Immune Supportive Foods: 6 Spices & Seasonings You Can Eat!

Immune Supportive Foods: 6 Spices & Seasonings You Can Eat!

cinnamon

(They're ALL Gluten-Free!)

In addition to eating a varied and colourful assortment of whole foods, the seasonings and spices we (comparatively) use smaller quantities of may actually be contributing one of the biggest health boosts to your diet! They’re ALL gluten-free, and gram for gram they provide the highest levels of immune-supporting antioxidants and nutrients in our diet (when compared to foods) by far. Below I outline some of my favourite spices and seasonings that you can easily include in your diet, gluten-free or not, for the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy and strong immune system.

1. Allspice

Some still think this is a mixture, and for good reason. Allspice is very aromatic and resembles a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, however it is a distinct and singular spice, a dried pimento berry brimming with antioxidant compounds that have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Allspice has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all spices and can be added ground or whole to savoury stews, baked goods and more.

Allspice

2. Cinnamon

True cinnamon is the dried bark of a tropic tree’s trunk and, like allspice, has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all the spices and foods in the human diet. No more than a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon provides more antioxidants than a serving of what we commonly consider to be antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries and pomegranates. In addition to its antioxidant capacity, cinnamon provides a proportionally huge amount of dietary fiber as a tree bark, consumed ground. You can still benefit from the antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and blood sugar regulating effects of cinnamon by using it whole in drinks, stews, curries and soups.

3. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar can be used in many ways from adding it to your water, salad dressings, sauces, marinades and baking. To take advantage of its immune-health benefits, try adding a teaspoon to your drinking water or a salad dressing instead of exposing it to heat – destroying its rich enzyme and probiotic content.

Apple cider vinegar

4. Tamari

This popular soy-sauce substitute is totally gluten-free, higher in protein, tends to have cleaner ingredients more often and is a beautiful nutrient-rich, umami product of fermentation (soy beans, not wheat). The benefits of fermented foods to immune health are plenty, so don’t forget about fermented seasonings!

5. Nutritional Yeast

Popular amongst vegetarians and vegans, nutritional yeast is commonly used as a tasty and easy way to added essential B vitamins (especially B12) and other nutrients like zinc to foods. It is naturally gluten free and can be easily sprinkled into, or onto just about anything and serves as a great dietary boost of immune-supporting zinc with almost 8 mg per tablespoon.

Nutritional yeast

6. Kelp

Kelp is a type of seaweed that can be conveniently purchased in “shakers” as a salt replacement and nutritious addition to your meals. Kelp and other seaweeds provide a whole spectrum of essential trace minerals that support proper immune function and reduces the effects of environmental radiation on our health.

Andrew Gregg

Written by Andrew Gregg BHSc., RHN

Andrew is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Clinical Research Manager at dicentra. Andrew’s practice as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist focuses on his special interests in health through optimal nutrition, traditional diets and food combining, digestive health & probiotics, mental wellness, disease prevention and management.

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