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Veggies boost our immune system

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Published on Friday, June 23, 2023

By Victoria Torley 

We could all use a boost in our immune system and, because of where we live, we can do the first thing that doctors suggest, eat healthy natural foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. 

We hear that all the time and we also hear that herbs are very good for us too. But, which ones can we get fresh or do we need a pill?

First, the fruits and veggies. All the citrus fruits are a boon to health but donít forget papaya, guava, mango, avocado and veggies like broccoli, spinach, and red bell peppers. Shoot, all of them are good for you, and your mother probably told you so.

Then there are the herbs.

Garlic. Garlic is readily available and easy to grow. Plant it in the garden, and enjoy it in your cooking. Garlic is full of antioxidants and is a known antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent.

Turmeric. This is an easy herb to grow in Costa Rica. Like garlic, it has antiviral properties along with other health benefits. If you like the flavor of turmeric, you can add it to just about anything. Me? I buy curcumin capsules. For turmeric to be really effective, you need to ingest four tablespoons of the herb per day. I just donít like it that much.

Ginger. We love ginger. Ginger in tea, ginger in marinade, candied ginger, all wonderful. Ginger is also full of antioxidants and is an antibacterial.


Echinacea root. Echinacea grows well in highland gardens in Costa Rica and the roots are the best part of the plant to use for an infusion although the leaves are also good for tea.

Elderberry. With this plant, itís the flowers that are used either fresh or dried and the plant does grow in Costa Rica. Be aware that the leaves, roots, and bark are toxic so stick to the flowers for tea.

One of Metric Manís favorites? JalapeŮo peppers. They are anti-inflammatory. Also, they are rich in vitamins A and C and potassium. They also have carotene, an antioxidant that may help fight damage to your cells Ė as well as folate, vitamin K, and B vitamins. Many of their health benefits come from a compound called capsaicin. That's what makes the peppers spicy.

And my favorite, dark chocolate. These are stressful times and a hunk of dark chocolate has been shown to be a stress reducer. It also has antioxidant properties and is good for your cholesterol level. But dark chocolate only! None of that milk chocolate.

But, supposing you have done all the right things and still need to see a doctor?

Plant of the week. The lovely Amaryllis (family Amaryllidaceae). Amaryllis may be purchased as bare or planted bulbs, and are prized for their exotic trumpet-shaped flowers born on 1- to 2-foot leafless stalks or scapes.

They add dramatic color to homes and gardens and make wonderful gifts to gardeners from beginners to experts. Amaryllis comes in many cheerful colors. The most popular bloom colors include white, pink, and red, with many variations in hue. There are also bi-color blooms with many attractive color combinations. Some are boldly striped, while others have solid color petals with a differently colored edge.


For more information on this article or about gardening, Ms. Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached at victoriatorley1@gmail.com

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