The cold and flu season has descended upon us, and it seems like no one is safe from all the funky (and determined) germs that are lingering everywhere. Luckily, your body is naturally equipped with a very capable line of defense against all those nasty germs…your good ‘ol immune system. It’s like your own little personal, germ-fighting army that works tirelessly to keep you feeling like your happy, peppy self. However, with all those nasty germs hanging out everywhere you are, it might need a little help getting a leg up on the fight to keep you healthy.
Chances are, some of the tools you need to give your immune system that extra ammo it needs to fight the good fight are already hanging out in your kitchen. Here are 8 ways to boost your immune system naturally this cold and flu season so that you can save those sick days for when it’s just too pretty to go to work.
*remember, I am not a doctor. Just a lady sharing words of wisdom shared with her and tidbits of knowledge I’ve learned in my own journey to a healthy, natural lifestyle. My suggestions made here should never replace that of a doctor’s and I would strongly suggest seeking the advice of a medical professional should you be pregnant before using some of these natural immune boosting tricks
1) Elderberry Syrup. Elderberry is well known for helping support and strengthen your immune system. I take a tablespoon every day to help keep my system strong and then 1 1/2 tablespoons daily at the first sign of an encroaching illness to help my immune system strong and fighting. I even give it to my daughter! You can buy elderberry syrup at most health food stores, make your own, or (like me) find someone local to you who makes it. This is the company I buy my organic, homemade elderberry syrup from Berry Healthy here in Southern California.
2) Get enough sleep! I know that seems like me kicking a dead horse a bit, but it’s so so so true! Your body does its best healing and repairing when you are catching Z’s and if you don’t get enough, your body doesn’t have enough time to heal, landing you on the couch hugging a box of tissues for dear life. Here is a great article about how getting enough sleep boosts you immune system.
3) Garlic. This one I I learned from my wise mother-in-law. Whenever she gets sick, she eats raw garlic and she bounces back faster from an illness than people half her age. Garlic has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that make your immune system into a germ-fighting powerhouse. 1-2 cloves of raw garlic does wonders for the immune system…but not your breath. Perhaps try this trick right before bed when you likely won’t have to breathe on too many people.
4) Drinking enough water. Here I am again, beating another dead horse. This nagging old saying has hung around for generations because it is oh so true and effective. Your body is 70% water and needs to stay at 70% water to stay healthy. When you are sick (or fighting off an illness), your body burns through water faster than normal. So keep drinking lots of water….and lots of it. Plus, slow down on the caffeinated drinks (like your beloved coffee). They are diuretics and will dehydrate you faster than the illness! Exactly how much water you “should” drink is different based on what doctor, nutritionist, or expert you ask. My personal, totally unscientific rule of thumb in how much water to drink each day is half my body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to drink 75 ounces of water a day when healthy…and more if sick!
5) Lots of fruits and vegetables. This is, personally, my favorite way to fight germs…through the beauty of vitamins and minerals found in the healthy foods we eat. Fruits and veggies are loaded with the goods we need to naturally boost our immune system, so get lots of those get those suckers in you! I personally love making smoothies to help me get bonus fruits and veggies into my system. Here are a few smoothie recipes that focus on boosting your immune system
The Anti-Flu Super Smoothie from Super Healthy Kids
Magic Immune Boosting Smoothie from Feel Great in 8
Mega Magenta Immune Boosting Smoothie from The Natural Nurturer
Vitamin C Fruit Smoothie from Happy Healthy Mama
Pineapple Ginger Smoothie from One Lovely Life
Creamy Cranberry Vanilla Smoothie from Real Food Whole Life
6) Ginger. Whether you take ginger as a capsule or steam some fresh ginger root to make a tea, this herb is a fantastic way to help smooth a sore throat, dull a pounding headache, fight a fever, or ease a queasy tummy.
7) Honey. This natural sweetener not only tastes delicious, but has oodles of antibacterial properties and is great for calming a cough or tickley throat. Combine it with a little lemon, ginger, and a cinnamon stick in some hot water, and you have a serious immune system boosting brew to get you back on your feet in no time.
8) Cinnamon. This spice is awesome for doing many positive things for your body. Like ginger, honey, and garlic, it is like a natural antibiotic. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. When made into a tea with honey and lemon, it can help lower a fever, calm a cough, and break up sinus congestion.
Your body wants to stay healthy and it works overtime this time of year trying to keep those invading germs at bay. Do your part to make sure your immune system has the tools it needs to do its job so that you don’t end up caving to those obnoxious germs and spending a chunk of this holiday season passed out in bed, spooning a box of tissues and a bag of cough drops. Now go get some water!