There's no getting around it. It's that dreary time of year when the low-level blahs—flu and colds and sore throats—are making the rounds. So it's time to think about what you can eat to build up your immune system. Supplements, powders and tablets are fine, but the best way to create an armor of immunity to fight off those winter bugs is to eat a healthy diet of superfoods filled with disease-repelling compounds. The natural blends and balances of nutrients found in foods can never be quite duplicated in the manufacturing process.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Here are some things you''ll want to have on hand in your kitchen as the days get colder and shorter.
1. Garlic may not REALLY ward off vampires, which probably don't exist outside of fiction, but it can help ward off that common cold. Known primarily as a preventive agent rather than an alleviating one, garlic has a complex chemistry that can vary with preparation (it's widely considered to be most healthful when eaten raw) and it's not entirely clear which compounds provide which benefits. So supplements may not offer the same protection as the real thing. But it's easy—and delicious—to work into your diet, in pestos, sauces and some nice, steaming slices of garlic bread.
2. Honey has traces of a wide range vitamins and minerals that can be useful in boosting your immune system. In addition, it coats your sore throat and suppresses your cough reflex, letting you catch that sleep you need to recover more quickly. A dark, unrefined honey produced in your own region has the most health benefits.
3. Fresh lemon is full of vitamins like C and B as well as flavanoids, known to be helpful in fighting cancer. But lemon's antibacterial properties also make it effective in fighting off those lesser illnesses including sore throats. It increases perspiration too which can take the edge off that flu and help your fever to break.
4. Mushrooms are fungi, containing antibiotics that have both bacteria- and virus-fighting properties. Remember that penicillin, which revolutionized how we treat infection, came from a fungus. And different types of mushrooms have different blends of pathology-fighting and immunity-building agents so it's good to eat a wide variety of these intriguing plants.
5. Ginger is well known for its ability to settle a queasy stomach and quell nausea, symptoms which can come along with that cold or flu. Brew up a cup of ginger tea, or just chew on a small piece of fresh ginger for a calming effect and a taste that's both warm and tangy.
6. Herbs and spices, including tumeric, mint and fennel, are nature's medicine. Tumeric, usually found as a yellow powder used in Indian cooking, is something of a miracle ingredient, known for its healthful effects across the board. It's a powerful anti-inflammatory, something you're going to need when you start to feel your throat getting achy. Fennel helps settle the digestive system and can relieve both diarrhea and constipation as well as flatulence. Cooling mint settles the stomach, combats nausea, and clears up the congestion that goes along with flu and colds.
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- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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