If you are diabetic, you have at least an 80% chance of also having issues with the levels of your cholesterol. Adding red yeast rice to your diet as a foodstuff or a dietary supplement may make sense. Here’s the lowdown.Continue reading “Can Red Yeast Rice really lower cholesterol ?”
Berberine, derived from plants, has been found to help reduce blood glucose and blood pressure level. It has other clinically proven properties that benefit other medical conditions. It is also surrounded by a lot of unproven hype. Here’s the story …Continue reading “Can Berberine help Diabetics?”
The concept of the dosha is at the core of the Ayurveda. Determining your personal dosha with precision is best left to an expert but there is no harm in trying to decide what it is yourself. Here’s how!Continue reading “How to determine your unique personal dosha yourself”
The personalised diet you’ll enjoy as the client of an ayurvedic consultant will help you control your diabetes. However, it needs to be modified by your consultant to eliminate food stuffs that are not compatible with a low-fat, low-sugar diet.Continue reading “Can the Ayurvedic diet help control blood glucose levels?”
The Ayurveda is an ancient Indian lifestyle that has been proven over long millennia. But can it help you control you blood glucose levels and beat diabetes? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’, subject to reservations about certain aspects of the dietary recommendations. Here’s what you need to know about Ayurveda …Continue reading “How Ayurveda can help diabetics”
The key to beating type 2 diabetes is knowledge of the disease. For this reason I urge you to watch, entirely FREE of charge, the online Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series, a string of interviews with more than 20 of the best health and wellness experts around. Here’s what you’ll learn and how you can sign up.
My friend, Debbie Movsesian, a superb organiser, has brought together 20+ top health and wellness experts for this free educational series on learning the truth about reversing type 2 diabetes and discovering simple, effective ways to lose weight, free yourself of chronic disease (such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases) and live a longer, healthier, more abundant, and happier life.
The online Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series
From: September 28th to October 18th, 2020
Attendance online is 100% FREE
Hosted by Debbie Movsesian who interviews 20+ pre-eminent experts
The interviewees include well-known doctors, nutritionists, chefs and other experts such as:
- Dr Neal Barnard, the pioneer in ‘reversing’ diabetes (who inspired me)
- Dr Colin Zhu, chef and lifestyle medicine physician
- Wes Youngberg, lifestyle medicine specialist
- Robby Barbaro and Cyrus Khambatta, diabetes experts from Mastering Diabetes
- Chef AJ, about permanent weight loss
The full list of experts is shown in the image at the top of this post.
These experts will cover a wide range of topics relating to type 2 diabetes and allied chronic diseases, including:
- Insulin resistance and how to reverse it
- Plant-based food you’ll love to eat
- Using life-style medicine to combat disease
- Managing stress, weight loss, and more
- Health disparities in Western medicine
- How to lose weight with a full plate
The series will begin on September the 28th this year and each interview will be 45 to 60 minutes long, one interview per day. Recordings of the interviews will be available later, so there is no need to attend every day, provided you have signed up.
I urge you to sign up and attend. You will add significantly to your knowledge of how to reverse diabetes, more than you can get by reading my blog and my book Beating Diabetes.
Your take-away will include:
- Learning the truth about reversing type 2 diabetes
- Discovering simple, effective ways to lose weight
- Finding out how to avoid other chronic diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s etc
- Understanding how you can live a longer, healthier, more abundant life
As you are member of the Beating Diabetes club, I know that your health means a great deal to you. You aspire to a life without pain and suffering, without medications. You are determined to have the freedom to be active and do all the things you long to do … live life to the fullest while feeling great in your body, knowing that you’ll be living a long, abundant and happy life.
With the right education you can reverse or prevent diabetes or a host of other chronic diseases and enjoy the life you deserve.
The Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series will provide you with the knowledge you need.
So I urge you to sign up right now by clicking this link
Red kidney beans are a great source of protein (8.5 grams in a cup), dietary fibre, and a wide variety of essential micro-nutrients. They are fat free and make an ideal ingredient in a diabetic’s diet. So how do you get them into your stomach? … here are a few easy but delicious and nutritious recipes.
Red kidney beans come in three basic forms … fresh, dried and canned. In the supermarket you are unlikely to be able to find fresh beans but should not have problem in finding dried and canned beans.
