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Opportunities for Health Promotion: Highlighting Herbs and Spices to Improve Immune Support and Well-being

Context: Consuming a balanced and varied diet is beneficial for health, especially when individuals feel stressed, scared, insecure, unequipped, or disempowered from maintaining their health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nutrient deficiencies from inadequate intake of healthful foods can contribute to a weakened immune system and greater susceptibility to infection. Including herbs and spices in a balanced and diverse diet is one of the highlights of nutritious eating that supports health and immunity. Objective: The review intended to examine ways to integrate specific herbs and spices into people's diets and to use them therapeutically in holistic, integrated health promotion. Design: The research team performed a narrative review by searching PubMed Central and Google Scholar databases. The team developed a search strategy focused on specific common names of spices and herbs in combination with other terms, such as health benefits, health promotion, immunity, inflammation. Setting: This review was conducted in Muncie and Columbus, Indiana. Results: This review uncovered studies documenting the many therapeutic properties of herbs within the lamiaceae family, particularly basil and spearmint, and spices, including cloves, ginger, and turmeric. Substantial evidence suggests that consumption of a healthful diet, inclusive of herbs and spices, may strengthen the body's immune system against diseases including highly contagious viruses. Conclusions: With respect to herbs and spices, the current review's findings can help to inform and support future recommendations for a standard within the professions of health to provide an improved, healthier, and well-educated dietary guidance for individuals. More studies are needed on the consumption of herbs and spices in human trials to elicit evidence beyond preclinical and animal studies.

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