Healthy immunity starts with a healthy diet. Avoiding the processed junk, piling on the colorful produce and digging into clean proteins can all go a long way in boosting your body's defenses.
But did you know that some foods and beverages have a special affinity for the immune system? They include garlic, green tea and cranberry—all commonly found in kitchens.
Garlic: The Sweet Smell of Health
Garlic was prized by traditional cultures from Asia to the Mediterranean region for its ability to promote well-being. That reputation explains why it was given to Olympic competitors in ancient Greece.
We now know the source of garlic's benefits is the same as that of its pungent aroma: The stinking rose contains more than 100 compounds based on sulfur. The best known is allicin, which is formed when a garlic clove is crushed or chewed.
According to published research, garlic may help support the immune system's ability to fight harmful microbes.* In some studies, aged garlic extract has even helped increase comfort levels in people suffering from colds.†
Garlics powers don't stop with the immune system. It has also been found to support cardiovascular well-being and may even come to the rescue of overworked adrenal glands, which produce stress-related hormones.†
Green Tea: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Popularity
Like garlic, tea—the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water—has a long, storied history in traditional health systems. That is particularly true of ancient China, where tea was so prized it was used in courtship rituals and to pay imperial tribute taxes.
Today we know that tea contains more than 2,000 chemical compounds, many of which haven been found to possess healthful properties.
"This mighty leaf strengthens and supports the immune system," says nutritional therapy practitioner Nicole Craine, NTP. She notes that tea has been found to impede viral activity and promote a healthy immune response.
Researchers have discovered other ways in which tea aids health. It has been found to act as an antioxidant, allowing it to destroy cell-damaging molecules called free radicals.* It has also been associated with greater cardiovascular and cognitive well-being.†
Cranberry: Beyond Bladder Comfort
Unlike the all-around nutritional superstar status of garlic and green tea, cranberry is famous for doing one thing but doing it very well: Creating a sort of nonstick urinary tract coating so that UTI-causing bacteria can't find a foothold.†
That, however, is only one of cranberry's healthful effects.
In a University of Florida study, cranberry consumption was linked to increased immune activity and reduced symptoms among people with colds. In addition, cranberries are loaded with digestion-promoting fiber, and scientists believe cranberry compounds may aid the immune system by promoting microbiome health.†
Whats more, cranberry's ability to interfere with bacterial stickiness may extend to oral tissues, which may help it play a role in maintaining healthy gums. It may also help support cardiovascular well-being.††The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.
The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.