Caution … raw kidney beans contain large amounts of phytohemagglutinin, a toxic protein that can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. You can only get rid of this toxin by soaking the beans in water for at least 5 hours (or overnight, preferably) and throwing out the water, and then boiling the beans in fresh water for at least ten minutes at 1000C (2120F). Rest assured that properly prepared red kidney beans are safe to eat and very nutritious.
How to rehydrate red kidney beans
When you buy dried kidney beans, you have to rehydrate them before you can cook them. There are several ways you can rehydrate dried beans all of which are very easy to do but take a bit of time. The only equipment you need is a stockpot.
A stockpot is a wide pot with a flat bottom, straight sides, a wide opening to the full diameter of the pot, two handles on the sides, and a lid with a handle on top.
Dried kidney beans come from a farm so they are likely to need a good clean out before you start rehydrating them … lay them out on a flat surface such as a large tray and remove any foreign matter or shrivelled beans. Once you have finished cleaning them, they’ll be ready for soaking.
When soaking, use approximately 10 cups of water for 450 grams (1 pound) of dried kidney beans.
Slow soak … this method will take 8 hours or more but it is very thorough:
- Put the beans into the stockpot with the water
- Cover the pot
- Place the pot in the refrigerator and leave it there overnight or longer (minimum of 8 hours)
- Pour out the water and rinse the beans properly in fresh water
Flatulence-free slow soak … according to the Mayo Clinic this method will eliminate 90% of the indigestible fibres (alpha-galactosides) that cause flatulence when you eat red kidney beans:
- Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
- Put the beans into the boiling water
- Bring to the boil again and boil for three more minutes
- Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature overnight, ie a minimum of 8 hours
- Pour out the water and rinse the beans thoroughly in fresh water
Both these methods take a lot of time to complete. Here are two quicker ways to rehydrate the beans.
Hot soak … this way will take about 3 hours:
- Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
- Put the beans into the boiling water
- Bring to the boil again and then remove from the heat
- Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours
- Pour out the water and thoroughly rinse the beans in fresh water
Quick soak … this will take a bit over one hour overall
- Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
- Put the beans to the boiling water
- Bring to the boil again and boil for three more minutes
- Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature for one hour
- Pour out the water and thoroughly rinse the beans in fresh water
How to prepare canned red kidney beans
As stated in my previous article Why you should eat red kidney beans, you may use canned (tinned) beans which have already been cooked. The only drawback is that tinned beans have a much higher sodium content as salt is added as a preservative during canning.
You may be able find low sodium varieties. If not, you can drain and rinse the beans thoroughly using a colander under free-flowing cold water … this will get rid of up to 40% of the sodium content.
But note that draining and rinsing canned beans can remove other micro-nutrients, such as the water-soluble B vitamins or vitamin C. You can get around this by adding other healthy foods, such as carrots, onions, bell peppers and celery, to your meal to boost its nutritional value.
Recipes for meals with red kidney beans
Red kidney beans are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of prepared foods and meals, such as:
- Soups and broths
Here are a few recipes I have tested myself. They are all highly nutritious and easy to do, though the last one is a trifle complex and requires a bit of work.
Red kidney bean broths and soups
Broth (aka bouillon) is a savoury liquid made of water in which bones, meat, or vegetables have been simmered. Soup is a broth to which other ingredients, vegetables, meat or fish, have been added.
The secret in creating delicious broths and soups is in the judicious choosing of ingredients. Kidney beans can add nutrition and flavour to any broth or soup. Just throw them in.
Here’s a slightly complex Red Kidney Bean & Vegetable soup, enough for four people:
What you’ll need to make red kidney bean and vegetable soup:
- 1x tablespoon of olive oil
- 1x yellow onion, chopped
- 1x garlic clove, minced
- 2x carrots, chopped
- 2x teaspoons of sodium-free chili powder
- 1x teaspoon of ground cumin
- 4x cups of low-sodium low-fat chicken OR vegetable broth
- 2x 425-gram (15 ounces) tins (cans) of low-sodium kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1x cup of frozen whole kernel corn
- 1/4x teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1x 410-gram (14.5 ounce) tin (can) of low-sodium stewed tomatoes
You’ll also need a large stock pot.
