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  5. 10 Homemade Drinks To Boost Your Immunity

Your immunity is your best friend when it comes to keeping diseases at bay. The pandemic situation has made this fact more evident than ever.

While researchers all over the world are trying their best to find vaccines and drugs to defeat the novel coronavirus, we need to do our bit to protect ourselves from this deadly pathogen.

You can do this, by giving your immune system some extra boost. In this article, we discuss 10 immunity boosting drinks, their benefits and how you can prepare them easily at home.

Can Drinks Enhance Your Immunity?

Both food and drinks packed with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients can strengthen your immune system. Immunity is your body’s defense mechanism. It not only prevents the entry of germs such as bacteria, virus and fungi, but also fights them off, should they gain entry. Thus, the stronger your immune system, the less are your chances of getting sick due to an infection.

Also, you do not have to buy expensive over-the-counter products, for you might have plenty of beneficial ingredients in your very own kitchen. These can give your immune system that extra punch it needs during these winter months.

10 Homemade Immunity Boosting Drinks

Staying hydrated goes a long way in keeping your immune system healthy. Besides drinking sufficient water throughout the day, you can whisk up some of these nutrient-packed drinks to help your immune system.

Additionally, if you or your child does not like to eat certain fruits or vegetables, blending them into shakes or smoothies can help. This will ensure you do not miss out on the nutritional benefits of those fruits and vegetables.

Here are some of the tried and tested drinks made at home to boost immunity.

1. Turmeric Golden Milk

This drink has been a favorite in traditional Indian households for its many benefits, such as fighting off the cold, flu or relieving intense pain due to an injury. The main ingredient of this drink, turmeric, is a ubiquitous spice found in most Indian dishes.

Scientific research has shown curcumin, the polyphenol abundantly present in turmeric, to have many beneficial properties. [1] Not only is curcumin an effective antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent, it also helps in prevention of certain cancers.

The other spices added to this drink, such as cinnamon, ginger, blackpepper, increase the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this drink.

Ingredients:

  • Dairy or non-dairy milk
  • 1/4th teaspoon(tsp) turmeric powder
  • ½ inch of crushed ginger
  • 1 small stick of crushed cinnamon
  • A small pinch of black pepper
  • Honey to taste (optional)

How to prepare:

  • Take 1 cup of dairy or non-dairy milk of your choice and bring it to a boil.
  • Add turmeric powder, crushed ginger, cinnamon and black pepper powder.
  • Stir the mixture till all the spices have dissolved well in the milk.
  • Strain in a cup and serve warm.
  • To sweeten your golden milk, cool it down a little bit and add a teaspoon of honey.

Recommended intake:

Consume a cup of golden milk everyday when you feel unwell or even as a precaution to stave off the cold.

When to consume:

It is best to consume this just before bedtime.

2. Kadha

Long before the advent of conventional western medicines, kadha was often the first thing given to soothe a sore throat, or fight off the nasal congestion due a cough and cold attack. The best thing about this concoction is that it can be consumed by everyone, be it kids, adults or the elderly.

Different kadha recipes are popular in different Indian households and many of them have been handed down for generations. The immunity boosting kadha recipe, with ingredients suggested by the Ministry of Ayush, India [2] is rich in antioxidants,and has been elaborated below.

Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties not only help to fight off flu, but also improve gut health and regulate blood sugar levels.

Ingredients:

  • 5 leaves of tulsi or holy basil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp dry ginger
  • Few munakka raisins
  • Jaggery or lemon juice as per taste

How to prepare:

  • Add the tulsi leaves and all the spices in 2 cups of water.
  • Simmer the concoction on a low flame for 5 - 10 minutes till all the goodness of the spices steeps in.
  • Strain and add jaggery or lemon juice according to your taste.
  • This drink is best served warm.

Recommended intake:

You can have 1 to 2 cups of kadha in a day.

When to consume:

Kadha can be consumed early in the morning or in place of your evening tea.

