Healthy Beginnings

Gardening for Your Immunity

The garden in our backyard has always been known for cultivating flowers and plants that represent beauty and aesthetics in our households. Recently, a renewed interest in the use of the garden has been unearthed, driven by the demand for an alternative food source in a world filled with artificially-made food choices and chemically-enhanced products.

The art of gardening has caught the nation’s attention once again, and be it the older or younger generations, having a garden to plant in, big or small, is becoming mainstream. Here are a few statistics from The National Gardening Association on how the Earth’s potential is currently being maximized in these changing times.

  1. “35 percent of all households in America, or 42 million households, are growing food at home or in a community garden, up 17 percent in 5 years.”
  1. “Largest increases in participation seen among younger households – up 63 percent to 13 million since 2008.”
  1. “2 million more households community garden – up 200 percent since 2008.”

Underneath these gardens lie gems in the form of organic fruits and vegetables that are pesticide and herbicide free, reflecting an increasing awareness on how harmful the side effects of these products are to one’s own body. Having an accessible and organic garden ensures a healthy food source, which also can be a practical approach on saving money (compared to market prices of organic produce, which are expensive).

These are legitimate reasons why we prefer our food to be  “home grown.” A deeper reason can be explored in its benefits where it really counts the most: boosting our own immune system. This immune system is the one responsible for keeping us healthy and free from sickness. You would be surprised at how the most common fruits and vegetables that we grow can serve as basic protection, especially during the cold and flu season. Here are scientific evidences that will prove to us that they stand as our cheap and practical boosters, which are trump cards in our fight against disease and illness.

  1. Eating a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables for a duration of just 2 weeks lowers the immune system.
  2. Brightly-colored vegetables have been noted to increase interleukin-2, a substance responsible for promoting white cell function in the immune system.
  3. Sustained intake of both tomato and carrot juices have been shown to increase tumor necrosis factor-alpha, another substance that regulates the other immune cells.
  4. Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards) prevent leaky gut syndrome by lowering gut inflammation, promoting immune defenses, inhibiting bacterial spread and assisting in its repair.
  5. There are increased flu-related hospitalizations with low fruit and vegetable consumption.
  6. Increased frequency of acquiring colds during pregnancy increases the chance of  birth defects such as spinal cord problems, cleft lip and undescended testicles.
  7. Damage to a fetus can be attributed to the fever that accompanies the common cold.
  8. Moderate decreases of upper respiratory tract infections were noted during pregnancy in relation to consumption of at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables in one day that are high in nutrients and bioactive compounds.
  9. Increases in antibody production in connection with vaccine administration occurred for older individuals who eat vegetables at least 5 times a day. Antibodies are the weapons of our white cells in killing infection.

In conclusion, something as simple as our gardens can contribute greatly to our quest for a healthier well being. Seek knowledge to help you learn how to utilize the fruits and vegetables that you grow in your garden. For optimum health, we sometimes need not look anywhere else other than in our own backyard. 

For more information, call Dr. Cora Ibarra at Bio Integrative Health Center International at 775-827-6696 or visit BIHCI can help you maximize the benefits of vegetables and herbs toward specific ailments (cinnamon for controlling blood sugar) or just simply help you maintain overall wellness. In conjunction with this, BIHCI carries organic and GMO-free herb-based remedies, to assure the delivery of quality nutrition to patients, and offers additional immune system support through intravenous vitamin drips that contain all-natural ingredients, which are better absorbed by the body (versus oral intake) and intravenous bio oxidative therapies that promote healthier cells, both of which prevent the invasion of disease causing microorganism.


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  1. Zhang, J., & Cai, W. (1993). Association of the Common Cold in the First Trimester of Pregnancy With Birth Defects. Pediatrics, 92(4), 559–563.