How to make red kidney bean and vegetable soup
- Put the stewed tomatoes and one can of kidney beans in a blender or food processor
- Puree until smooth and set aside
- Heat the large pot over medium heat, and warm up the olive oil
- Add the chopped yellow onion, minced garlic and chopped carrots
- Cook, stirring as necessary, until tender (about 5 minutes)
- Add the chili powder and ground cumin and stir constantly for about one minute
- Add the chicken or vegetable broth, the second can of kidney beans, frozen whole kernel corn and the freshly ground black pepper, and bring the lot back up to the boil
- Add the pureed tomatoes and kidney beans (from steps 1]and 2) to the soup and bring the lot back up to the boil again
- Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Cool and enjoy !
Note … you can tweak this recipe as you see fit and to taste by varying the ingredients, adding or reducing them.
Red kidney bean salads
Salads made with beans are very dense in macro- and micro-nutrients relative to the calories you get from eating them. Creating really tasty salads can range from quick and simple to highly complex.
Here’s a simple one that will take less than 10 minutes to prepare.
Red kidney bean quick salad
This high protein salad can be eaten as a main course, minor course or a side-dish. And it would be perfect in your lunchbox. It’s enough for two people.
What you’ll need for the salad:
- 400g (14oz) of canned kidney beans
- 200g (7oz) of sweet yellow corn
- Half a cucumber
- A good handful of fresh parsley
- One spring onion
- 100g of feta cheese
You’ll also need a large bowl.
How to make the kidney bean salad
- Defrost the corn if it was frozen and put it in the bowl
- Rinse and drain the kidney beans and add to the bowl
- Dice the cucumber into small pieces and add to the bowl
- Chop the parsley finely and add to the bowl
- Chop the onion into tiny pieces and add to the bowl
- Mix all the ingredients in the bowl well
The salad is now ready waiting for the dressing.
What you’ll need for the kidney bean salad dressing:
- Half a lime
- 2x tbsp of olive oil
- 1x tsp of mustard powder
- 1x tsp of cumin
- 1/2x tsp of dried oregano
- 1x tsp of honey
- Pepper to taste
You’ll also need a small bowl.
How to make and add the dressing for the kidney bean salad
- Add all the ingredients into the small bowl one after the other
- Stir well until mixed thoroughly
- Check the dressing for taste and when satisfied:
- Add the dressing to the salad
- Stir it all together well
- Add the feta cheese by crumbling it over the salad
- Now give it a final good stir
That’s it … eat and enjoy
But note that if you keep it in the ‘fridge for a few hours it will taste even better as the salad absorbs the flavours of the dressing. It will taste even better the next day.
You will find hundreds, if not thousands, of really terrific recipes for salads on the internet.
Red kidney bean hummus
This classic of the Middle East is usually made with chickpeas. There are many ways in which you can vary the basic recipe. Using red kidney beans instead of chickpeas results in a very creamy hummus that tastes absolutely delicious. And it is a cinch to make.
What you’ll need for the red bean hummus:
- 1x can (400g/14oz) of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1x clove garlic
- 2x tsp olive oil
- 1x tsp water
- 1/2x tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Perhaps some black pepper to taste
You also need a food processor or blender.
How to make the red kidney bean hummus
- Blend all the ingredients together in the food processor until smooth
- Pour into a bowl
- Cover and store it in the ‘fridge for a few hours before eating it
Note … it will keep well in the ‘fridge up to a week.
Red kidney bean burgers
These red kidney bean burgers are highly nutritious … full of protein (about 7%) and dietary fibre (another 7%) and with minimal sugar, they are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and fat-free, making them perfect for diabetics.
And best of all, these burgers are really easy to make.
What you’ll need for the red kidney bean burgers:
- 1x can (400g/14oz) of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2x tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1x tbsp yellow mustard
- 1x tsp garlic powder
- 1x tsp onion powder
- 1/3x cup gluten-free quick oats
How to make the red kidney bean burgers
- Preheat your oven to 200oC (400oF)
- Spray a baking tray with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper, and put it aside
- Mash beans thoroughly in mixing bowl until there are no whole beans left
- Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until they are well mixed
- Divide mixture into 4 parts of approximately equal size and roll them into balls, first making sure your hands are clean
- Place the burger balls on the baking sheet, and flatten them with the palm of your hand
- Bake for 10 minutes, and then turn to bake on the other side for another 10 minutes
Red kidney bean curry
Curry, that great favourite of the English palate, originated in India and is a triumph of the art of Indian cuisine.
