It's back to the basics here and my intention is to share with you perhaps more tips than tricks to boost your bodies natural ability to ward of the occasional cold, flu, or as of late the coronavirus. It's on everyone's mind and somehow overnight became the leading headline.
When it comes to our immune systems and our bodies ability to ward off infection we instinctively pull out our Amazon supplements and go down the line..."Vitamin C...check", "Flinstone Vitamins...check" . We forget that while these may help slightly these last ditch efforts without any real nutrition and lifestyle changes are cute little band-aids on a gaping hole that need to be addressed. I am not advising you throw out all your vitamins in your cabinet but encouraging you to take stock and the time to take a deeper (and more holistic) approach and look under the hood!
What if we took a preventative approach to the slow drip instead of pulling out the fire hydrant to douse the full blown flames by feeding our body what it NEEDS each and everyday! I will tell you a secret that's really not so secret....ready for it?
No amount of supplements will have a profound impact like consuming real whole foods will on a cellular level in your body!
Not popular and surely not genius but it's the plain and simple (and most importantly) honest truth! It's a truth you won't likely hear from your medical doctor (unless you have a good one!) because not a single nutrition class is required in medical schools and it's not the truth you will hear from the millions of advertisements on any media platform. The best security system you can slap on your immune system doesn't come from a pill or a supplement but from the fork in your hand and the food that fills it. I recently went to the grocery store (with half the world) when everyone was desperate to stock up. Envision this....shelves of mac 'n cheese, Chips Ahoy, and Doritos all barren and empty and the produce section... (crickets). This is by no means a post to twist your arm so hard that you eventually schlep your way over to the kale and turnip greens. It was merely an observation I had of how as a society we've somehow gotten mixed messages about where our nutrition and real medicine comes from.
So let's spend the remainder of this post talking about what foods (and yes some supplements....IN conjunction!) are beneficial to add and which to avoid in your life on a day to day basis as well as ones to incorporate when you do feel a sniffle coming on.
Foods to Avoid
Sugar: I know you are wanting to know the all important question though...WHY? "Studies show that sugar in all forms (glucose, fructose and sucrose) suppresses immune function for five hours after eating it." source There's no point in double fisting all the vitamins when your very diet is undoing all the benefits. Opt for natural sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, dates, erythritol, and honey to sweeten your foods and beverages and remember to give your taste buds time to desensitize themselves and adjust. Pretty soon you'll find the foods you used to eat far too sweet for your liking. Have a sweet tooth? Try frozen raspberries, coconut ice cream, or dark chocolate sweetened with stevia instead.
Dairy: Your probably thinking my cheese has slid off my cracker here but understand that dairy causes a lot of inflammation in the body. Most individuals have a hard time digesting the lactose in dairy as well. Try dairy alternatives: for butter you can try ghee, coconut oil and olive oil, for cheese spreads or as a side try hummus, tahini, or nutritional yeast.
Gluten: Gluten is hard on the digestive tract and when consumed regularly causes leaky gut. This inflammation in the lining of the gut creates dysbiosis and leads to inflammation in other areas of the body. Cutting out gluten is a helpful way to turn down the fire. Try gluten free grains products that include brown rice, lentils, and quinoa.
Foods to Eat
Next trip to the grocery store start off first in the produce aisle. Take a mindful minute and consider all the food before you. Notice the vibrant colors and the expansive collection. View it all as medicine in which lies the vitamins and minerals (unrivaled in any supplement) that contains information that speaks to your body. This information possesses the ability to turn off bad genes and turn on good genes. Within each fruit and vegetable there are cancer protective properties that boost immunity and fight off disease, viruses, and inflammation.
"If if came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't"
Venture out and try things you've never tried before. I never knew how much I loved beets until I tried the real thing. Don't look at it like drudgery...rather a challenge! Try one new thing each time you go and try to incorporate it into your existing meals OR perhaps a new recipe all together. Whatever you do choose to see it as an adventure and do it all while having fun!