3. Ginger & Apple Cider Vinegar Soother

Apple cider vinegar, a probiotic with a high content of acetic acid, is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and potassium. It improves immunity and helps clear the congestion of the respiratory tract. [3]

Ginger on the other hand has several sesquiterpenes, which have antiviral properties, and are particularly effective against cold viruses. [4]

Further, addition of honey and cayenne peppers increases the antimicrobial potency of this drink. Cayenne pepper has capsaicin that reduces inflammation of the nervous system.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of drinking water
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp of crushed ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Honey as per taste

How to prepare:

  • Warm the water to a suitable temperature.
  • Add the ginger and allow it to stand for a few minutes.
  • Add apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper to this mixture.
  • Drink in small sips while it is still warm.

Recommended intake:

You can have this drink once or twice a day.

When to consume:

Consume this on an empty stomach in the morning or before having a meal.

4. Green Smoothie

Green leafy vegetables, especially dark green ones, are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They not only help fight off infections but also help regenerate the cells of the immune system.

2 cups of spinach a day can meet your daily requirement of vitamin A, vitamin K and folate. Spinach is also rich in vitamin C and betacyanin which boosts the immune function of the body. Kale is also rich in vitamins A, C, K, E and folate.

Cucumber has manganese, copper, potassium and vitamins which keeps your immune system healthy, while celery has antimicrobial functions that helps fight infections.

You can tweak your green smoothie as per your choice by adding two spoons of probiotic yoghurt, or a juicy fruit to the blender.

blended green smoothie with ingredients on wooden table

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • 1 stick of kale
  • 1 medium sized stick of celery
  • Half cup of de-skinned and chopped cucumber
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • Pinch of rock salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Ice cubes (optional)

How to prepare:

Take all the ingredients in a blending jar and blend until smooth. You can adjust the consistency with water or fruit juice.

Recommended intake:

1 cup a day will go a long way in strengthening your immunity.

When to consume:

You can enjoy this hearty smoothie as a breakfast in the morning, or as a snack in between meals.

5. Papaya Leaf Juice

The juice of papaya leaves is extremely bitter, but has a multitude of medicinal properties. It has a high content of antioxidants such as papain, alkaloids and phenolic compounds. These modulate the immune system and help prevent cancer. It is also rich in calcium and vitamins A, B,C,D, E which makes it an excellent immunobooster.

The consumption of the juice of papaya leaves increases the platelet count and is therefore effective in alleviating symptoms of dengue. [5] It also has strong antimalarial properties. However, do not stop your medications abruptly and consult a doctor before trying this juice for these purposes.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh green papaya leaves without stem
  • Jaggery (optional)

How to prepare:

  • Clean the leaves thoroughly, add a little warm water, and blend in a blender.
  • Strain the extract, which will be thick and dark green in colour.
  • Add water to dilute the extract and reduce the bitterness. You can also add a little jaggery powder to improve the taste.
  • It is best to prepare this juice fresh before consumption.

Recommended intake:

Daily consumption of this juice will strengthen the immune system, even for those with a weak immunity. For adults it is recommended to take 30ml thrice daily.

When to consume:

You should have papaya leaf juice before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

6. Citrus Fruits’ Juice

Citrus fruits are not only rich in vitamin C and A, they also have a high content of flavonoids which have excellent antioxidant properties. [6] Flavonoids are bioactive compounds that help in the prevention and treatment of many diseases.

You can choose from a variety of citrus fruits that are available at a market near you. The bright pink grapefruit is loaded with lycopene which protects from cellular damage, while oranges are rich in potassium and can regulate your blood pressure.

Even the kitchen staple lemon is loaded with limonoids along with vitamin C and other antioxidants. Limonoids protect you from degenerative diseases associated with aging and cancer.

You can enhance the health quotient of these fruit juices by adding a spoonful of honey. Honey is a cholesterol and sodium-free immunobooster which not only has antimicrobial and antidiabetic properties, but also promotes heart health and weight loss.