Eating red kidney beans is a great way to get protein into your diet and for that purpose, this curry is ideal. It is a delightfully creamy comfort dish and is suitable for vegans and diabetics. You can vary the spices to suit your taste buds and you surely will once you have made this curry a few times. This recipe is quite thick; if you prefer a more liquid curry, just add more water.
Note … the red kidney beans soak up all the spices if the curry is kept in a ‘fridge over night for consumption the next day. This recipe makes enough for two people.
What you’ll need for the red kidney bean curry:
- 1x cup of dried kidney Beans
- 1x onion, finely chopped
- 1/2x chopped green chili
- 2x tsp canola oil
- 1x tsp cumin seeds
- 1x bay leaf
- 1/2x cinnamon stick
- 1/2x tsp minced garlic
- 1/2x tsp minced ginger
- 1x tsp coriander powder
- 1x tsp curry powder (garam masala)
- 1 tsp paprika or red chili powder
- 1/2x tsp turmeric
- 1x cup tomato puree
- 4x cups water (or more for a thinner curry)
- fresh coriander as garnish
You will also need a pressure cooker with a good whistle on it.
Note … you can use canned red kidney beans and skip the first step below.
How to make the red kidney bean curry
There’s a bit of work involved in making this curry compared to the other recipes in this article … but the effort is worth it.
- Soak the dried kidney beans in a stockpot with enough water overnight (minimum 6 hours) … skip this step if you are using canned red kidney beans (thoroughly cleaned)
- Put the beans into a pressure cooker along with 3 cups of water
- Stir and cook on high for 2-3 whistles
- Set the heat to medium and cook for another 10-15 minutes until soft
- Discard the water in which the beans were cooked
- Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat, and add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick to the hot oil
- Sauté for a minute or so
- Add the finely chopped onions and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until translucent
- Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the rough smell goes away
- Now add the green chilli, tomato puree and mix well
- Cook for 10 minutes, or until tomato puree is cooked properly
- Now add the coriander powder, red chilli powder and curry powder and mix well
- Cook for 2 minutes
- Then add the prepared kidney beans and mix all together
- Add 1.5 cups of water (or more) to the curry
- Cover the pan and cook the kidney beans curry for 10 minutes on medium-low heat
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately with rice or Indian roti
Bonne Appetit !!!
For a few simple reasons … they help fight diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. In addition they are protein rich and contain lots of good fibre, and can help you lose weight. They are an ideal food for diabetics. Here are the science-backed verified facts.
Red in colour and shaped just like the kidneys of an animal or human, red kidney beans are commonly added to soups, stews, salads and other meals in most countries. You can buy them fresh, canned, or dried, and the nutrition they deliver means they should always be part of a healthy diet.
Nutrition facts of red kidney beans
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of boiled kidney beans contains:
- Water … 67%
- Calories … 127
- Protein … 8.7g (8.7%)
- Fat … 0.5g (0.5%)
- Carbohydrates … 22.8g (22.8%) of which;
- Sugar … 0.3g (0.3%)
- Fibre … 6.4g (6.4%)
As you can see, with moderate calories and very small amount of fat and sugar, as well as loads of fibre, these beans are an ideal part of a diet for diabetics. In addition, red kidney beans contain lots of beneficial micronutrients such as folate, iron and manganese.
Protein … kidney beans are rich in protein. A 100g has nearly 9 grams of protein, which is 27% of the total calorie content.
Carbohydrates … starchy carbs account for about 72% of the total calorie count in red kidney beans. Bean starch is a slow-release carb (ie, it has a low GI). It causes a lower and more gradual rise in blood glucose compared to other starches. Thus, red kidney beans are especially beneficial for those of us who have type 2 diabetes.
Fibre … red kidney beans are particularly high in fibre, including substantial amounts of resistant starch, a prebiotic. Prebiotics move through you colon until they reach you colon where they are fermented by beneficial bacteria. This fermentation results in the formation of short-chain fatty acids, which may improve the health of your colon and reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Micro-nutrients … red kidney beans are rich in various vitamins and minerals. These include … molybdenum … folate (aka vitamin B6 or folic acid) … iron (but the phytate in these beans may mean that iron is absorbed poorly) … copper … manganese … potassium, and … vitamin K1, which is important for blood coagulation.
