the body’s immune response against viruses. Neem also has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects. The antioxidants in neem prevent cancer, inflammation, and diabetes. Neem is a natural blood purifier and can prevent allergies and skin issues.
- Tulsi: Tulsi is a herb that has both medicinal and spiritual recognition in India. It prevents infections like typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera, and acne, as it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also prevents malarial infections. Tulsi has an anti-cancerous effect as it stimulates cancer cell death. It helps in detoxification by removing toxins like pollutants, pesticides, and industrial toxicants.
- Black pepper: Black pepper has bioactive compounds. Black pepper has an antioxidant activity that can prevent tumor growth. It has antimicrobial effects against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It can be used against Dengue and Ebola viruses. Black pepper is also used for asthma, diarrhea, and other gastric diseases.
- Amla: Amla is a nutritionally rich immune booster fruit. Amla fruit has high antioxidant activity. It reduces oxidative stress and cell damage. Bioactive compounds of amla increase immune responses. Amla is used for the treatment of the common cold, fever, gastric, liver, and kidney diseases.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a plant used for its cooling and refreshing properties. It is rich in bioactive compounds. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetic properties. Aloe vera reduces skin rashes or burns and promotes wound healing. It is an immunity booster that increases immune responses like enhanced phagocytic activity and antibody production against infections.
We have discussed the natural immune boosters which help in preventing infections. Talk to Gytree Experts for more such natural immune boosters. However, it is essential to fulfill all the nutrient requirements of the body for the proper functioning of the immune system. Adequate sleep and exercise are also necessary for a healthy body.