To stave off illness and disease, certain habits are essential. Among them are frequent hand-washing, adequate sleep, and weekly exercise. Drinking cold-pressed juice is another means to strong immunity. Making your own is especially rewarding.
Juicing a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables ensures a full complement of protective nutrients. The colors of the light spectrum can serve as a guide. Here are plant champions to empower your immune system.
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Your body is designed with astounding protective mechanisms:
- Your tonsils and thymus produce antibodies, Y-shaped proteins that scout for invaders. When pathogens enter your body, antibodies cling to them, essentially creating a mark. When T-cells recognize the target, they destroy the branded germs.
- Lymph nodes filter foreign entities.
- The bones of your legs, pelvis, arms, and spine are lined with marrow, soft tissue that creates red and white blood cells.
- Your spleen filters blood of damaged cells and kills pathogens.
- White blood cells attack viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents.
- Mucous membranes trap toxins, and your skin releases them.
Free radicals are prime culprits of illness and disease. These are molecules rendered unbalanced by electron loss. Your cells consist of molecules, with electrons orbiting them in pairs. When the bond between two electrons ruptures, they separate. A molecule missing an electron in its outer shell is called a “free radical.”
Upon finding a complete molecule, it snatches a replacement electron, turning the robbed molecule into a free radical. This chain reaction, termed “oxidation,” continues as new free radicals form.
Victimized cells suffer damage to their membranes, proteins, and DNA. In this impaired state, they’re vulnerable to attack by pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. Altered DNA leads to cell mutation and cancer.
What causes electron bonds to break? Environmental factors are ultraviolet radiation, air pollution, tobacco smoke, and pesticides. Other elements, over which you have more control, are alcohol, fried foods, and certain medications.
What saves us from total demise by free radicals are molecules called “antioxidants.” Equipped with extra electrons, they freely give spares to vandalized cells. Antioxidants protect cells from oxidation by restoring electron pairs.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lycopene, and carotene.
MR. ROY G. BIV
Are you familiar with this gentleman? Actually, Roy G. Biv is an acronym, a way to remember the sequence of colors in the visible light spectrum. This memory aid presents the hues in order of descending wavelengths. Credit for naming the colors and the acronym goes to Sir Isaac Newton, in 1672.
Let’s tour the rainbow for juice ingredients, with Mr. Roy G. Biv as our host.
The richest source of lycopene, tomatoes shield against cancer of the bladder, breast, cervix, lung, colon, and prostate. Tomatoes are also steeped in Vitamin C. Since your body can’t manufacturer this antioxidant, you must obtain it from food. Vitamin C aids cellular growth and repair and can slash cold risk by half. Should you catch a cold, it reduces your downtime.
Beta-carotene impedes tumor growth and converts to Vitamin A. It spurs white blood cells into action against colds, flu, cancer, and infection. Saponins are plant chemicals in tomatoes with antibiotic properties. Working as a team, lycopene, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene improve visual acuity.
Red bell peppers have thrice the Vitamin C of oranges, summoning antibodies to squelch infection. Vitamin E pacifies free radicals. Supplying a generous dose of Vitamin A, red bells also regenerate cells. By promoting the formation of red blood cells, the oxygen they ferry to your brain keeps you energized. Carotene boosts your reserves of Vitamin A.
Carrots in your juice will impart sweetness. Their Vitamin A guards your skin and throat against germs. Carrots also quash infection by supporting white blood cells. Vitamin C unleashes antibodies and interferon proteins, battling viruses. Vitamin B6 and folate also trigger immune responses.
As we age, our T-cells weaken, increasing susceptibility to viruses. However, the Vitamin E in carrots strengthens these cells.
Probably Vitamin C is the first antioxidant you equate with oranges. One medium-sized fruit has 120 percent of your daily need for this vitamin. Oranges supply Vitamin A and copper, powering white blood cells. Soluble fiber stimulates immune responses. Working with Vitamin C, folate protects the integrity of white blood cells.
Juicing one cup of cantaloupe fulfills your daily requirement for Vitamins A and C. Vitamin A averts cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Carotene and Vitamin C rally white blood cells to fight viruses and bacteria.
Cantaloupe flushes the toxins that lead to illness. This melon will add a creamy texture to your juice.
Golden Delicious apples are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that lowers inflammation. Pectin fiber keeps cholesterol from clogging blood vessels, reducing your risk of stroke and heart attack. Apple fiber also expels toxic metals, such as mercury and lead.
