When it comes to the immune system it is important to emphasize that there is no magic drink capable of wiping out viruses and bacteria. Rather, it is the synergy of food and drinks, which, if taken regularly, counteract inflammation, free radical damage and support the body's natural defenses. After this necessary premise, certainly there are drinks, teas and herbal teas, more powerful than others to strengthen our immune system, fortifying the airways, helping to prevent viral infections and also helping to heal faster in case of disease. So let's see some ideas based on scientific research.
Echinacea is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial. This plant modulates the immune system and protects the upper airways from the risk of infection (Barrett et al, Phytomedicine, 2003). In fact, scientific studies have observed that echinacea helps prevent colds and, in case of infection, reduces their duration and alleviates symptoms, provided, however, that the intake takes place from the very beginning of the infection (Manayi et al, Pharmacogn Rev, 2015). You can take echinacea in the form of a decoction. In this case, bring a cup of water and a tablespoon of echinacea roots to a boil. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and let it rest for ten minutes, filter and drink. Alternatively, you can also find echinacea in the form of a dry extract. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding but also if you are taking medications, always ask your doctor for advice before starting treatment with echinacea.
All types of tea!
Whether it is black, green or oolong, tea, always obtained from the leaves of the same plant, Camellia sinensis, is a very useful drink for the immune system. Oolong tea, thanks to its content in polyphenols and polysaccharides that act in synergy, is anti-aging and supports the immune system (Brimson et al, Nutrients, 2021). Also green tea, thanks to the catechins contained in it with their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral action, acts by strengthening the body's natural defenses. In particular, the action of green tea occurs by regulating the growth and development of immune system cells but also the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis, on which the immune system also depends. In fact, high levels of cortisol, which is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland, can cause increased inflammation and a weakening of the immune system (Tang et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2019 - Rahayu et al, Vet World, 2018). Not only that, green tea catechins also act as prebiotics, strengthening and supporting the intestinal microbiota. Well, a healthy microbiota has benefits not only on digestive processes, but also on the well-being of the internal organism. In particular, there is a connection, which is referred to the gut lung axis, whereby an imbalance at the level of intestinal bacteria can favor a cascade of inflammatory processes affecting the lungs, which would thus present themselves already weakened in the event of a possible viral infection (Chowdhury et al, Front Immunol, 2020). Finally, black tea is no exception! In fact, the regular intake of black tea has been shown to act by strengthening the body's defenses when they are too weak and calming the inflammatory response when the levels of inflammation are excessively high (Gostner et al, BBA Clin, 2015).
Ginger is anti-inflammatory and works by strengthening the immune system (Brimson et al, Nutrients, 2021). Not only that, another very interesting action of ginger is that this root is able to limit the inflammatory response that, if in excess, can cause more damage than the infection itself (An et al, Anim Nutr, 2019). Ginger is particularly useful for protecting the respiratory tract and fighting flu and colds (Rasheed et al, Int J Health Sci, 2020). Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add an inch of peeled fresh ginger, leave to infuse for fifteen minutes, then remove the ginger and drink. Alternatively, you can grate fresh ginger over fish, fruit and vegetables.