Monsoon, one of the most loved season, is here! It brings the much-awaited relief from the scorching summer heat.
But the season also comes with a lot of risks due to the humidity and the wet atmosphere, increasing your chances of falling ill.
Hence, it’s important to make healthier lifestyle choices such as eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of immunity-boosting foods.
Adding foods that support the immune system to your diet can help you ward off common infections like cold and cough, influenza, gastritis, hepatitis, malaria, dengue, leptospirosis, typhoid, etc.
As the humidity goes up, microbial growth also increases and so does the risk of infections – most of these infections are food and water-borne.
Since children and the elderly have a weaker immune system their susceptibility to these infections also increases.
But good nutrition can strengthen immunity, help you stay healthy. Fortunately, there are many herbs and spices that add flavour to your food can also help support your immunity.
Eat these herbs and spices to boost your immune system
Here are some herbs and spices listed by Minal Shah, senior Nutrition Therapist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai, that may help boost your immunity as they contain powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Turmeric: Turmeric has curcumin that has antioxidant, antimicrobial effect that inhibits microbial growth like helicobacter pylori (H Pylori), methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aAureus (MRSA), etc – which prevents gastric ulcers, improves immune response, and anti-malarial activity among other protective and preventive functions. Indian food traditionally has turmeric in the food preparation but consumption of these food items will be variable especially for children and elderly members for various reasons.
Tip: A teaspoon of turmeric as turmeric milk/latte, turmeric with honey or in hot water would be a good add on for children and elderly members of the family, especially during monsoon.
Ginger: Ginger helps combat chills, fever, eliminates congestion and has anti-viral properties. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic and antioxidant effects. Ginger tea can also help ease throat pain.
Tip: Ginger in crushed or extract form can be added to honey and given to children. It can be added to soups or in tea for the elderly.
Garlic: Garlic has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, it is an effective immune-stimulant.
Tip: It can be added to vegetable preparation, gravies, chutneys, soups, etc.
Pepper: Pepper helps provide relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It has an expectorant property that helps break up the mucus and phlegm depositions in the respiratory tract. Pepper also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Tip: It is added for treating cold and cough. Pepper can be easily added to soups, rasam, pasta, khichdi, or use plain pepper powder with honey as a tonic.
Lemongrass: Lemongrass oil may help boost the immune system with its antioxidant properties. The herb has also been referred to as fever grass for its use in treating fevers and symptoms of a cold. It is useful in treating infections of the stomach, intestines, urinary tract and wounds due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Tip: It can be made as a simple concoction with any other ingredients or added to tea.
Additionally, a very important point to consider is hydration – that is ensuring the consumption of adequate liquids or water, as a preventive and treatment measure of most of the monsoon related diseases.