In this era of frequent infectious diseases, people are now increasingly focusing on the importance of building an efficient immune system. A strong and robust immune system is indeed helpful at preventing regular infections and viral attacks.
Although immunity is influenced to some extent by genetic factors, modifications in diet and lifestyle can enhance immune function and make it more efficient.
Herbal supplements are popular in Indian households since time immemorial. India has a strong history of ayurvedic and herbal solutions to their everyday problems. Over the years research has helped support the efficacy of herbal supplements with scientific data.
Many Indian herbs, spices, seeds, etc. act as good immune boosters. Some of these are readily available in our kitchens, while others can be easily purchased at local pharmacies. These can be taken either raw or mixed in teas, as powders, capsules, etc.
Let us have a look at 4 herbs and seeds that work as excellent immune boosters:
This herb deserves a special mention because of its many beneficial qualities. Not only is this an effective herbal immunity booster, but it has various other benefits also.
Ashwagandha is a stress buster and an anxiety reliever, both of which indirectly help to enhance immunity. It is a strong adaptogen, which means that it helps the body cope with stressful conditions both physical and mental, and normalizes all of the body functions. It improves metabolism as well.
Ashwagandha is an excellent antioxidant, and this property helps deal with oxidative damage to the body tissues. It helps to alleviate symptoms of viral infections and enhances immune efficiency.
Clinically, Ashwagandha helps improve digestive troubles, neural problems, skin troubles, memory and brain function, and therefore the complete health of the individual.
Turmeric is one of the most versatile spices found in the Indian kitchen. Its beneficial effects are numerous, and it is probably the best immune booster readily available to us. Turmeric is an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever, an antiseptic, an immune booster, and many things more.
The active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Being a strong anti-inflammatory helps to fight the symptoms of infectious diseases and provides quick relief. Its antioxidant properties help to maintain tissue function and prevent wear and tear.
Turmeric also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
The function of turmeric can be enhanced by taking it with piperine extract as this enhances the absorption of curcumin.
Pumpkin seeds are packed full of valuable nutrition elements. They are rich in fibers, proteins, vitamins, and essential minerals. Munching even a small quality of pumpkin seeds a day can provide many benefits.
These are rich in antioxidants that help to fight oxidative damage and boost immune function. An antioxidant function prevents free radical damage to the body tissues and protects from certain cancers in the long run.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium – a mineral that is essential for over 600 chemical reactions in our body.
Pumpkin seeds have also been found to improve heart health and maintain blood glucose levels. being rich in dietary fiber, they promote good digestive function. As they also contain zinc they may even help with reproductive health.
The presence of zinc, vitamin E, and various other minerals makes pumpkin seeds excellent for immune health. These constituents of pumpkin seeds act as powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral immune enhancers.
Chia seeds are excellent immune boosters. They are rich in essential minerals like iron, calcium, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, and many other vitamins and minerals. These minerals and nutrients provide strong immune-enhancing properties to chia seeds and help to prevent infectious attacks.
A daily intake of chia seeds can help boost immunity significantly. These are also strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory.
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3-fatty acids that help to maintain metabolism and thereby promote immune function.
Being rich in dietary fibers, chia seeds help improve digestive efficiency and also improve skin and hair health.
Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds can be considered as ‘superfoods’ as they have a powerful quantity of nutrients packed in their small sizes.
Some many other herbs and spices have significant benefits when it comes to improving immune function. One cannot ignore the importance of herbs, spices, and seeds such as Tulsi, ginseng, garlic, cinnamon, gilloy, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepper, Brahmi, etc. Indian households are no stranger to adopting these herbs and spices in their diets and making the best use out of them.
In recent years, herbal components have been used as raw materials for various herbal supplements that help enhance immunity. These supplements combine the immune-boosting properties of different herbs and spices in an effective composition, and these are then sold as powders, capsules, or tablets. Such herbal supplements make the intake of these herbs easier and more uniform.
It is important to select an herbal supplement that uses genuine raw materials and does not use any synthetic or artificial chemicals. The product must be quality tested and free of contamination.
When taking any herbal supplement, one must pay due attention to the dosage and not take more than advised. Also, attention must be paid to any contra-indications. For example, some supplements may be unsuitable for pregnant or nursing women.
Although side effects are rarely seen with herbal immunity-enhancing supplements, the instructions on the product should still be read carefully. In case of any adverse effects, the use of the product should be discontinued.
As infectious diseases evolve and diversify all over the world, building a strong immune system is the need of the hour. Along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, supplements in the form of beneficial herbs and seeds can go a long way in preventing infectious attacks.