5 Immunity Boosting Herbs To Add To Your Diet

By Chelsea Becker

Cold and flu season is upon us. I don't know about you, but I find myself washing my hands way more often - along with dodging coughs and sneezes from co-workers and friends. There are a bunch of ways to boost your immunity - getting more sleep, eating healthier - but incorporating powerful herbs really is one of the best ways to prevent getting sick. Here are 5 immunity boosting herbs to add to your diet:

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  1. Echinacea - You've probably heard that taking echinacea is helpful to take while sick - but if taken during cold and flu season, it can actually prevent you from getting sick in the first place. This antiviral and antibacterial herb contains polysaccharides that increase the body's production of white blood cells, which fight infection. The easiest way to incorporate echinacea is in tea form.
  2. Ginseng - Most of us think of ginseng as an herb that's supposed to boost memory, but did you know it can also help strengthen your immunity? Some people swear by having a bowl of Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup) when they start to feel under the weather. Sounds delish!
  3. Ginger - Ayurvedic medicine has long praised ginger for its ability to boost the immune system. Sounds kind of crazy, but it's believed that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down all those toxins lingering around in your organs. It's also known to detox the lymphatic system (aka your body's cleansing system). Add fresh ginger to your morning smoothies or green juices - it also does a pretty good job at covering up the taste of bitter greens.
  4. Garlic - Getting your daily intake of vegetables is important, and garlic is one vegetable you don't want to skip. Garlic is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory (what does it not do?). Eating garlic can boost the number of virus-fighting cells in your bloodstream - super important since colds and the flu are caused by viruses. Garlic goes well in pretty much any recipe, so it's extra easy to incorporate. PS - ever wondered what makes garlic smell so strong? It's actually sulfur, which also plays a huge role in boosting your immunity!
  5. Astragalus - Works as an anti-inflammatory? Check. Contains high levels of antioxidants? Check. Might help slow and prevent the growth of tumors? Check. Astragalus might not be as well-known as these other herbs, but it's deserving of much more credit. A popular way to incorporate this powerhouse herb is in soup. Give this miso immunity soup recipe a try - it's so yum!

What are your favorite herbs to boost immunity? Have any good recipes to share for incorporating them into your diet?