10 herbs and spices to boost your immunity in every season
Herbs and spices can add taste and health to every meal and at the same time work wonders for your immunity.
Herbs and spices can transform any bland meal to a flavourful one and most of them are packed with the power of antioxidants. Used traditionally as medicine to ward off illnesses and taste-enhancer since time immemorial, Ayurveda recommends regular use of many spices and herbs. In recent years, many of them have also been gaining popularity in the western world as superfoods. From seasoning in baked goods, to being used in sauces and dressings, to herbal infusions, there are a variety of ways herbs and spices can be incorporated in our food. Herbs and spices are derived from medicinal plants. While the leaf part of it is called herb, the dried part is referred to as a spice. Numerous scientific studies have proved that consuming herbs and spices is an effective way to manage heart disease, cancer, diabetes, blood pressure and lower cholesterol. (Also read: Summer bloating: Herbs and spices that can help; how to add them to your diet)
"Maintaining a strong immune system is crucial for overall well-being and to ward off illnesses. While a healthy diet and lifestyle play a vital role, incorporating certain herbs and spices into your meals can provide an additional boost to your immunity. These natural ingredients are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help strengthen your body's defence system," says Nutritionist Anupama Menon.
Also Watch: 10 Drinks That Boost and Support Your Immunity | Food For Thought | HT Lifestyle
Menon shares 10 herbs and spices to enhance your immune health in every season.
1. Turmeric: Known for its active compound curcumin, turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It supports immune function and helps fight infections.
2. Ginger: This spicy root contains gingerol, which has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It aids digestion, reduces inflammation, and strengthens the immune system.
3. Garlic: Garlic is a potent immune booster due to its high content of allicin, a compound with antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It helps stimulate immune cells and combat infections.
4. Cinnamon: Rich in antioxidants, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that support the immune system. It can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health.
5. Oregano: This flavourful herb is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, which enhances immune function. Oregano also has antimicrobial properties that help fight off pathogens.
6. Rosemary: Besides adding a delicious flavour to your dishes, rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can support immune function and promote overall wellness.
7. Thyme: Thyme is rich in vitamins C and A, as well as antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system. It also has antimicrobial properties that can aid in fighting infections.
8. Cayenne Pepper: This fiery spice contains capsaicin, known for its immuneboosting effects. Cayenne pepper can help reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and support overall immune function.
9. Cumin: Cumin is a versatile spice that offers numerous health benefits. It contains antioxidants and essential minerals that support immune health and can help protect against infections.
10. Basil: This aromatic herb is packed with vitamins and minerals that enhance immune function. Basil also has antimicrobial properties and can help reduce inflammation in the body.
How to add them to your meal
"Incorporating these herbs and spices into your meals is a simple and delicious way to bolster your immune system throughout the year. You can add them to soups, stews, marinades, or even sprinkle them on roasted vegetables or salads," says Menon.
"Remember, while these herbs and spices offer immune-boosting properties, they should complement a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice on maintaining a strong immune system. So, start experimenting with these flavourful additions to your dishes and reap the benefits of their immune-boosting properties in every season," concludes the nutritionist.