Berries: High in antioxidants
Citrus fruits: High Vitamin C
Dark leafy greens: High in antioxidants
Coconut oil: Antiviral, Antibacterial
Garlic: Antiviral, Antibacterial
Almonds: Vitamin E
Mushrooms: High in antioxidants
Bone Broth: Collagen, Anti-Inflammatory
Broccoli: High folic acid, Vit K, & C
Red Peppers: Vitamin C
Green Tea: High in antioxidants
Manuka honey: Antiviral, Antibacterial
Sweet Potatoes: Beta-carotene
Purple Cabbage: High in antioxidants
Turmeric: High in antioxidants
Ginger: High in antioxidants
Cistus Tea: High in antioxidants
Tip: Vegetables don't have to be made into a fancy meal or recipe at every meal. Most of us are tired at the end of a long day. Simply sauteing or baking/broiling vegetable (or even eating them raw!) is an easy and quick way to get your veggies in. Add a little olive oil and salt or pepper and you're good. Some enjoy adding fun dips to the side including hummus, tahini, guacamole, pesto and others.
Immune Boosting Recipes
Bone broth From the Functional Medicine Health Coaching Academy
Bones (preferably grass-fed/pasture-raised bison or beef marrow bones, or pasture-raised organic chicken bones)
Enough filtered or spring water to cover bones in pot
2 Tablespoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Optional: chopped veggies and herbs such as onions, carrots, celery, parsley, rosemary, thyme, seaweed, nettle, etc. Put all ingredients in a crockpot or large pot on the stove.
Bring to a simmer.
Cook on low for 12-72 hours. (The longer you cook the bones, the more minerals and nutrients will be pulled from them and the more medicinal your broth will be.)
Toss out the bones and carefully pour broth into mason jars with vacuum seal lid, and store in refrigerator.
Once broth cools it may become gelled; this means you have a wonderful gelatin-rich broth. Broth will keep for about five days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for several months.
To rewarm, reheat in a pot on the stove on low.
Make a healthy soup with the stock or enjoy the simple bone broth with fresh crushed garlic, sea salt, and turmeric as an incredible morning tonic before eating any food.
Makes 8 servings.
Lemon, Ginger, Honey Immune-Boosting Beverage
2 organic lemons 2, 3-inch pieces of fresh ginger
Honey (raw, unpasteurized if available)
Thinly slice lemons
Mix together and add to a 12 oz. mason jar, and use a spoon to compress the contents toward bottom of jar. Add honey until the level reaches the top of jar, and shake vigorously to allow the the lemon juice and honey to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
To serve, add 2 tablespoons to your favorite tea blend, or add to warm water. After a couple of uses, I recommend topping off the mixture by adding additional freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey to help prevent spoilage.
Antibiotic Honey: Deeply Holistic
Jar of honey
Whole head of garlic
Echinacea or horseradish root
Finely chop the fresh herbs, including one whole head of garlic, Put them in the empty jar, equivalent to the amount of honey. Mix the herbs and honey thoroughly. You can warm up the honey very slightly to make it runny so it's easier to mix, but don't heat it. Put the mixture into the two jars. It keeps for around a year in the fridge.
As am Lyme patient you can say I've done it all! From herbs to antibiotics to "a little woo woo". One approach that I've found to be extremely helpful and impactful is the herbal route. There is no denying that nature created healing properties in herbs that many competing therapies lack. Right now people want help! They want safe and supportive ways to boost their bodies way of immunity against COVID-19. This is where herbal supplements shine helping to modulate the immune system supporting it from the cytokine storm that COVID-19 creates in the body. Some of my favorites are listed below and should be considered as essential when fighting back against colds and viruses.
If you've prioritized your health and passed on the Pop Tarts and are looking for additional ways to boost immunity below are some generalized immune supporting supplements that are beneficial. Consult with your physician before adding anything new into your routine.
Spore Based Probiotic
If you're targeting microbes and seeking to boost immunity I would consider adding in the following to your regimen:
Oil of Oregano
Black Seed Oil
Olive Leaf Extract
Stefanie is a Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach & Holistic Nutritionist who specializes in Detoxification, Functional Nutrition, Lyme Disease & Mold Illness.
She is available for one-on-one health coaching sessions to support you and walk by your side. Please reach out for a complimentary consult to learn more about how partnering with me can help you along your healing journey. Together we thrive!
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed doctor and do not diagnose or treat disease. Please do not substitute the tips I have shared today for the personalized advice of your healthcare practitioner. I have share the above information for educational purposes only.
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