Potassium normalizes blood pressure. Interleukin 4 in apples hails the action of immune cells. Plant pigments known as flavonoids help ward off pancreatic cancer. Apple seeds are rich in Vitamin E. Apple peel is higher in antioxidants than the flesh!
Lemon juice is imbued with a unique flavonoid, repressing pathogens. Vitamin C in lemon hikes levels of white blood cells and antibodies. By promoting alkaline tissues, lemon supports beneficial flora, keeping harmful microbes from overpopulating. Lemon rind protects against bacteria and cancer.
A 2011 study published in Cell found that green vegetables aid the functioning of white blood cells lining the intestines and beneath skin. Spinach and kale are especially instrumental.
Elzie Segar, creator of Popeye, knew the merits of spinach! Its protein builds tissue and restores injured cells. Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A, sustaining cell membranes and white blood cells. Vitamin C gives you the ammunition to resist colds, and zinc closes wounds.
Immune functions require the iron that spinach provides. Its antioxidants repair DNA damage. Flavonoids mollify free radicals, and kaempferol stifles cancer.
Isn’t kale gorgeous? This fancy leafy green contains a phytonutrient that activates your white blood cells. The plant chemical sulforaphane restores cell damage. Having more iron than beef, kale assists in delivering oxygen to your cells. Quercetin and kaempferol combat cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids protect against autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. Vitamin B6 and folic acid help prevent heart disease.
A 2013 study cited by Advances in Food and Nutrition Research found that kiwi reduces the frequency and severity of respiratory infections. The fuzzy skin contains carotenoids, flavonoids, and Vitamin C, guarding cells against DNA damage by free radicals.
Omega-3 fatty acids in the seeds aid cardiovascular health by lowering triglycerides and clot risk. High in potassium, kiwi normalizes blood pressure.
Concord grapes supply resveratrol, a flavonoid that lowers blood pressure and hinders infection. By inhibiting DNA mutation, resveratrol deters breast cancer.
Other flavonoids reduce the risk of skin damage by ultraviolet rays. Polyphenols ease inflammation. By averting brain plaques, Concord grapes arrest dementia. They also ramp up T-cell production.
Vitamins A and C in blueberries speed antibody production. The blue pigment anthocyanin lowers the risk of age-related loss of memory and mobility. As an antioxidant, anthocyanin blocks blood vessel damage by free radicals.
Several antioxidants in blueberries benefit your eyes. Vitamin A alleviates dryness and inflammation. Vitamin C lowers the intraocular pressure that leads to glaucoma. Vitamin E impedes cataract formation. The mineral zinc aids in preventing night blindness and macular degeneration.
If you can’t quite envision indigo, picture blue-black, the color of some plum species. Vitamin C fights colds and flu. Anthocyanins and quercetin vanquish the inflammation that leads to diabetes and heart disease. Vitamin K in plums discourages arterial calcification. Phytonutrients fend off neurodegenerative disorders.
This savory root vegetable supplies Vitamin C. As a source of iron and folate, beets fight infection. The mineral manganese thwarts cancer and cardiovascular illness. Betacyanins are plant chemicals in beets that stop free radical thievery.
Beets aid in generating white blood cells. Lycopene arms you against tobacco smoke and heart disease. Potassium improves circulation and lowers blood pressure.
Three cups of chopped cabbage yield 1/2 cup of juice. This volume amply fulfills your daily need for Vitamin C. The juice also supplies a good dose of potassium, for cardiovascular health. Vitamin K in red cabbage thwarts clot formation.
To preserve all the nutrients in produce, you need the best masticating juicer. This type of appliance is adept at pressing foods of all textures, including leafy greens. Driven by a threaded rod rather than a disc blade, the machine emits no heat, protecting the viability of enzymes, vitamins, and antioxidants. For this reason, the juice is termed “cold-pressed.”
A masticating juicer whips up little air, so your juice has minimal foam. With a slim profile, the machine doesn’t overtake counter space. Since the gear crushes produce rather than shredding it, you gain all the merits of fiber. For instance, the Vitamin E in apple seeds and omega-3s in kiwi skin aren’t discarded in the pulp. The antioxidants in rinds and peels also remain intact.
Since masticating appliances are quiet, you won’t disturb your household when making juice. You’ll especially value that clean-up is a breeze.
For a formidable immune system, juice a rainbow of produce, including tomatoes, red bell peppers, carrots, oranges, cantaloupe, apples, lemon, spinach, kale, kiwi, Concord grapes, blueberries, plums, beets, and red cabbage. Use a masticating juicer, and germs will be no match for you!