Health benefits of eating red kidney beans
By incorporating red kidney beans in your diet, you can experience substantial health benefits. These include:
- Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Better control of blood glucose levels
- Protecting cells from damage
- Helping to prevent and treat some cancers
- Reduced risk of obesity
Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes … kidney beans have a much lower GI (glycemic index) than other carb-rich foods, probably due to the fibre and resistant starch they contain. The glycemic index is a measure of the speed with which individual foods increase blood glucose levels after you eat them.
A 4-year study of 3,349 people found that consuming large amounts of legumes and lentils was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study also found that eating half a serving of legumes a day instead of a similar sized serving of eggs, bread, rice or baked potatoes was linked to a lower risk of developing diabetes.
It seems obvious that eating red kidney beans instead of other high-carb foods can reduce blood glucose levels in both those who are and who are not type 2 diabetic.
Better control of your blood glucose levels … according to a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding pulses to your diet, such as red kidney beans, could reduce your fasting blood sugar and insulin, thus supporting control of blood glucose in the long-term.
Protecting cells from damage … red kidney beans are a great source of antioxidants, compounds that help neutralise free radicals, thus reducing inflammation and protecting cells from damage and disease. Foods high in antioxidants may also help prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancers and autoimmune disorders.
Improving heart health … research suggests that eating plenty of legumes, such as red kidney beans, as part of a healthy diet can reduce levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.
In addition, other studies have shown that eating legumes can reduce markers of inflammation, many of which contribute to chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Other research indicates that eating plenty of legumes as part of a healthy diet can reduce levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.
Helping to prevent and treat some cancers … eating kidney beans is a good source of flavanols, plant compounds that act as antioxidants. According to a study published in 2009, consuming higher amounts of flavanols is linked to a lower risk of advanced adenomas (a type of tumour from which cancer of the colon can develop).
In vitro research published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules found that certain compounds in white kidney beans were able to block the growth and spread of cancer cells. This suggests that kidney beans may be a powerful food for fighting cancer.
Reduced your risk of obesity … several observational studies have linked the consumption of beans to a lower risk of being overweight or obese. A 2-month study of 30 obese adults on a weight loss diet found that eating beans and other legumes four times a week led to greater loss than a bean-free diet.
Another study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition stated that increased consumption of beans may be linked to improved nutrition, lower body weight and reduced belly fat.
Kidney beans are high in dietary fibre and protein. Fibre moves through the body slowly thus prolonging feelings of satiety. Protein has been shown to reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates feelings of hunger.
Risks and side-effects from eating red kidney beans
Eating red kidney beans is not all dietary heaven … problems include:
Flatulence … when eating kidney beans some people experience unpleasant side effects such as flatulence, bloating and diarrhoea. These effects are due to alpha-galactosides, ie insoluble fibres. Alpha-galactosides can be removed, at least partially, by soaking and sprouting the beans.
Toxicity … raw kidney beans contain large amounts of phytohemagglutinin, a toxic protein. Though this protein is found in many beans, it is particularly high in red kidney beans. Symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting.
To get rid of this toxin, soak and cook the beans … soak them in water for at least 5 hours (or overnight, preferably) and boil them for at least ten minutes at 1000C (2120F). Properly prepared red kidney beans are safe to eat and very nutritious.
Antioxidants … are substances that reduce nutritional value by impairing the absorption of nutrients from your digestive tract. The main antinutrients in red kidney beans are:
- Phytic acid … aka phytate … impairs the absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc.
- Protease inhibitors … aka trypsin inhibitors … inhibit the function of various digestive enzymes, impairing the digestion of protein.
- Starch blockers … aka alpha-amylase inhibitors … impair the absorption of carbohydrates from your digestive tract.
All these antinutrients are completely or partially inactivated when beans are soaked and cooked properly. Fermenting and sprouting the beans may reduce some antinutrients, eg phytic acid, even further.
How to cook red kidney beans
Red kidney beans come in three basic forms … fresh, dried and canned.
