Boost Your Immune System With These Great Vegetables

Winter is upon us and a lot of us are..

Boost Your Immune System With These Great Vegetables

Winter is upon us and a lot of us are getting a cold. Wouldn’t it be great if you could help prevent getting a cold this year?

You all know that eating vegetables has amazing benefits, but did you know they can fight diseases and other illnesses.

Fill your plate and you will see amazing benefits…

Mushrooms 

medley-mushrooms

  • Weight management: One study found that substituting red meat with white button mushrooms can help enhance weight loss. Obese participants with a mean age of just over 48 years ate approximately one cup of mushrooms per day in place of meat. The control group ate a standard diet without mushrooms.

At the end of the 12-month trial, the intervention group had lost an average of 3.6 percent of their starting weight, or about seven pounds. They also showed improvements in body composition, such as reduced waist circumference, and ability to maintain their weight loss. Compared to the control group.

  • Improved nutrition: One dietary analysis found that mushroom consumption was associated with better diet quality and improved nutrition.
  • Increasing vitamin D levels through your diet: Consuming dried white button mushroom extract was found to be as effective as taking supplemental vitamin D2 or D3 for increasing vitamin D levels (25-hydroxyvitamin D).
  • Improved immune system function: Long chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha and beta glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms’ beneficial effect on your immune system. In one study. Adding one or two servings of dried shiitake mushrooms was found to have a beneficial, modulating effect on immune system function. Another study done on mice found that white button mushrooms enhanced the adaptive immunity response to salmonella.

Garlic

garlic-with-parsley-leaves

Garlic Fights Inflammation, Protecting Against Numerous Conditions

Research shows that anti-inflammatory compounds in garlic can also benefit our musculoskeletal system and respiratory system. Two sulfur containing constituents in garlic, diallyl sulfide (DAS) and thiacremonone, have anti-arthritic properties. Garlic has also been shown to improve inflammatory conditions when referring to allergic airway inflammation.

Surprisingly, the sulfur-containing compounds in garlic may even help the inflammatory aspects of obesity. Fat cells cannot grow 100% unless they are able to move from a preliminary stage called “preadipocytes” to a stage called “adipocytes.” As you may have guessed, thanks to one of the sulfur compounds in garlic, garlic halts this progress. The sulfur compound is 1,2,-vinyldithiin, or 1,2-DT, and the impact of 1,2-DT appears to be inflammation-related. This is exciting because inflammation is being recognized more and more as being a part of obesity.

Garlic for Detoxification

Another one of the many health benefits of garlic, this food may also be used to detoxify – an extremely important method everyone should be doing to cleanse the body of toxins. While the benefits of garlic for liver health and beyond are many, one reason for its superior effects has to do with the fact that garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that are known to activate the liver enzymes responsible for expelling toxins from the body.

Another lies in the presence of both allicin and selenium, two important nutrients that play an integral role in the protection of the liver from damage

It is also important to note that many cancers are thought to be caused by damage to DNA, which could be the result of exposure to environmental toxins. One study conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that eating a teaspoon of fresh garlic and a half cup of onions per day could remove toxins in the blood cells due to an increased production of a key toxin-removing enzyme.

These are only some of the health benefits of garlic.

Other Health Benefits of Garlic
  • Toothache – Among many home remedies for toothache, the use of garlic has been passed down for years to treat this issue; the antibiotic compound called allicin is what give garlic this ability. When garlic is crushed, this compound is released, helping to slow bacterial activity upon application and ingestion. Try applying a crushed garlic clove or garlic powder to the area. It may burn, but the pain from the toothache could vanish within minutes, although it could take hours. Repeat this over a few days, and you all should be well.
  • Repel mosquitoes – Although not conclusive, there is a long history of using garlic to get rid of many insects. Garlic has a reputation for protecting people from mosquito bites, specifically.
  • Warts – Each night before bed, crush up a clove of garlic, rub it on the wart, and apply a bandage. Additionally, cover the wart with juice from garlic twice a day.
  • Earache – Mix some sesame oil with a garlic clove and warm the mixture up in a pan. Afterwards, use it as ear drops. It is recommended that you allow the mixture to sit in the ear for 10 minutes or longer.
  • Cough – Boiling cloves of garlic and drinking it like tea will not only make it easier to breathe, but it will also help to alleviate itchiness which could cause you to cough continuously. Check out other home remedies for cough here.

Sweet Potatoes

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Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like sweet potatoes decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Diabetes

Sweet potatoes are considered low on the glycemic index scale, and recent research suggests they may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes a big difference too. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on).

The Dietary Guidelines recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men, which most people do not reach.

Blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults are meeting the daily 4,700 mg recommendation for potassium. One medium sweet potato provides about 542 milligrams.

Also of note, high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.7

Cancer

Among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition. Beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.

Digestion and regularity

Because of its high fiber content, sweet potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Fertility

For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, according Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.

Immunity

Plant foods like sweet potatoes that are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients.

Spinach

fresh-spinach

Spinach has an extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.

Other pros are:
  • The flavonoids and antioxidants found in spinach, particularly the antioxidant beta-carotene, have been shown in multiple studies to help combat many cancers, including breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. Spinach also boosts eye health and has strong anti-ageing properties.
  • A recent study found a bowl of spinach every day increases muscle efficiency. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found participants who consumed 300 grams of spinach a day reduced the amount of oxygen required to power their muscles while exercising by five per cent. The effect was noticable after just three days of spinach consumption.
  • Spinach may reduce the risk of skin cancer, according to researchers from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. Researchers found green leafy vegetables such as spinach and silver beet are linked with a   reduction in the risk of skin cancer, particularly among those with a previous history of the disease.

Is there any reasons not to eat spinach?

The cons:
  • Spinach is high in oxalic acid, which can bind with iron and calcium and cause your body to absorb less of these nutrients. Consuming foods rich in vitamin C. Such as tomatoes, capsicum, lemon juice or orange juice along with spinach can aid this absorption. Spinach is high in fibre, but too much of it can cause digestive problems such as bloating, gas and cramping.
  • Spinach is also associated with an increased risk of kidney stones, but only in people who are predisposed to the condition.
How to use spinach

To get the most nutritional benefit when cooking spinach, steam it or cook lightly in a small amount of water.

Asparagus 

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Heart health

Asparagus is good for your ticker in a variety of ways. Flores noted, “Asparagus is extremely high in vitamin K, which helps blood clot. And the vegetable’s high level of B vitamins helps regulate the amino acid homocysteine. Too much of which can be a serious risk factor in heart disease. According to Harvard University School of Public Health. 

Asparagus also has more than 1 gram of soluble fiber per cup. Which lowers the risk of heart disease, and the amino acid asparagine helps flush your body of excess salt. Lastly, asparagus has excellent anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of antioxidants, both of which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Regulating blood sugar

The Mayo Clinic notes that vitamin B6 may affect blood sugar levels and advises caution for people who have diabetes or low blood sugar. However, those with healthy levels can benefit from asparagus’s ability to regulate it.

Lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes

As with heart disease, risk of type 2 diabetes increases with excessive inflammation and oxidative stress. Therefore, asparagus’ impressive anti-inflammatory properties and high levels of antioxidants make it a good preventive food. A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition also suggested that asparagus’ ability to improve insulin secretion and improve beta-cell function also helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Beta cells are unique cells in the pancreas that produce, store and release insulin.

Anti-aging benefits

The antioxidant glutathione is thought to slow the aging process, according to a 1998 article in The Lancet journal. And the folate that asparagus provides works with B12 to prevent cognitive decline. A Tufts University study found that older adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better during a test of response speed and mental flexibility than those with lower levels of folate and B12.

Skin

Yet another amazing thing about the antioxidant glutathione: it helps protect the skin from sun damage and pollution.

Keeping you cleansed and preventing kidney stones

Asparagus can act as a natural diuretic, according to a 2010 study published in the West Indian Medical Journal. This can help rid the body of excess salt and fluid. Making it especially good for people suffering from edema and high blood pressure. It also helps flush out toxins in kidneys and prevent kidney stones. On the other hand. The National Institutes of Health recommends that people who are suffering from uric acid kidney stones should avoid asparagus.

Pregnancy health 

Nutritionist Laura Flores noted asparagus’s significant amount of folate, which she said “is important for women of childbearing age to consume daily. Folate can decrease the risk of neural-tube defects in fetuses, so it is essential that mothers-to-be get enough of it.

Digestive health

“Asparagus is known to help stabilize digestion due to the high amount of fiber and protein that it contains,” said Flores. “Both help move food through the gut and provide relief from discomfort during digestion.”

According to The Ohio State University, asparagus contains inulin, a unique dietary fiber associated with improved digestion. Inulin is a prebiotic; it does not get broken down and digested until it reaches the large intestine. There, it nurtures bacteria known to improve nutrient absorption, decrease allergies and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Cancer risk

Antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which are found in great quantities in asparagus, are typically associated with decreased risk of cancers.

Here are some amazing vegetables to boost your immune system, have we missed some? Comment below.

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Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

We eat clean, are always motivated and helpout beginners in need. We sell guides on Cutting, Bulking and Muscle Building. Checkout our website!

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