Honey, lemon, ginger: do they strengthen immunity?


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You probably know many folk remedies for colds and vitaminized products that promise to “boost” immunity. Which tips are correct, and which are more like fairy tales? Let’s deal with the book “Immunity.

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Echinacea – to prevent colds and flu.

There is a lot of evidence of the positive effect of the use of echinacea for the treatment and prevention of colds. But scientists still haven’t come to a consensus. The difficulty is that there are three species of this plant, and each part of it contains different active ingredients. This means that there are more than 800 products of echinacea, information about which is very little. There is also no consensus on the best formula for taking, dosage, and duration. In addition, the drug may interact with some medications.

Echinacea magenta, as studies show, is the most beneficial for health, as well as this type, which the German government recently approved as a preventive remedy for the common cold because it has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Spicy food helps to sweat.

Some believe that spicy food heals because the disease comes out with sweat. Capsaicin, a component of chili peppers that causes a burning sensation, helps with nasal congestion, and reduces inflammation as it reduces symptoms. It is also clinically valuable as a painkiller. In addition, the curry containing it helps with poor health and saves from moping, and vegetables with spices – a great way to get both antioxidants, fiber, and polyphenols.

Elderflower strengthens immunity

Elderflower’s antiviral properties are helpful in winter and have been used for thousands of years as a medicine to reduce pain and inflammation and as food. Studies show that elderflower syrup significantly reduces the duration and intensity of symptoms of respiratory infections. Moreover, when comparing elderflower extract and the well-known influenza drug, the first was more effective. Some elderflower components help prevent viruses from entering cells.

However, the anti-infective effects of elderflower are minimal and vastly inflated by PR, which is financed by companies producing commercial elderflower products. Of course, this does not negate research and clinical trial results but creates some conflict of interest.

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Honey, lemon, and ginger: super trio

This trio has stood the test of time. Like honey, lemon, and ginger have been used for generations. But none of the components cures common cold, and there is almost no actual evidence that they accelerate recovery.

Although speaking of honey, it was more effective than dextromethorphan in the fight against a cough in children (the active ingredient of most cough medicines). At the same time, the National Health Service of Great Britain recommends honey, not antibiotics, as a cough remedy. In addition to scientific evidence, in combination with a hot drink, this ancient super trio soothes and retains fluid in the body, so it is quite entitled to exist as a cheaper alternative to over-the-counter medicines. But don’t expect a miracle from him.

Garlic – food and medicine

Garlic contains compounds that improve the ability of immune cells to fight germs and help prevent infection. For centuries it has been used both for food and as a medicine. As early as 3000 BC, Assyrians and Sumerians treated garlic fever, inflammation, and trauma. Almost all studies confirm its practical use. It is a powerful antioxidant and antibiotic that fights strains of staphylococcus, the microbes that cause staph infections.

However, many studies confirming the properties of garlic have not been carried out at the proper level, and it is still unclear whether it is necessary to eat garlic to see its beneficial effect constantly. A recent study of the results of eating 90 days of aged garlic showed that participants had significantly more T cells and NK cells – natural killers that play the role of heavy artillery in the fight against infections. However, the properties of garlic change during thermal treatment. To optimize all phytonutrients, fresh garlic, after grinding for a while, soak will allow allin to ferment into beneficial allicin – the main active ingredient.

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Turmeric – to fight infections.

Turmeric is popular in the health media, but do you need to succumb to this hype? It does have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have proven clinically effective in treating certain diseases (e.g., some forms of arthritis). However, the media often exaggerate these claims, turning turmeric into a universal cure for all ailments. Most of the research is devoted to curcumin, one of the active ingredients of turmeric, but this spice contains more than 300 compounds, and turmeric without curcumin is also clinically effective. And if you use this root for food, take the whole thing. Interestingly, raw turmeric seems to have a more potent anti-inflammatory effect, and cooked better protects against oxidative damage. It also inhibits viruses from entering cells.

The regular addition of this spice to the food helps prevent infections. However, the problem is bioavailability. Turmeric should be eaten with fats and a pinch of black pepper. Then it significantly improves digestion.

Chicken broth

Chicken broth has been part of the human diet ever since people learned to cook chicken. It was prescribed from cold in ancient Egypt; it was considered an effective medicine in the Middle Ages. The 12th-century Jewish physician Moses Maimonides recommended it to remedy all diseases, from hemorrhoids to leprosy, so the chicken broth is called Jewish penicillin. Until recently, there was no scientific evidence of the therapeutic effect of broth. However, it was recommended to all at the first signs of the disease. Technically, it is not a drug supplement, but the broth is one of the most effective products for improving well-being. This is probably due to several components, such as carnosine, which can modulate the immune response in human neutrophils, helping to remove mucus and relieve inflammation of the airways.

When cooking chicken formed a drug similar to acetylcysteine, which is usually prescribed for respiratory diseases, the broth even lowers blood pressure because collagen proteins exhibit effects similar to ACE inhibitors; anyway, it’s been shown by animal studies. In addition, chicken broth soothes, is tasty with vegetables, herbs, and spices, helps the body maintain a balance of fluids.

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