With cold and flu season in full swing, it is wise to boost your immune system. And what better way to fortify yourself with vitamins and nutrients than with juices made with delicious fresh fruits and vegetables?
Juicing is efficient and easy to fit into your daily regimen for staying strong, vital, and healthy all winter long. With the right combination of nutrients, you may be able to bypass your medicine cabinet and reach for a potent immune-boosting juice instead.
Try these five immune-boosting juice recipes and discover the benefits for your mind-body health.
All recipes make one serving and can be diluted with water as desired.
1. Turmeric. Ginger. Lemon.
Sip a small one- or two-ounce serving of this juice slowly—it has a spicy punch that warms your palate and your body as it infuses your cells with healthy goodness.
- 1-inch piece of fresh turmeric
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 lemon (juice only)
- Turmeric: Turmeric is the powerful ingredient that gives curry its bright yellow color and contains the healing compound curcumin. It also boasts an excellent ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of 127,068—a measure of the antioxidant content of foods. The antioxidants in turmeric, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C, are a wonderful boost for your immune system.
- Ginger: Ginger belongs to the same family as turmeric (Zingiberaceae) and has a similar root-like appearance but is lighter in color. Ginger also contains a high level of antioxidants, along with some notable antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that will keep you stay healthy.
- Lemon: Lemons contain high levels of vitamin C, as well as strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making this cheerful fruit a superfood for strengthening your immunity.
2. Apple. Celery. Parsley.
Refresh your palate (and your vitality) with this simple tasty juice.
- 1 apple
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 bunch of parsley (stems included)
- Apple: The antioxidants in apples help protect your cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage, which in turn helps to keep your immune system strong and vital. Researchers have found that apple varieties such as Fuji, Red Delicious, Gala, Liberty, and Northern Spy have the highest antioxidant activity.
- Celery: You may have noticed the celery section at your local market dwindling more often as the celery juice craze grows. Not only does celery have a robust antioxidant profile, but research also shows that celery has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which will help your immune system stay strong.
- Parsley: You have no doubt seen parsley served as a garnish, or perhaps you have enjoyed it as a subtle spice in your favorite soup. But did you know that the essential oil in parsley is highly antibacterial and antifungal? Add a little parsley to your juice for an extra immune boost.
3. Carrot. Orange. Cardamom.
Try this incredibly refreshing and nutritional juice to supercharge your day and your immune system.
- 3–4 carrots
- 2 oranges
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- Carrot: Carrots are full of beta carotene, which strengthens the body and protects against the free radical damage that can lead to illness. Carrots are also chock full of many important vitamins (such as vitamins A, C, and E), carotenoids, and polyphenols that offer a variety of health benefits, including strengthening the immune system.
- Orange: Many people reach for orange juice when trying to fight off the common cold. Oranges are well-known for their high level of vitamin C, which can boost your immunity and be an asset during the cold and flu season. Vitamin C has been studied extensively and may help decrease the duration and intensity of the common cold.
- Cardamon: Cardamom is a warming spice often found in eggnog, spicy chai, and garam masala. While its taste is surely a winner for many dishes and libations worldwide, cardamom also has some healing properties worth noting. Cardamom contains an active compound called eucalyptol. Although further research is needed, one study has found that eucalyptol has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory potential. Cardamom also has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and research has found that cardamom contains compounds that can help prevent or suppress the proliferation of cancer cells. In addition to all of these health benefits, cardamom adds a warming, tasty flavor and some zip to your juice.
4. Beet. Red Cabbage. Plum.
Just looking at this deep purple juice, you will likely look forward to your first sip. The sweet beet and plum beautifully balance out the more bitter red cabbage.
- 2 medium-sized beets
- 1/4 medium-sized purple cabbage
- 4 fresh plums
- Beets: Known for their health-promoting benefits and impressive nutrient profile, beets are a healing food recognized in both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Not only are beets full of health-promoting antioxidants and trace minerals, but they are also loaded with dietary nitrates—naturally occurring inorganic compounds—that convert to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is used in the body as part of a toxin defense system, protecting you from infectious organisms. It is also an important component of many immune and inflammatory cell types.
- Purple cabbage: Part of the Brassica family, purple cabbage is a nutrient-dense food for your juicing repertoire. Research has found that this potent family of plants (including cabbage, kale, radish, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower) helps to prevent oxidative stress in your cellular system, initiates detoxification, decreases the risk of some cancers, and stimulates your immune system.
- Plums: Plums are known for their high phenolic content, providing them with a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant profile, which helps boost your immune system. In addition, plums have a high level of vitamin C, especially the Kakadu plum, which is native to Australia and has up to 100 times the amount of vitamin C as an orange. High levels of vitamin C may help to reduce the intensity and duration of the common cold.
5. Kale. Pear. Cucumber.
This tasty trio packs a powerful immune-boosting punch. Enjoy this delicious, hydrating green juice that is full of nutrients and antioxidants.
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 cucumber
- 1 pear
- Kale: Kale is known as a superfood because of its incredibly high antioxidant levels, including the immune-boosting vitamin C.
- Pear: Pears are also a great source of vitamin C. Revered in China (and Traditional Chinese Medicine) as a potent ingredient to soothe the lungs and relieve a cough during cold and flu season, you will be glad to have added this tasty fruit to your immune-boosting juicing repertoire.
- Cucumber: You may know cucumber as an ingredient that you find in your favorite salad or fermented in a pickle jar. Cucumbers are extremely hydrating (they are approximately 96 percent water), and contain a range of antioxidants that promote a strong immune system. Cucumbers make a great addition to your juice options, especially considering their gentle flavor profile, pairing well with most fresh juice ingredients.
Home Juicing Tips
When you are exploring your own home juicing, try these tips and tricks to ensure you get the most benefit and ease from your juicing experience:
- Buy organic: When you are juicing, you are getting a concentrated dose of the contents of your fruits and vegetables. Choosing organic whenever possible will ensure that your juice is as pure, clean, and toxin-free as possible. Check out the lists provided by the Environmental Working Group: the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. Start your own shopping list to choose the most important produce to buy organic.
- Think simple: When you start to juice more regularly, begin with simple juice recipes that have just a few ingredients. Build your flavor profile slowly and steadily so that you can experiment with what tastes just right for your palate.
- Stay safe. Home juicing is a wonderful option for creating customized juices for you and your family. Keep in mind that homemade juice is not pasteurized, making it more susceptible to bacterial growth. For safe home juicing, studies recommend storing your juice in the refrigerator for no more than 3–5 days.
- Invest in a high-quality home juicer: Buying your own juicer can be daunting given the large variety of products that are available. Read on to see some great cold-press options recommended by Amazon reviewers.
- Slow Juicer, Sagnart Juicer Machine for Vegetables and Fruits: Easy to use and clean, portable, BPA-free, with a quiet processor.
- AMZCHEF Slow Juicer: Extremely quiet, rated as safe for children, with a two-year warranty.
- Omega NC900HDC Juicer Extractor and Nutrition Center: An industry leader with a 15-year warranty for parts and performance. Includes attachments to make pasta, grind coffee, blend nuts into nut butter, and make baby food. Rated as quiet, efficient, and high powered.
There are many options for juicing to boost your immune system. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is a sure way to elevate the health and immunity of your cells. Have fun exploring these immune-boosting juices, and if you are inspired, invent some juice recipes of your own.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.
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