Do Spices Help Boost Immunity?
India’s love affair with spices is known all over the world. But our understanding of spices may be limited. They’re not just used to induce beads of sweat down your forehead and their purpose goes beyond adding flavour and colour to your food. For ages, they have been used to treat several health problems.¹ᵃ
But that’s not all. Spices can also help improve your immune system, helping you fight harmful bacteria. Let’s take a look at a few spices that you absolutely need in your life to strengthen your body’s immunity.
Haldi: For a 'Haldi-er' Living
Haldi (turmeric) is that quintessential spice that finds its way into almost all Indian dishes. But did you know that taking it can boost your immune system and help fight off cold?¹ The medicinal properties of curcumin, its active ingredient, are so powerful that you can even call it a magic herb.² So if you have ever hoped for a miracle during a stubborn cold, you know what to try.
Lal Mirch Powder to stay out of the red
Lal mirch (red chilli) powder is so much more than that the spice that adds colour and a fiery twist to your dishes. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in lal mirch, is said to help control metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes.³ Now you have a legit reason to make those dishes sharp with a measured addition of red chilli powder.
Hold the Fort with Jeera
Let’s be honest - the only good thing about being hit with a bad tummy is getting to sip on jal-jeera. That’s not all there is to the jeera (cumin seeds) in this refreshing drink, though. It is a great source of iron and rich with nutrients. These nutrients act as your body’s natural defense system. ⁴
Stay Cool and add some Dhania Powder
You might have been recommended chicken soup when you take ill. But did you know that Dhania (coriander) powder is also loaded with antibacterial properties that can help protect your body from infections?⁵ The unique flavour and cooling effect of dhania powder makes it a must-have spice on the kitchen shelf.It is another spice that is good for your immune system!
Amazed by Mother Nature’s ability to heal yet? The good news is that there are so many more spices, each with their unique healing properties. So when you fall ill next time, you know what to reach for - the spice box in your kitchen. Know what to use when and how and it might just help you recover from your illness speedily.
- Indian Spices and their Medicinal Value [IJPER]
- Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health [NCBI]
- Nutritional Benefits and Pharmaceutical Potentialities of Chili: A Review [Researchgate]
- Antioxidant potential and health benefits of cumin [Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies]
- Nutritional Benefits and Pharmaceutical Potentialities of Chili: A Review [Researchgate]
- Coriander: Overview of Potential Health Benefits [Nutrition Today]
The views and opinions expressed in this content piece are those of the author(s) and not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Improving The Immune System During Monsoon
We all know that the monsoon season is pretty much synonymous with the flu season and you most definitely would want to perk up your immune mechanism all through the monsoons, right? It is extremely vital that your immune system should be strong and your immune response should be on point so that you can battle all the infection causing agents.
Eating certain specific foods all through the rainy season can help increase immunity and stave off bacteria, fungi and viruses from attacking you. Let’s weigh in on what you can do to step up the working of the immune system; what to steer clear off, and what are the best foods to improve your immune system.
Top 3 immune-boosting foods for the monsoon
Here are 3 superfoods that can help you increase immunity and keep your immune mechanism in good shape!
1. Garlic: Garlic proffers the enzyme alliinase that converts alliin to allicin - an element that can bolsters the immune mechanism considerably and combats infections successfully. Allicin is most bio-available when consumed raw and importantly, when crushed well before consuming. Chop up a flake of garlic and gulp it down with a glass of water!
2. Turmeric: This golden yellow spice is loaded with a potent antioxidant – curcumin. Curcumin encourages the chief fighting cells of the immune system and ensures that you stay fighting fit. Fortunately, we add powdered haldi to practically all our dishes! You could also crank it up a notch by drinking a cup of haldi doodh every night. Tata Sampann Turmeric Powder is sourced from the fields of Salem and provides 3% curcumin.
3. Lime: Limes contain vitamin C which is very crucial for an optimally working immune system. The vitamin helps fight free radicals, thwarts inflammation and reduces the duration and intensity of infections. Kickstart your day with a glass of lime juice and add loads of freshly squeezed lime to your salads and curries.
3 things to do to rev up the working of the immune system
1. Increase your intake of probiotics: Probiotics help you increase immunity and how! They enhance the amount of good bacteria that is very critical to your overall health. In fact, the probiotics in your gut are associated with a strong immune mechanism. So, make sure you have plenty of dahi everyday – jump-start your day with a yogurt smoothie, add dahi to your gravies and create a new raita daily.
2. Drink plenty of water: You need to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day for your body to work well. Water flushes out all noxious wastes from the body and is needed for the movement of mucus and phlegm – the two strong fences for microbes. It isn’t possible to work an efficient defense system against microbes if you are dehydrated, because water is required for the mucus and phlegm which trap microbes. Hence, ensure that you keep your body well hydrated and drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Don’t wait to feel thirsty; drink water through the day!
3. Work on your stress management techniques: : Stress wreaks complete havoc on your immune system. When you’re under stress, your body releases large amounts of cortisol. This cortisol raises your blood pressure and elevates blood sugar levels and leads to a weakened immunity. Whilst, it is not likely that you will be able to circumvent all the stressors, it is possible to deal with them better. Integrate – a hobby, Yoga, meditation, swimming, Tai Chi or some other stress buster in to your daily schedule. It works miracles!
3 Things to avoid since they decelerate the working of the immune system
1. Excessive sugar consumption: The sugar is being called an anti-nutrient; it has no nutrients of its own, it provides empty calories, and what’s worse is it takes nutrients away from your body. This depletion of vital nutrients compromises the immune system, seriously affecting its capacity to fight off infections. Thus, you need to cut back on your consumption of sugar.
2. A sluggish, sedentary lifestyle: Not exercising regularly unfavourably affects your immune response. Regular exercise has been associated with good immune functioning and lesser episodes of infections and ailments. Exercise boosts blood circulation as well as the movement of lymphatic fluid and thus helps you increase immunity.
3. A diet devoid of fruits: Fruits are contain robust anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. The immune system needs these powerful elements to wipe out infection causing microbes and prevent infections from striking. Amp up your intake of - apples, mangoes, berries, pineapples, guavas, watermelon – all the fruits that are in season - they help the immune system hunt down injurious invaders. Added bonus – they guarantee you a radiant skin and fabulous hair!
Feeling sick can be really awful. That’s why it is so very essential to look after your immune system. Armed with all this information, you can concentrate on building a good lifestyle routine which will shore up your immune system.
The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.