Natural Immune Boosting Tools
A few weeks ago, I was getting ready for a large cooking class on top of a packed schedule when my younger son started feeling sick. He complained of a sore throat, so I let him stay home from school in the hope he would recover quickly. He usually does. I gave him ever home remedy I had available including essential oils and Astragalus.
He started to perk up as the morning progressed, so I confidently kept preparing for my cooking class. However, by late afternoon he went in the opposite direction! I let everyone know that while he was under the weather without a temperature, I was still going to move forward with the class. The plan was for my son to stay in his bedroom watching a movie. A few of my cooking class participants bowed out, but seven were still planning to come.
By 6:45 I had everything ready with various dishes set on the table. This is when I heard that ‘moan’ from the bedroom! He couldn’t keep down what was in his stomach, and I couldn’t stomach the thought of one of my cooking class participants catching the bug so I cancelled the class. How ironic that the title of the evening’s class was ‘Building a Strong Immune System!’
The silver lining was everyone’s understanding about the last minute cancellation. I also thanked my son for his impeccable timing. It would have really be embarrassing if that ‘moan’ came a few minutes after the class started! By the next day my son was feeling fine. He either had the 24-hour bug or all of my immune boosting strategies really helped. I’m going with the latter! 🙂
I’m not giving up on bringing you my delicious food so you improve your chances at getting through the winter without getting sick. So on Monday, I am having a ‘Take-2’ on this class. Do you want to learn how to incorporate the healing power of food into delicious recipes? And my class is now field tested for added effectiveness! Join me on Monday, February 12th for my Immune Boosting Cooking Class!
In the meantime, here’s are some of my best strategies for being proactive by boosting your immune system with food and supplements.
In case you do get sick, be sure to grab my natural immune boosting tools and strategies below to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of that sickness.
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Food is Medicine
Remember, sugar and refined foods (ahem, holiday cookies and treats!) are going to weaken the immune system so indulge mindfully. Practice the 90/10 rule – 90% of the time you will nourish your body with a healthy diet filled with whole plant based foods (75% of your plate!) and quality protein (1/4 of your plate) and health promoting fats (EVOO, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds). And 10% of the time you indulge in treats that bring you the utmost pleasure without ANY guilt.
Immune Boosting Foods
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts etc). There are endless ways to include these in your diet on a daily basis.
Simple tip: buy ready to be roasted clean, cut up and seasoned Brussels sprout at Trader and Joes.
Onion – contain quercetin, a nutrient that breaks up mucus in your head and chest while boosting your immune system.
Garlic – this is an antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer and cardiovascular tonic par excellence. The best home remedy for colds is to eat two cloves of raw garlic at the onset of symptoms. Chop or crush the cloves to release the allicin (a sulfur compound with strong antibiotic effects) and put them on a sandwich or swallow them in apple sauce. Don’t chew and the garlic won’t stay on your breath.
Ginger – reduces fevers, soothes sore throats, and encourages coughing to remove mucus from the chest. The chemicals shagaols and gingerols in ginger give it that spicy kick that stimulates blood circulation and opens your sinuses. Improved circulation means that more oxygen is getting to your tissues to help remove toxins and viruses.
Simple tip: make this ginger juice recipe and keep in fridge.
Mushrooms contain some of the most powerful natural medicines on the planet, especially for boosting your immunity during cold and flu season. Some of the best ones to eat for immunity include shiitake and meitake. Other immune boosting mushrooms are commonly found in powder form such as reishi and chaga.
Healing Soup: To head off that Fall/Winter Cold or Flu
Put two quarts of water (or better yet, bone broth which is filled with nutrients like glucosamine, glycine, gelatin, and other minerals that help to heal your gut which is especially restorative after having a stomach virus like the flu.) in a pot and add 1/2 head cabbage, chopped; 1 onion chopped; 1 head of garlic, chopped; 3 carrots, sliced; 3 pieces celery, diced. Boil for 30 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons grated ginger and boil for 5 more minutes. Mix in 1/4-cup miso (soybean paste), and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Don’t boil after Miso is added.
Immune Boosting Supplements
Astragalus – Antiviral and immunity-enhancer. If you tend to get every bug that goes around during the winter, you can build up your resistance to disease by taking this Chinese tonic herb on a daily basis. It’s safe to take indefinitely. Note: There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend the safe use of Astragalus during pregnancy or breastfeeding. I take this in small doses year around and then increase at the first sign of feeling under the weather.
Probiotics – 80% of your immune system is in the gut so it makes clear sense to optimize gut function by adding a strong probiotic. Rotate between different ones such as MegaFlora 50 billion, Dr. O’hiira’s Probiotics or Inner-eco
Vitamin C – Buffered Vitamin C – 1000 mg.
At the first sign of feeling under the weather, I add the following
Elderberry Extract – a wonderful antiviral syrup
Zinc (or zinc and Echinacea lozengers)
Olive Leaf Extract or incrase the Astragalus
Essential oils – I take 2 drops ea of the following essential oils from doTERRA 2x day – oregano, frankensence, lemon and OnGuard (an immune blend from doTERRA)
Sea salt water. For a sore throat, gargle with sea salt water. Sea salt is more than just a meal-time seasoning. It is actually a fantastic anti-inflammatory tool that can be used to ease a sore throat.