We often hear about things that can boost your immunity. That is fine when we are feeling a little run down, or even coming into the cold and flu season. However, products that promote immunity boosting, typically do just that… give you a short-term boost to help. As we age, it is much better for us to adopt habits that promote our immune health constantly.
Echinacea supplements, for example, are well proven to boost our immunity against common cold and similar infections (1). Yet, our bodies quickly adapt to the effects and as a result, efficacy drops off within a week or two. Barley on the other hand contains a combination of nutrients well proven to condition your immune system and keep it fighting fit (2,3). There is a reason Lemon Barley Water has been popular through the ages. It has long been used as a way to consume barley which is so good for us (check out our own Lemon Barley Water recipe here).
In an ideal world, we would drink gallons of Lemon Barley Water every day to maintain a healthy immune system. This month we have been doing a bunch of work on immune health in partnership with our friends over at Wellmune® (experts in Immune Health) through KitchenPlay (you can read more about this here).
For now the Fitat60 Squad have put together eight ways to keep your immune system firing on all cylinders – our 8Bs to building your immune health. Pick a combination of the following to build into your daily dietary habits:
Mother Nature’s perfect snack. No preparation, no washing or refrigeration. They are pre-packaged in a biodegradable wrapper for perfect enjoyment. In addition, they are easily digestible and packed with potassium that helps fend off high blood pressure and therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. Women suffering from PMS or menopause can get a healthy serotonin rush by consuming a banana. The goodness of bananas can battle certain types of cancer, heart diseases, high blood pressure, kidney stones, premenstrual syndrome and strokes (4,5).
Originally a cooking herb, basil has found many uses as a medicinal herb too. Basil weakens the ulcer producing activity of aspirin and alcohol, fight inflammation and swelling and battle infection causing bacteria. It also prevents colon cancer and helps build strong bones. Basil helps reduce bloating and flatulence. If you overindulged with alcohol, drink tea by steeping 2 tbsp of chopped fresh or dried basil leaves mixed in 1 cup of just boiling water for about 15 minutes. Strain and sip and feel the difference (7,8).
These luscious legumes are loaded with fibre and other nutrients to keep body running in top shape. Beans fights cancer and cholesterol. B vitamin folate reduces blood levels of amino acid involved in heart disease. People with Type 2 Diabetes benefit from the soluble fibre present in the beans. It slows down the passage of carbohydrates from foods into the bloodstream. Beans fight the battle of bulge as they control your appetite by taking up lots of room in your stomach. If you are feeling forgetful, boost your brainpower by eating a serving of beans a few times are week (9,10).
The heart shaped vegetable. 1 cup of fresh beetroots gives 1/3 of daily folate requirement. In short vitamin B that keeps homocysteine in control and reducing the chances of a heart attack. Beta – cyanin, a phytochemical that gives deep red colour is a cancer fighter. Beetroot juice curbs normal healthy cells from changing into cancer cells. Beetroots are good source of fibre for good bowel function. In summary, Beetroot battles certain types of cancer, diabetic and heart disease (11).
Are you surprised to know that beef can help to fight common health problems? Loaded with disease fighting nutrients, beef if you buy lean, has health benefits. Lean beef lowers the levels of low-density lipoprotein and improves levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol when it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Beef supplies vitamins and minerals that can be in short supply in a normal diet. Selenium in beef is a powerful antioxidant that lowers the risk of skin cancer, fights heart disease and wards off infections (12,13).
- Bell Peppers
A red bell pepper packs in twice as much vitamin C as an orange. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant eating up free radicals that cause cell damage leading to heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C also bolsters your immune system helping to lessen the severity and duration of a cold. Lutein and zeaxanthin – two plant compounds in red bell peppers prevent age related macular degeneration (ARMD) that is responsible for good vision. ARMD is a common cause of irreversible blindness in people (14,15).
- Black Tea
Black tea is a good source of polyphenols which helps in clearing the free radicals (16). Free radicals damage contributes to the onset of many chronic health problems such as cardiovascular and inflammatory disease, cataracts and cancer.
Again, Barley with all of its magic ingredients is good for heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Beta-glucan fibre lowers cholesterol, while tocotrienol deactivates an enzyme that tells the liver how to produce artery clogging cholesterol. Barley is a quick fix for constipation. Just 1 cup of cooked barley can provides approx 14 gms of fibre to get the bowels moving (2,3,6).
As always, we stress the importance of all aspects for better health and well-being, reducing stress, improving sleep, increasing water intake and increasing physical activity. The FA60 Squad, our beautiful FA60 Community are here to help.