You must not eat raw kidney beans unless you want to experience the heady joys associated with bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Ideally, raw beans should be soaked overnight for at least eight hour before cooking. If they are soaked and sprouted before cooking, this will improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Cook for a minimum of one hour to one-and-a-half hours using 3-parts water to 1-part beans.
Rather than cook your own beans, you can buy canned (tinned) beans which have already been cooked. The canned beans are just as nutritious as the raw beans except that they are often much higher in sodium. You should be able find low sodium varieties. If not, you can drain and rinse the beans … this will get rid of up to 41% of the sodium content.
But note that draining and rinsing canned beans could remove other micro-nutrients, such as vitamin C or the B vitamins. You can get around this by adding other healthy foods, such as carrots, onions, bell peppers and celery, to your meal to boost its nutritional value.
So, once you have the beans ready, what can you do with them?
Find out in the next article in this series … Recipes using red kidney beans
As you are a diabetic it is highly likely that your immune system has been compromised and is much weaker than that of a non-diabetic. Thus, you need to strengthen your ability to fight off infections and diseases. There are many ways you can do that.
There are, literally, many, many ways you can go about strengthening your immune system. These approaches can be roughly classified as follows:
- Lifestyle changes
- Food choices
- Dietary supplements
- Essential oils
1] Lifestyle changes to strengthen your immune system
To boost your immune system, one of the first things you need to do is to switch to a healthy lifestyle. That means …
- exercising regularly
- reducing stress
- improving sleep patterns
- cutting down on the booze
- taking personal protective measures
Daily exercise … you need to get off your butt and incorporate as much physical exercise as you have time for into your daily activities in order to strengthen you immune system.
It is a well-known fact that our immune systems get weaker as we grow older … this is called immunosenescence, a gradual deterioration of the immune system.
A study published in Aging Cell in 2018 titled Major features of immunosenescence … are ameliorated by high levels of physical activity in adulthood showed that … for adults aged 55 to 79 and whether or not they have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes … high levels of physical exercise reduce the rate at which immune systems weaken dramatically, though exercise does not prevent it from happening completely.
Stress … to promote your health, you need to minimise your stress levels. Studies show that chronic stress can suppress protective immune responses and exacerbate pathological immune responses.
A study published by the US National Library of Medicine (NIH) in 2014, Effects of stress on immune function, summarised the various effects, good and bad, short-term and long-term stress can have on our lives.
Sleep … you need to make sure that you are getting at least 7 hours sleep a night. When you are not getting enough sleep, your immune system cannot function properly.
A study published in Sleep in 2014, Behaviourally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold, found that adults who slept less than 6 hours a night were 4 times more likely to get a cold in comparison to adults who slept for more than 7 hours.
Alcohol … alcohol has an adverse effect on the health of your gut, decreasing immune function and making you more susceptible to infections. In other words, too much alcohol can have a negative impact on your immune system. To retain a strong immune system you should limit your intake to one or two drinks a week maximum.
Personal protective activities … the best way to protect yourself against any deficiencies in your immune system is to undertake activities that protect you from viruses, bacteria and fungi … this means:
- frequent hand washing
- use of hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
- minimize touching your face … eyes, nose and mouth
- coughing or sneezing into your elbow
- using disposable tissues which you throw away or (preferably) incinerate
- staying out of the way when sick
- seeking medical attention as needed
2] Food and beverages that strengthen your immune system
What you eat and drink can have a very strong impact on your immune system. Here are some with very positive effects on your immune system:
- Green tea
- Bone broth
- Foods rich in vitamin C
- Foods rich in Beta-carotene
Green tea … this beverage contains antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties.
Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you’re exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.
An immunomodulator is a chemical agent that modifies the immune response or the functioning of the immune system.
Because of these properties, green tea works as an antifungal and antivirus agent. Thus, it’ll be helpful if your immune system is compromised. The antioxidants and amino acids in green tea can help your body fight germs … so drink a large cup of good-quality green tea every day. I do.
Bone broth … broth made by boiling bones and connective tissue is another excellent beverage for helping your immune system remain strong. It can be made using cow, chicken or fish bones.
Bone broth supports your immune function by promoting the health of your gut and reducing inflammation caused by leaky gut syndrome. The collagen and amino acids it contains help to seal the openings in the gut lining and support its integrity.
