Is it better to boost immunity with real whole food or supplements? Do supplemental Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc improve disease outcomes or prevent disease altogether? Are there herbs and spices or fruits and vegetables which contain compounds that improve immune function?
There are many questions about the efficacy of natural compounds found in food and supplements as immunity boosters and honestly, we at Cobblestone Foods don’t the answers. But, we do know our plant-based soups are made from clean whole food ingredients and are delicious.
Although there is limited research to support the efficacy of dietary supplements to treat or prevent disease, using ‘food as medicine’ is something natural medicine practitioners have been doing since long before the pharmaceutical age came into being. Drug developers look to the research journals for research on potential natural compounds which can be tweaked, tested, patented, and used to create drugs prescribed by conventional medicine doctors. (1)
Building a diet around clean whole real food and food products is an action that we can all take in an effort to maintain or improve our health.
Listed below are food items, known for their anti-viral and immunity boosting properties, including those shown in bold found in the Cobblestone line of plant-based soups.
Vitamins C: Vitamins C is an antioxidant that helps to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Research has also shown Vitamin C to be a powerful anti-viral compound. (2)
Vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli, cauliflower, grapefruit, leafy greens (turnip, mustard, beet, collards), mango, honeydew, kale, kiwi, lemon, orange, papaya, snow peas, strawberries, sweet potato, tomatoes, and bell peppers (especially red).
FUN FACT: The pith of an orange contains just as much vitamin C as the fruit sections!!! So, stop peeling off the flavorless pith and get more vitamin C from your orange! 🙂 (3)
Natural Compounds in Plants: Research on the compounds found in herbs, spices and other plants show they can inhibit the development of viruses within the body. (4)
Immune Boosting Anti-viral plant compounds can be found in oregano, sage, basil, fennel, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, turmeric, echinacea, sambucus, licorice, astragalus, ginseng, dandelion, ginger, garlic, onion, and cinnamon.
Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which are an integral part of the immune system. Research has shown that populations deficient in zinc are more susceptible to poor disease outcomes. (5)
Zinc-rich vegan foods include beans and lentils as well as seeds and nuts, such as cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
FUN FACT: Vitamin D…. is really a hormone!!! And, the best source is FREEEEEE!!!!!!! 🙂 (6)
Vitamin D: Research shows vitamin D may reduce the risk for viral infections, including respiratory tract infections, by reducing production of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body. (7)
Vitamin D is predominately obtained from the sun and through supplementation. Foods containing Vitamin d are sparse, but include mushrooms.
FUN FACT: Mushrooms are classified by the USDA as a vegetable…. but they are really fungi!!! You already knew that though, right? 🙂 (8)
Choosing clean whole real plant-based food at the grocer, farm stand, when preparing meals at home, and when eating out, has been shown to contribute to overall good health and wellness. (9)
It is easy to feel powerless during uncertain times, but with a little bit of information and by making positive changes in diet and lifestyle, YOU can feel empowered and quite possibly make a difference in your health and disease outcomes.
Note: If you are experiencing symptoms of a viral infection and before self treating at home, it’s important to speak to your doctor. The information contained in this post is not intended for use to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
(5) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3514057 & www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3896271/
(7) Grant WB, Lahore H,. McDonnell SL, et al. Vitamin D supplementation could prevent and treat influenza, coronavirus, and pneumonia Infections. Preprints. 2020;2020030235; Chung C, Silwal P, Kim I, Modlin RL, Jo EK. Vitamin D-cathelicidin axis: at the crossroads between protective immunity and pathological inflammation during infection. Immune Netw. 2020;20:e12-38.
(9) Haddad EH, Berk LS, Kettering JD, Hubbard RW, Peters WR. Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with nonvegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(3 Suppl):586S-593S.