In this article, I am sharing my favourite recipe for a super healthy immune-boosting salad. We’ll also look at what the immune system is in simple terms, and why the ingredients in this healthy salad are so good for our health.
Enjoying a healthy plant-based diet, including salads, means that you are getting immune-boosting nutrients such as antioxidants into your body. Plant foods are known to significantly reduce inflammation while keeping the cells of the body in a state of health. Science shows that a totally plant-based diet contains up to 64 times the amount of antioxidants compared to a diet with meat and dairy.
The moral of the story – eat plants to boost your immune system!
The Immune System Made Simple
Every day we come across viruses, bacteria, and disease-causing organisms. Most of us do not fall ill from these organisms because the immune-system (a vast network of special organs, cells, and chemicals) fights them off. The immune system is made up of various departments such as lymph nodes, lymphocytes, lymph vessels, bone marrow, skin, and white blood cells. In a healthy human body, this system works together to keep you alive.
The immune system has two main parts to its defence system…
- Innate (equivalent to ‘regular soldiers’) who look out for anything suspicious to eliminate fast.
- Adaptive (equivalent to ‘special forces’) once they are activated go after special targets.
So, what do they do to keep us healthy?
Innate and adaptive defense systems explained
1. INNATE (non-specific) DEFENSE SYSTEM – like the ‘regular soldiers’ of the immune system. These guys look out for anything suspicious and eliminate it.
Our mucus membrane and skin provide our first barrier to pathogens, whilst creating some powerful chemical weapons in the process. This is our first line of defence. If the initial barrier is infiltrated (for example, if you cut yourself or injure your body), then the body will create a second line of defence in the form of fever or inflammation. At this stage, an army of white blood cells is initiated to destroy the invading parties.
Why do we get a fever? If there are more invading organisms than the body can handle, then the immune system unleashes chemicals, that engage the hypothalamus, which raises the body’s thermostat – this gives the body a fever. Getting a fever is a defence mechanism intended to burn off the invaders.
2. ADAPTIVE (specific) DEFENSE SYSTEM – like the ‘special forces’ (think Navy Seals/Royal Commandos) of the immune system.
These guys take longer to activate but once they do, they go after special targets and they do not mess about.
The adaptive immune system keeps records of previous invaders and pathogens, whilst employing specific ways to deal with them, preventing their re-entry. This enables the immune system to recognise and destroy microbes quickly if they attack the body again. Think about chickenpox here. If you’ve caught it once then you probably don’t ever have to worry about catching it again. This is because after fighting it off once, the adaptive immune system recognises it and immediately eliminates it.
Why do people keep catching a common cold, the flu or worse?
Infections, such as the flu, and the common cold, keep mutating and producing different strains and therefore have to be adapted to, and, fought again and again. It’s rather a rather clever survival technique for these pesky invaders. Catching a cold or flu from one virus does not give you immunity against a different strain.
Building a super-strong immune system will help to keep invaders out, nonetheless. One of my favourite ways to do that is by eating super healthy immune boosting salads.
Eat a salad every day and load it up with extra immune-boosting foods
Eating a salad (preferably with organic ingredients) every day is an excellent way to constantly boost your immune system. This is helpful for ongoing maintenance and keeping healthy in general.
When there are viruses, bugs and whatnot going around I tend to add in extra immune boosting ingredients such as ginger and garlic. We are talking about nature’s superfood here! Dare I say, these plants are more wholesome and perhaps more powerful than pharmaceutical drugs.
Which salad ingredients are good for boosting our immune system?
Here are some foods in this recipe that are excellent at boosting our immune system fast.
- Ginger is literally loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, anti-viral, and anti-pathogenic properties, whilst working as an excellent detoxification aid.
- Garlic is a powerful antiviral with exceptional immune boosting powers. Cooking destroys the active allicin compound, so use raw garlic for the most potent health benefits.
- Beetroot has excellent antioxidant properties and is great for maintaining healthy blood whilst eliminating harmful substances from the body.
- Parsley helps with immune function by reducing inflammation and preventing cellular damage.
- Kale supports detoxification and is high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- 2 beetroots (tennis ball size)
- 1 large stalk of celery
- 1 inch cubed fresh ginger
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 4 large kale leaves
- A handful of fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon hemp seed oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Sprinkle of sea salt
- Optional extras to mix in or sprinkle...
- * Chickpeas
- * Hempseeds
- * Nuts
- * Seeds
- Grate the beetroot (discarding any gnarly end bits)
- Slice the celery
- Finely grate the ginger
- Crush and finely chop the garlic
- Chop the kale leaves
- Finely chop the parsley
- Add any optional extras (or save them to sprinkle on top)
- Mix in the hemp seed oil, apple cider vinegar and sea salt - tossing the whole salad until everything is evenly mixed (especially the finely grated ginger which might clump together)
- Enjoy right away
A delicious immune boosting smoothie recipe…