Because the health of your gut plays a major role in the functioning of your immune system, consuming bone broth is an excellent booster food for your immune system.
Ginger … it is believed that the warming effects of ginger help to break down the accumulation of toxins in our organs. Ginger is also well-known for cleansing the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing white blood cells that fight infection, throughout the body.
With their immune-nutrition and anti-inflammatory responses, ginger root and ginger essential oil can treat a wide range of diseases. Indeed a report, Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger published in April 2013 in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, reviewed the current evidence on the effects of ginger as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agent and found that ginger has antimicrobial potential and so can help in treating infectious diseases.
Ginger is also known for its ability to treat inflammatory disorders caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites, as well as inflammation created by heat, acid and cigarette smoke.
Thus, it is quite clear that ginger can boost your immune system and should be added to your regular diet.
Vitamin C … foods rich in vitamin C improve the health of your immune system through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
An enquiry into the Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc, published by the US National Library of Medicine (NIH), found that plenty of vitamin C together with zinc can help reduce respiratory infections and shorten the duration of common colds and bouts of bronchitis.
The best foods for boosting your immune system with vitamin C are … citrus fruits (oranges, lemons and grapefruit) … black currants … guava … bell peppers (red and green) … pineapple … mango … honeydew … parsley etc
Beta-carotene … eating foods rich in beta-carotene is better for boosting your immune system than taking it as a dietary supplement. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant … it reduces inflammation and fights oxidative stress.
The greatest sources of beta-carotene are leafy greens and yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables, including … carrot juice … sweet potatoes … pumpkins … red bell peppers … apricots … kale … spinach … collard greens etc
3] Dietary supplements to strengthen your immune system
You can boost your immune system by addressing nutritional deficiencies with dietary supplements. Here are three supplements that can help immensely:
- vitamin D
Probiotics … a probiotic substance or preparation is a live microorganism introduced into the body for its beneficial qualities. Probiotics are good bacteria that help you digest the nutrients that boost the detoxification of your colon and support your immune system.
The human digestive tract is where food is broken down and nutrients absorbed. The walls of the intestines act as barriers, controlling what enters the bloodstream. Small gaps in the intestinal wall (aka tight junctions) allow water and nutrients to pass through, while blocking the passage of harmful substances. Intestinal permeability refers to how easily substances can pass through the intestinal wall.
When the tight junctions of intestinal walls become loose, the gut becomes more permeable, which can allow bacteria and toxins to pass from the gut into the bloodstream. This is leaky gut.
When the gut is leaky, the bacteria and toxins that enter the bloodstream can cause inflammation and possibly trigger a reaction from the immune system. Leaky gut is a major cause of sensitivities to food, autoimmune disease and immune imbalance or a weakened immune system.
Thus, consuming probiotic foods and supplements to resolve this issue can be important. In fact, research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2014 provided detailed information about how probiotics stimulate our immune system.
Vitamin D … a deficiency in this vitamin is associated with increased autoimmunity (your immune system attacking your own healthy cells and tissues) and increased susceptibility to infection. One way to boost your immune system is to rectify a nutritional deficiency such as that.
Research published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine in August 2011 showed that vitamin D works to promote protective immunity. Indeed, numerous studies have associated lower levels of vitamin D with increased infection.
For example, a study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital covering 19,000 participants (published in 2009) stated that persons with lower levels of vitamin D levels are more likely to report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for variables such as season, age, gender, and so on.
Zinc … these supplements are often sold as over-the-counter remedies for colds and similar illnesses. A study undertaken in 2003 of the Efficacy of zinc against common cold viruses noted that it can interfere with the molecular process that causes the buildup of bacteria in the nasal passages.
4] Herbs that can strengthen your immune system
At least four herbs can be very effective in boosting your immune system:
- Astragalus root
Elderberry … The flowers and berries and flowers of the elder plant have been used as medicine for thousands of years. Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine’, used elderberry for its many health benefits, including its ability to fight colds, the flu, allergies and inflammation.
Elderberry has been proven to help treat the symptoms of common colds and flu that are due to viral infections. This suggests that it has the power to boost the immune system.
Indeed, a study published in the Journal of International Medical Research in March-April 2004, Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections, showed that when elderberry is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, it reduces the duration of the flu, with symptoms being relieved on an average of four days earlier. Plus, the use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with a placebo.
