Top Immune Boosters
Photo credit: Green Kitchen Stories
Whether you’re living in the tropics, the frigid winter or traveling between, ’tis the season for keeping your immune system in top notch. With the combination of changing climates along with an increase in your travel schedule (and subsequent germ exposure!), can leave you feeling less than bright. Before you fall prey to a dripping nose and scratchy cough, try boosting your immune system ahead of time and be ready to take on the holiday season – health, happy and ready to go!
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite ways to keep our immune system in tip top shape — whether you’re preventing a cold or already have one.
Give your immune system a little extra love.
+ Vitamin D. One of the many functions of Vitamin D is to assist the body in destroying bacteria and viruses. If you’re fortunate to be in a warmer climate, get outdoors and soak up some natural vitamin D — sunshine! Alternatively, you can supplement with either capsules or liquid form of D3 specifically (approx dosage of 3,000-4,000 IU).
+ Vitamin C. This should be a mainstay for your cold-busting repertoire. Vit C acts against cold viruses by stimulating white blood cells, which defend the body against viruses. It’s also incredibly protective to the damaging effects of stress, which will lower your immune system. If you’re planning on traveling by air, be sure to load up on this one.
+ Probiotics. 70-80% of your immune system lives within your gut! Loading up on probiotics, be it supplements or food (fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut) is highly beneficial in warding off any cold and flu viruses.
+ Turmeric. A very strong antioxidant, turmeric is used to support digestion, treat fevers, infections and inflammation. It’s also incredibly rich in antioxidants and been shown to improve the immune system. A great addition to any recipe – without much of a strong taste, you can sprinkle this stuff on everything.
+ Ginger. This wonder spice has antibiotic effects and can help digestion, detoxification, infections, inflammation, joint pain, circulation, nausea (also pregnancy nausea) and motion sickness. Perfect for traveling! Great in many dishes! For an immunity boosting shot, we like to mix ginger with warm water, a big squeeze of lemon and a dollop of honey – a great anti-viral sweetener for this time of the year.
+ Protein. Protein helps the immune system because it makes antibodies that fight off infection. Studies show that a diet deficient in quality protein can result in depletion of immune cells and other immune-related problems. Get adequate protein daily from a variety of sources such as eggs, fish, chicken, beans, nuts, tempeh and grass-fed meats.
+ Dark Greens. Get those greens in! Aim for 5-6 servings of vegetables a day — the more dark leafy ones the better. Add them to your morning smoothie, build a delicious lunchtime salad and steam some for a dinner side. The phytonutrients in plants help reduce stress and inflammation.
+ Bone Broth and Soups. Warm bone broth made from quality organic bones is a nourishing food loaded with good fats and nutrients, and it’s simply good for the soul! Have it as a drink or add it to meals. When it comes to soups there’s no limitations – broth based or blended, go with your favourite flavours and stick to quality fresh ingredients. Both broths and soups are not only are they comforting, but also nourishing for the immune system – yes, mom did know best all along!
*A few other great tricks are including garlic, onions, coconut oil, oregano/oregano oil into your diet. They all contain beneficial properties like anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial that ward of sickness … not to mention, they make a meal taste that much better!
+ Exercise. You may not feel like moving, especially if you’re in a cold climate, but getting some exercise supports our detox organs and keeps our lymph moving. In other words, exercise/movement will keep the immune system happy and cleanse the body. Get outside for a long walk with family, flow through a yoga class or hit the gym for a sweaty sesh – just get moving.
+ Sleep. Getting adequate rest (7-8 hours is optimal) is super vital to staying healthy. It is one of the greatest tools for warding off illness and reducing stress. Sleeping is incredibly important for the body to rebuild, restore, and keep the immune system healthy. Have trouble getting shut eye? Check out our article on creating a better sleep ritual here.
+ Stress Management. As mentioned, stress can wreak havoc on your entire health and most definitely exacerbate any cold or flu. Be sure to take time out to relax and recharge – whether that be taking a few deep breaths when things get overwhelming, carving out some ‘me time’ to do whatever makes you happy, getting a massage, or even giving mediation a go.
Take charge of your health and keep yourself feeling great this season! Do you have any further immunity boosting tricks up your sleeve? Share with us below!
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