About 4 years ago I adopted a vegan lifestyle and one eye opening side effect I’ve noticed is that by default my immune system has become incredibly strong because of all the fruits, vegetables, and herbs I eat regularly. So I put together a list of 9 immune-boosting, anti-viral foods that I incorporate regularly into my plant-based meals, on top of a healthy variety fruits and veggies! I haven’t had a case of the “common cold” in 4 years y’all and food is a big reason.
PS. Don’t let coronavirus aka covid-19 get you down! Wash your hands, eat right, exercise, practice social distancing, and don’t stress over what you can’t control. You CAN control what you eat. So here we go:
My mom grows this superfood in her backyard in India! While visiting her earlier this year, I picked fresh moringa leaves every day from her garden. Here in the US, I get moringa powder from Sprouts and add it to my smoothies. Moringa has a ton of benefits. Just to name a few, it lowers blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation, lowers cholesterol, and protects against arsenic toxicity.
If you follow my stories on Instagram, you know I’m a big believer in oregano. I take it in oil form, but beware – it is quite potent! I mostly use it to prevent stomach viruses while traveling. Most recently, I brought it with me to India where I would mix several drops of it with water and take it to the head.
Oregano has impressive medicinal functions and can be used to alleviate colds. Its plant compounds, which include carvacrol, offer useful antiviral properties.
This herb has been used for many years to treat viral infections. It is known for its antibacterial properties, antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory benefits. People even use this for spiritual purposes! When I first moved into my house, my friend came over and “saged” my home. It’s an ancient practice that is used to shift energy into a calmer, happier state.
I first learned about this from my neighbor Janet. She makes incredible cold-fighting elixirs and sells them during flu season. Her customers come back to her every winter for this wondrous concoction and elderberry is the key ingredient!
Native Americans used it to treat infections and ancient Egyptians used it to heal burns. Look for elderberry syrup online, in stores, or make your own fresh batch using an online recipe.
I often add this to soups and stews! It kinda tastes like licorice, but it’s mild enough that it adds a subtle sweetness to your dishes.
The powerful antioxidants in fennel, such as vitamin C and quercetin, can decrease inflammation, which helps combat viral infections. Studies show that fennel extract also inhibits the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and yeasts, such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans.
In India, I had what’s called tulsi or holy basil. I infused some in my water every day during my recent trip there, and even though my mom and sister were sick the entire time, their viruses never transferred to me. Maybe it was coincidence. Maybe it was basil.
It has a history within Indian medicine as a treatment for a plethora of conditions, from eye diseases to ringworms. Different parts of the plants can be used for various ailments. You can use its fresh flowers for bronchitis, the leaves and seeds for malaria, the entire plant for stomach issues, the ointment format for eczema, the alcohol extract for stomach ulcers and eye diseases, and the essential oil for insect bites.
This has been shown to have antiviral properties against all kinds of viruses from influenza to herpes even! To reap the benefits, I make sure to sprinkle rosemary into my meals – it goes great with mushrooms and potatoes. For funsies, I especially like to use it for holiday drink recipes!
Mmmm nothing can make me drool like the smell of garlic being sautéed in my kitchen. Garlic is a natural remedy for a wide variety of conditions, including viral infections. It can enhance your immune system response by stimulating protective immune cells.
I have fresh garlic in my fridge at all times. Peel it, chop or grate it, and add it to a sauté or put it in your tea. It has impressive antiviral activity due to its high concentration of potent plant compounds. Specific compounds in ginger, such as gingerols and zingerone, have been found to inhibit viral replication and prevent viruses from entering host cells.
What else would you add to this list?
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