Rescue medication is a medicine intended to relieve symptoms immediately. Rescue medications are most often used for severe allergies, for asthma, or for migraines … aka quick-acting medication and fast-acting medication.
Astragalus root … this root has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a natural substance that helps the body adapt to distress.
Indeed, the astragalus plant has a very long history as an immune booster and disease fighter. Though it has not been studied much, in recent years this member of the legume family has been coming under increased scientific scrutiny.
A review published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine in 2016, Astragalus membranaceus: A Review of its Protection Against Inflammation and Gastrointestinal Cancers, found that astragalus-based treatments demonstrate significant improvement of the toxicity induced by drugs such as immunosuppressants and cancer chemotherapeutics. The researchers concluded that astragalus extract has a beneficial effect on the immune system and that it protects from gastrointestinal inflammation and cancers.
Ginseng … this plant has long been used for keeping the immune system stable and enhancing resistance to illness or infection. Ginseng improves the performance of your immune system by regulating all of the various immune cells in your body.
A study published in the Journal of Ginseng Research in October 2012, Ginseng, the ‘Immunity Boost’: The Effects of Panax ginseng on Immune System, showed that this plant possesses antimicrobial compounds that defend against bacterial and viral infections.
A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine in 2005, Long-term oral administration of ginseng extract modulates humoral immune response and spleen cell functions, found that ginseng extract successfully induces the creation of antigen-specific antibodies when it’s administered orally.
Antibodies bind to antigens, such as toxins or viruses, and keep them from contacting and harming normal cells of the body. Because ginseng plays a role in the production of antibodies, it helps your body fight invading microorganisms or pathogenic antigens.
Echinacea … Native Americans have used this plant for centuries to treat various ailments. Today, it’s best known as an over-the-counter herbal remedy for the common cold or flu. However, it’s also used to treat pain, inflammation, migraines and other health issues. Both the plant’s upper parts and roots are used in tablets, tinctures, extracts and teas.
Echinacea plants contain an impressive variety of active compounds, such as caffeic acid, alkamides, phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid, polyacetylenes and many more. Studies have linked echinacea and their compounds to many health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, improved immunity and lower blood sugar levels. One of the most significant of these benefits is its effects when used on recurring infections.
A study into the safety and efficacy of echinacea in preventing the common cold, published in 2012 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that its effects were maximized when it was used on recurring infections, and its preventive effects increased when it was used to prevent the common cold.
A critical review of the medicinal properties of echinacea conducted at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, published in Phytomedicine in January 2003, found that echinacea demonstrates significant immunomodulatory activities. An immunomodulator is a chemical agent that modifies the immune response or the functioning of the immune system.
On reviewing several dozen experiments on human subjects, including some blind randomized trials, researchers concluded that echinacea has several benefits, including the stimulation of the immune system, especially in the treatment of acute upper respiratory infections.
5] Essential oils to boost your immune system
There are at least two essential oils that can help boost your immune system:
Myrrh … this resin is one of the most used essential oils in the world. For thousands of years, myrrh has been used to stop bleeding, to clean and heal wounds, and to treat hay fever.
A study published in Holistic Nursing Practice in November 2007 found that myrrh’s antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties strengthen the immune system. Another study published in 2012 found that myrrh’s enhanced antimicrobial efficacy was enhanced when it was used against a selection of pathogens in combination with frankincense oil. Researchers expressed their confidence that myrrh oil has anti-infective properties and can help to boost your immune system.
Oregano … the ancient Greeks and Romans associated this herb with joy and happiness. It is used to make an essential oil.
Essential oils are oils that bear the names of the plants from which they are derived. These oils are called essential because they are thought to represent the very essence of the odour and flavour of the particular plant from which they are made.
Oregano oil is an essential oil made from the oregano plant. Research shows it has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Compounds in oregano oil are also potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and cancer-suppressing agents.
Risks involved in strengthening your immune system
You should note that some of these immune-boosting herbs, supplements and essential oils can be extremely potent. Thus, it would be unwise to take them for more than two weeks at a time. And, taking a break in between long sessions is important.
Any time you are using natural remedies such as supplements made from plants you should seek advice from your doctor or other healthcare provider. Do the same if you are pregnant and are using essential oils.