Ingredients:

  • Citrus fruit depending on availability
  • Honey

How to prepare:

  • In case of grapefruit or oranges, first wash and peel the skin of the fruit. 1 medium sized grapefruit or 3 oranges should be enough for 1 cup of juice.
  • While using lemons, wash and cut them into halves, and remove the seeds.
  • Squeeze out the fresh juice manually or by using a juicer. Storing these juices may make them bitter.
  • Add a spoon of honey and enjoy.

Recommended intake:

Take at least 1 cup of this healthy drink everyday to give a significant boost to your immunity.

When to consume:

Citrus fruit juices should be consumed preferably between meals- after breakfast or lunch. It is best to avoid having these juices on an empty stomach to avoid hyperacidity.

7. Beetroot, Carrot & Ginger Juice

This spicy juice of root vegetables not only helps your immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses, it helps reduce inflammation as well.

Red beets are rich in bioactive compounds such as betanin, vitamins (A,B and C) and minerals (potassium,iron, manganese etc.). [7] Beetroot juice can play an important role in protecting your cardiovascular and renal systems. [8]

Carrots are rich in the antioxidant beta carotene, vitamins A, C and E and minerals (iron, zinc and copper). This superfood boosts the production of white blood cells which are crucial to fighting infections.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of chopped beetroot and carrots
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger

How to prepare:

Blend all the ingredients in a blender and adjust consistency with water.

8. Mixed Berries Juice

Being a great source of vitamin C and phytochemicals, berries protect you from immunodeficiencies and cell damage. [9] Berries with darker hues such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. are rich in antioxidants like flavonoids.

Experts suggest that consuming a mix of berries improves your gut microbiota, which in turn positively influences your immune system.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries (you can use strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries)
  • ½ cup of milk or yogurt according to your preference

How to prepare:

Blend all the ingredients and enjoy it fresh.

9. Tomato Rasam

Did you know this popular South Indian dish is rich in antioxidants and can prevent cell damage? Tomato is rich in betacarotene, vitamin C and folate, which strengthen the immune system, while its potassium content helps in maintaining blood pressure levels. Coconut oil with its healthy lipid content, has antibiotic as well as immunomodulatory effects.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tur dal (Split pigeon peas)
  • Rasam powder
  • Tamarind pulp
  • Jaggery
  • Tempering of coconut oil, asafoetida, mustard seeds, red chillies, turmeric, curry leaves

How to prepare:

  • Boil tur dal, chopped tomatoes and curry leaves with salt and 2 cups of water, till the dal is well cooked. Cool this mixture, blend and strain to get a clear consistency.
  • Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a pan and add the tempering spices.
  • Add rasam powder and saute for a few minutes, then add the tomato mix.
  • Boil for a few minutes.
  • Add 1 tsp tamarind pulp and jaggery powder
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Recommended intake:

You can have this as an appetizer before meals, or as a side dish with rice.

When to consume:

You can enjoy this tangy drink at lunch or dinner.

10. Green Tea

This antioxidant-rich drink has been enjoyed in Asian countries since ancient times. The polyphenols in green tea regulate T-cells which play an important role in immunity. Polyphenols also protects you from cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disorders. [10]

The antimicrobial effects of green tea can be attributed to ECGC (epigallocatechin gallate). [11] Polyphenols present in tea help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

You can enjoy green tea on its own or add flavouring agents like mint, lemon or honey to add to taste and health.

Ingredients:

  • Unprocessed green tea
  • Optional flavouring

How to prepare:

  • Take a cup of water and bring it to a boil.
  • Add 1 tsp of green tea and let it steep for 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Add flavouring of your choice or enjoy as such.

Recommended intake:

You can take 2 - 3 cups of green tea in a day.

When to consume:

You can have green tea anytime during the day. Green tea has much less caffeine than black tea, therefore even having a cup after dinner will not interfere with your sleep.

Wrapping Up

Whether there is a deadly virus around the corner or not, you should take good care of your health. Undoubtedly, immunity is your best friend when it comes to protecting you from infections and disorders. Take extra care of your immune system by adding these immunity boosting drinks to your diet. After all you are as strong as your immune system is.

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