How to boost immunity naturally ? Top 6 Ayurvedic immunity boosting spices
Did you know almost 70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract? Adding these Ayurveda classified immunity boosting spices into your daily diet will help boost your immune system naturally.
Recent days and the scare of covid-19 has presented us with some challenging times.
It’s a war between a living being and a silent predator called the ‘virus’ ready to attack any body it deems weak to fight against it.
The prey is our immune system, almost 70% of which is present in our gut or digestive track!!
Which means what we eat helps our bodies detect and destroy the disease causing pathogens.
A good immune system is like a shield that protects us from any imminent bacterial or viral attack, but if gets off guard then the virus/bacteria will get you!!
Bad news, there isn’t any 100 % full-proof plan to protect you from viruses.
Good news, you can follow simple home remedies that can strengthen your immune system naturally and safeguard you from future attacks.
One of the natural ways to boost your immune system is by being mindful of what you eat. This is where the principle of Ayurveda is based on.
Herbs and spices are high in antioxidants that helps to maintain a healthy immune system. In this post I share cooking tips on how adding spices and herbs can help boost immune system naturally.
The Concept Of Immunity In Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine in one of the oldest healing science that use natural sources such as herbs, seeds, roots and spices to address and heal health ailments.
In Ayurveda the immunity system is strongly connected to our digestive system.
It is believed that the bodies natural defenses to ward of diseases is caused by an imbalance between Doshas (biological energies that make up physical and mental appearance i.e vata, pitta & kapha), Dhatus (tissues systems) and Malas (excretory products of body). A balance of these factors, is responsible for maintaining physical and psychological health in individuals.
Therefore your gut is the gateway to good health. A weakened digestive system is linked to most diseases.
So by being mindful of what you eat and how you go about your daily routine has a direct impact of building up your bodies natural defenses.
For instance if your body tends to heat up during hot summer days as per Ayurvedic studies these cooling spices helps those with Pitta dosha maintain a balanced body temperature.
Ayurvedic study considers few spices and herbs good for immune system.
This is because spices contain nutrients and antioxidants with huge health benefits.
Spices not only make your food flavourful but using spices in your daily diet also helps build your natural defenses against viruses, flu, and other ailments.
There are different foods good for the immune system that can be added to your diet such as spinach, shiitake mushrooms, bell peppers, citrus fruits etc.
Drinking homemade herbal teas will help ease those annoying side effects related to flu.
Or drinking a few cups of this miracle herbal winter tea helps reduce symptoms associated with cold and sore throat.
There are also few Ayurvedic herbs for immunity that has medical value and helps support immune health.
The problem with these immunity boosting herbs and spices are that they can be hard to procure and buy. This is where the list of easy to find Ayurvedic immunity boosting spices below will help.
6 Best Ayurvedic Immunity Boosting Spices
Below are some of the best healthy spices list frequently used for cooking that also act as natural remedies to boost your immune system.
They not only help lift flavours of your meals but also give your body a dose of natural health supplements.
You will also find tips to use them in your meals.
Cinnamon is one of the most commonly used spice all over the world.
It has numerous health benefits due to the abundance of antioxidants present.
Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, a phytochemical that has been studied to help fight against viruses, keep blood sugar in control, lower cholesterol and even help with diabetes.
Ideas on how to use Cinnamon in food
- Add cinnamon in your curries, soups, stews, and broth
- Add 1/2 inch of cinnamon to boiling hot water, add a tsp of honey to make cinnamon tea
- Sprinkle on your coffee, hot chocolate and milk
- Make cinnamon cookies, cakes, and desserts
- Add a pinch of cinnamon powder to fruits, yoghurt, oats and cereals
- Make cinnamon pancakes, waffles and bread
We all know about this golden spice!
Packed with antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties (try saying all these together) , turmeric has become known as one the superfood of today!
Few have resorted to using turmeric supplements due to the many health benefits associated with the spice that works wonders to boost immune system naturally.
Scientists believe that the active ingredient called ‘curcumin’ present in turmeric is powerful to heal and protect many parts of the body and build anti-body defences naturally.
Read why cooking with turmeric is one of the easiest ways to be healthy.
Ideas on how to use Turmeric in food
- Add a teaspoon of turmeric to make smoothies of your choice.
- Make turmeric milk by adding a teaspoon of turmeric powder.
- Give your curries, casseroles, stew or soup a vibrant yellow colour by adding 1 -2 teaspoons.
- Add it to sauteed vegetables or lentils and legumes.
- It can also be added to mayonnaise, hummus and dips.
Cloves have been used in Ayurvedic remedies curing many health ailments including cough and cold.
It also helps naturally protect your body against infections.
The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce joint or muscular pains and toothache.
The essential oil found in cloves has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties that help protect against cold and flu symptoms.
Ideas on how to use Cloves in food
- Use cloves to make homemade soup, broths, stews or curry
- Add a few cloves to tea or in your drinks to give it a spicy flavourful touch.
