A strong immune system is the body’s first line of defense against disease-causing pathogens. However, the immune system requires an adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals in order to function properly.
Certain body functions, such as metabolism and digestion, also benefit from nutrient-dense foods. Here are some of them:
Like their citrus relatives, clementines boast an impressive nutritional profile. One clementine contains the following:
- Calories – 35 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 8.9 g
- Fiber – 1.3 g
- Sugar – 6.8 g
- Protein – 0.6 g
- Fat – 0.1 g
Clementines are naturally sweet and cholesterol-free. They are also excellent sources of vitamin C, which aid various body functions including metabolism, immunity, respiration, digestion, blood circulation and bone development.
Unfortunately, the body cannot produce vitamin C. Instead, it absorbs this vitamin from fruits and vegetables including oranges, lemons, grapefruits, kale, spinach and broccoli. According to registered dietitian Maya Feller, “When we’re exposed to so many people and so many viruses, getting a little dose of vitamin C is incredibly helpful.”
Moreover, clementines are rich in potassium, which rids the body of toxins and excess sodium. Potassium also regulates blood pressure to prevent hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Clementines also contain antioxidants that protect the body from cellular damage caused by free radicals. Beta carotene, the red-orange pigment found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, is an antioxidant that the body transforms into vitamin A. It plays an essential role in immunity enhancement and eyesight maintenance.
Ginger is one of the most popular natural remedies used to treat many ailments, from stomach aches to joint pain. It is considered a superfood due to the various minerals and vitamins it has. A piece of raw ginger that weighs approximately 3.5 ounces contains the following:
- Potassium – 415 mg
- Copper – 0.2 mg
- Manganese – 0.2 mg
- Magnesium – 43 mg
- Phosphorus – 34 mg
- Iron – 0.6 mg
- Vitamin C – 5 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg
- Niacin – 0.7 mg
Ginger also contains bioactive components, such as 6-gingerol, 6-shogaol and 6-paradol, that possess potent antioxidant properties against pathogens that attack the immune system.
Ginger, for instance, is reported to reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which can increase the risk of age-related diseases including osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger can also relieve joint pain caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Moreover, ginger can help prevent an upset stomach. Its bioactive components aid digestion and trigger the expulsion of gas, thereby relieving abdominal discomfort and preventing constipation.
Ginger is also considered a safe, natural remedy against morning sickness, motion sickness and muscle pain caused by strenuous exercise. Recent studies also suggest that ginger may prevent certain cancers, including ovarian, lung and breast cancers. (Related: This ginger compound stops pancreatic cancer cells from spreading.)
Garlic is a bulbous herb that is closely related to onions, leeks, and chives. Like most herbs and spices, garlic produces a strong aroma that adds flavor to any dish or beverage.
Fresh garlic contains approximately 33 sulfur compounds that possess anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, such as allicin, alliin, ajoene, allyl propyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and S-allyl cysteine.
These antioxidants, along with several important enzymes and amino acids, make garlic a potent natural remedy. For instance, ancient Chinese and Indian medicine used garlic to aid respiration and digestion. Garlic was also a known remedy for arthritis, toothaches, chronic coughs, constipation, and snake bites.
Currently, garlic is used to treat conditions related to the cardiovascular system, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Garlic is also used for the prevention of lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, and colon cancer.
Keep your immune system healthy by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and eating foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Author: Divina Ramirez