August 16, 2023 by Lazer Brody
Plants, roots and herbs – all members of the vegetative level of creation – are loaded with phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are part of Hashem’s Pharmacy, the goodies of creation. These are naturally occurring chemical compounds that the Creator instilled in foodstuffs to keep us healthy, vibrant and immune to disease. While combining modern research, traditional Talmudic sources and my own experience in diet and nutritional coaching, I put together an All-Star team. This is starting lineup of the Top 5 immune-building Super Spices that we all really need with the weather getting colder.
Combining flu-season and constant COVID threats, these 5 spices are a naturally effective front-line of defense. These all-stars should always appear in your pantry. Include them in the starting lineup of your meal ingredients. Why? They are loaded with all types of powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory immune-system benefits. The added bonus is that these all-stars are effective fertility-enhancers as well.
Whether you’re a pro-vaccer or an anti-vaccer, these top 5 super spices should be regulars in your salads and cooking ingredients. They’ll protect against COVID like they protect against other viruses. And, even if a person becomes infected, they’ll help him bounce back to health much quicker.
Whenever you can attain them in the fresh state, that’s optimal. If fresh is not available, use dried whole. If dried whole is not available, use dried ground. Stay away from manufacturer or heat-tampered spices and commercial mixtures, which contain chemical additives that are counter-productive.
Natural herbs and spices have no side effects and the body readily absorbs them. In that respect, commercial vitamins and so-called immune-boosting meds and pharmaceuticals are no match for our top five. Combine them with proper personal hygiene, and G-d willing, you’ll stay healthy all year long. Meet the all-star spices:
Prefer fresh garlic cloves to dried and powder. Garlic is the captain of the team in that it supercharges the immune system, wards off colds and flu, enhances fertility, boosts heart health and combats LDL cholesterol. It’s one of nature’s leading prebiotics. As such, garlic promotes probiotic growth, the beneficial bacteria that keep your gut healthy. Garlic reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, has anti-tumor effects, and lowers blood glucose levels. Its juice has powerful anti-bacterial properties that can help readily heal a sty in the eye. Chop it in your salads and eat at least a good sized clove a day.
If you’re worried about garlic breath, chewing on a fresh sprig of parsley will sweeten your breath almost immediately. Garlic merited it’s #1 slot on the Top Ten because of its compound allicin. Allicin converts to a number of sulphur-containing compounds that boost the disease-fighting response of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses, such as the common cold or flu. Although there is no clinically-proven evidence that garlic protects against corona-virus, it’s immune-boosting properties will certainly strengthen the body’s ability to fight it or recover from it.
India tradition and literature cites ginger as a prime immune booster. Ginger boasts phytochemical properties that exceed 60+ trace minerals, 30+ amino acids and more than 500 enzymes and coenzymes. They all work together to calm reactivity, fight bacteria and parasites. They also relieve migraine headaches, stimulate B12 production (critical for vegans!), fight colds and flu, relax the throat and flush the muscles of the excess lactic acid the creates soreness after a tough workout. If you wonder why the Chinese or Indian dish you tried to cook doesn’t taste authentic, it’s because you forgot the ginger!
This is one of the most powerful India-originated spices with over 300 nutrients including calcium, fiber, iron, and zinc. Turmeric has cogent anti-inflammatory properties that boost immunity. It also contains anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. These further help strengthen the body’s immune function. In Israel, we have the fresh turmeric root in the winter and spring. It’s loaded with xanthophyll and beta-carotene, a cogent antioxidant and loaded with Vitamins A and C. A salad or dish with a starting lineup of ingredients that includes fresh garlic, fresh ginger and chopped turmeric root is a strong defense against disease, aging and infertility. It’s great for your respiratory system too. Where you can’t get fresh, opt for organic dried.
These little hotties contain capsaicin, an amazing phytochemical that helped prevent spoilage in warm climates before the invention of refrigeration. Capsaicin’s anti-microbial properties inhibit as much as 75% of bacteria growth. This makes hot peppers a mighty protector against infection. They benefit the digestive tract by reducing the acidity that causes ulcers. They also help produce saliva and stimulates gastric juices aiding digestion. Hold on – we’re not finished yet. Hot peppers lower LDL cholesterol, increase blood flow, mitigate migraines and promote heart health. They increase metabolism and promote weight loss. They’re great for the skin, fight cancer cells and prevent colds and allergies. They are also a wonderful fertility enhancer that’s effective well past middle age.
One of the important components of cinnamon – Cinnamaldehyde – fights respiratory tract infections caused by fungi. This beautifully aromatic spice, which together with turmeric are two of the eleven spices that make up the ritual incense ketoret mentioned in the Torah. Cinnamon not only tastes great, it’s a rich source of antioxidants. It also helps in giving a major boost to your immune system. What’s more, it lowers blood sugar levels and lowers one’s chances of suffering from heart disease, including high LDL cholesterol and hypertension.
In summary, put these top 5 super-spices in your daily diet and G-d willing you’ll boost your immunity and ward off illness. Combine the “Super 5” with overall healthy eating and regular exercise, and you’ll be dancing at the weddings of your great grandchildren. Every blessing for your good health, LB