- Embed few cloves in meat or fish for grilling or cooking.
- Use it to flavour rice.
- Add cloves to desserts such as apple crumble, custard and rice pudding
- Cloves added to pies help enhance the flavour
NOTE: It is a good idea to remove cloves from the dish before serving as biting into a clove may not leave the best taste in your mouth.
4. Black pepper
Black pepper has antimicrobial properties that works wonders if you are down with cold and flu.
Just like cloves the essential oils found in black pepper helps to prevent muscular aches and pains
It also helps in maintaining a good digestive system and metabolism.
Ideas on how to use black pepper in food
There are numerous uses of black pepper in food as it is one of the essential seasonings.
- You can add black pepper to pep up your pasta, noodles, rice.
- Add to any type of protein such as eggs, meat, poultry
- Zest up boiled or cooked vegetables with a dash of freshly ground pepper.
- You can also add whole black peppercorns to make some tea, broth, stews and sauce.
Cayenne pepper is native to South and Central America belonging to the chili family.
It is dried and ground mild chillies used to add a hint of heat to food.
Paprika is a spice made from different types of red peppers.
The active ingredients in cayenne pepper or all types of chillies is ‘Capsaicin’ which makes it hot.
Cayenne is a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K and manganese along with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
This makes it an excellent spice that will help give a boost to your immune system.
Ideas on how to use Cayenne pepper and Paprika in food
The use of cayenne pepper and paprika is similar to that of black pepper.
You can use cayenne pepper in just about every dish you make to add some heat.
Fresh ginger or ground ginger is an age-old remedy used in Ayurveda and in India to ward off cold and flu symptoms.
Apart from cold it also helps to alleviate morning sickness and nausea
It is a powerful immunity booster that fights against microorganisms keeping your body healthy.
Ground ginger tastes different from fresh ginger and has less of health beneficial properties compared to ground ginger.
Fresh ginger is more strong, pungent and hot compared to the ground.
Ideas on how to use ground ginger in food
- Drinking ginger tea with few black peppercorns is a great remedial herbal tea to fight the flu.
- Use ground ginger to make cakes, biscuits and desserts
- You can also use both fresh and ground ginger to making jams and jellies.
- Add ginger to stir-fries and roast vegetables
- Use ginger when making a base sauce for your curries
- You can also add chopped ginger or ginger powder to broths, stews and soups.
How Much Spices to Use?
The best thing about the immune system boosting spices apart from their health benefits is that they are readily available and if you do not already have them, you can easily buy all of the listed spices for immunity.
But the question is ‘How much spice should you use in everyday cooking to naturally boost your immunity?’
There is no rule on how many or how much spice should you be using.
A normal Indian dish may have anything from 2 – 12 spices listed in a recipe. But that does not mean you have to use them all.
Spices are potent and can be very strong to taste. So it is best to limit yourself to 1 – 2 teaspoons of each type of spice when making a serving of 4-6 people.
I will also recommend combining a few of the spices from the above list and work your way through experimenting.
Remember for naturally building your immune system using spices, you will have to use it every day and not just as a ‘flavour of the month!’
It is similar to how you take vitamin supplements each day.
Just like it takes medicines to make a positive change to your bodies when attacked by a virus, spices too need time to build natural barriers against bugs.
Other Immunity Boosting Ayurvedic Foods
Apart from the healthy spices listed above, here is a small list of foods that as per Ayurveda has immunity boosting properties.
Some of them will be available in health food stores whole you may get others in Ethnic or larger superstores.
- Ajwain – You may know this as carom seeds is a hugely beneficial spice with an abundance of health benefits especially known for their digestive properties. You can read the uses and benefits of Ajwain or carom seeds here.
- Alma – Also known as Indian gooseberries you will find it in the form of whole fruit, juices, paste or added into other food items.
- Neem – It is a type of very bitter leave that is used in alternative treatment and has been part of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Apart from whole leaves that is used for making few dishes, Neem is also available as a capsule or powder that can be taken as a drink.
- Sprouted grains – You can also eat sprouted whole grains like spelt, moong, amaranth etc. Add them to salads, soups.
- Moringa ( leaves and fruit) – Also known as drumstick, is a wonderful vegetable filled with vitamins and minerals. You can use the leaves, seeds, tender pods, roots, and even bark (powder form) to prepare various dishes that will boost your immunity.
Many overlook the benefits of spices as natural health supplements to boost immune system.
They come packed with health benefits, including strengthening immunity and keeping you protected from infections such as bacteria, virus etc.
One of the easiest way to include and use these top Immune system boosting spices is to make an easy homemade curry powder blend.
It is a convenient way to add flavour and health in a pinch.
Unfortunately, spices are underused and many are not aware of the use of spices as a supplementary health booster and not just flavour enhancer.
Everyday common spices such as cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, turmeric, paprika and ginger are an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins that can naturally boost your immune system and keep you in shining health!