A healthy immune system is important for helping your body fight infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus and other pathogens. With colds and flu season fast approaching it is important to strengthen your immune system. We all are aware of the standard measures: get enough sleep, good hygiene, stress reduction, eats lots of fruits and veggies and take immune-boosting supplements.
But Recently Dr. Oz hosted immunity specialist Dr. La Puma, who emphasized three of the best immunity-boosting foods to enjoy this season, and any season of the year. These three superfoods include Tahini, Black Pepper & Oregano, and Pumpkin.
Dr. La Puma explained that tahini is a peanut-butter like food made with ground sesame seeds, rich in magnesium, zinc and healthy protein. He advised we eat tahini often to boost immunity by boosting white blood cell count and provided natural protein for a healthy immune system. Here is his recipe for tahini dip, which can be used creatively as a healthy substitute for mayo or ranch dressing.
Tahini Veggie Dip:
1 cup plain or Greek yogurt
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon tahini
Juice of one lemon
Directions: Just mix them together for a great dip. Dr. La Puma said two tablespoons does have 180 calories, but it will give you all the zinc and magnesium you need.
Dr. La Puma spoke about the immunity-boosting properties of black peppercorns, specifically the component piperine. This is the alkaloid responsible for the pungency of black pepper. It has also been used in some forms of traditional medicine of many cultures throughout history. Dr. La Puma says that piperine helps the body absorb the ‘good things of other spices’ and helps make them more available; and helps to reduce joint swelling. He expounds on the anti-inflammatory properties of black pepper; particularly when combined with oregano. Dr. La Puma advises to obtain full leaf oregano—not powdered. He said when crunched between the fingers, aromatic oils are released that help to destroy various germs. He said oregano leaf is a powerful anti-inflammatory tool. The oregano has been shown to kill off Staph bacteria, E. Coli and even yeast infections. 2 teaspoons of each a week will boost your immunity.
Dr. La Puma extolled the virtues of pumpkin, which contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant which our bodies will convert to Vitamin A. Dr. La Puma shared the following recipe for a delicious autumn inspired immunity booster filled with natural beta carotene.
Dr. La Puma’s Pumpkin Soup Recipe:
3 pounds fresh pumpkin
3 cups chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, roasted
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Cut the pumpkin in half and roast it for 45 minutes.
- Scoop out the seeds and set them aside.
- Put the pumpkin into a blender along with the roasted garlic, onion and chicken stock. Mix to your desired consistency.
Dr. Oz’s Pumpkin Side Dish:
1 can of 100% pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cholesterol lowering spread
Dash of stevia and cinnamon
Heat on the stove-top while stirring, five minutes or so. This super easy and quick dish tastes just like mashed sweet potatoes and only contains 85 calories
The carotenes found in the pumpkin will convert to Vitamin A, which will help build a strong immune system. And make sure to cook up some extra soup because it will hold well in the freezer.