There is no better time to talk about immune boosting tips than during the winter months.
Are you finding that you and your family are constantly getting sick during the colder months of the year and it has just become the “norm”?
Well, good news! It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can greatly reduce your chance of getting an illness and the duration of an illness by supporting your digestion and immune system.
As I have talked about in previous posts. The health of our immune system greatly depends on the health of our gut and microbiome. Poor digestion = poor immunity.
80% of the bodies immune system is in your gut.
You can constantly wash your hands, you can wear masks on airplanes, take all the supplements and herbs, and avoid public places to prevent getting sick.
That’s all great but if your gut microbiome is not healthy, neither will you be. You will most likely get a cold or flu regardless of your preventative measures. If you are looking to stay healthier this season the real thing we need to focus on is our gut health.
In previous posts I have talked about the microbiome, the population of good and bad bacteria in our guts. Well these bad boys (and good 😜) just so happen to play a huge role in the strength of our immune system. A healthy microbiome makes it difficult for illness causing bacteria and viruses to take hold. A weak microbiome without the proper amount of good bacteria to bad bacteria leaves us vulnerable to colds and the flu and more serious health conditions (discussed in my previous post). Our microbiomes are individual and are shaped from birth by our environments and the food we eat which means we can influence it for better or worse.
Here’s the thing. Regardless of a flu shot or all the preventative measures you take to not get sick. If your microbiome is suffering, so will you.
Here are 10 natural ways to boost your immune system and get over a cold fast!
- BONE BROTH! I can’t stress this enough. To prevent getting sick I recommend drinking bone broth daily at the start of the winter months. If you are already sick, drink up! I’m talking drinking a cup at least 3 times a day. Bone broth not only contains immune supporting amino acids and minerals but it is super hydrating. You will be amazed at how much better you feel over a couple of days! Check out my blog post here on how to make it at home. Super easy, super delicious and won’t break the bank!
- Incorporate more Vitamin C & Zinc at the start of the season. Load up on oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and kiwi or take some supplements to help give you boost! Most of the population is deficient in zinc, zinc is absolutely critical for immune health and fertility (yes, your fertility can be affected by low zinc levels!)
- Already feeling a bit under the weather? Load up on electrolytes and minerals! I love this brand for electrolytes – they are in the most bio-available form meaning they work with our body to absorb them better! I also love Redmond’s Sea Salt, it contains the most minerals out of all the salts on the market. Add some to your water daily- you’ll thank me later!
- Probiotics are crucial for a healthy gut and healthy immune system. Start incorporating a lot of diverse sources or probiotics such as kefir, kombucha (check the sugar in these!), sauerkraut, and kimchi. I also always recommend taking a good quality probiotic supplement, not all probiotics are created equal, reach out if you need suggestions!
- Eliminate inflammatory foods and possible allergens or sensitivities. Yup, you got it! If we are eating foods that are inflammatory our body can’t focus on getting over a sickness. Processed foods, refined flours and sugar also have a negative impact on our immune system and cause inflammation in the gut making you more prone to getting sick. Common gut irritants: refined sugar, canola/sunflower oils, dairy, gluten, soy, and corn. Why do kids get sick so much more than adults? Children are consuming more processed, refined, sugary foods more than ever before.
- Studies have found that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces your risk of getting the cold and flu. I highly recommend supplementing with a good vitamin D + K supplement, as vitamin D can only be absorbed if vitamin K is present. Some good food sources of vitamin D are salmon, egg yolks, butter, cheese, and grass-fed meat. Need supplement recommendations? Reach out!
- Throw out the antibiotics! Unless you have some crazy respiratory infection that you could die from, steer clear of antibiotics. Doctors love to hand out antibiotics for even minor ailments. Antibiotics have a huge impact on our gut health and are only feeding poor immunity and gut dysbiosis. They are not solving any issue and tend to cause more harm than good long-term. I am certainly not against antibiotics if they are necessary but the next time you are prescribed antibiotics for a simple cold I would question if they are necessary. Our bodies are built to kick a cold, it’s a matter resting and being patient. It take years to replenish your gut after a round of antibiotics.
- Consume elderberry syrup at the start of flu season! Research shows that elderberry syrup can literally knock the flu right out of you! And it’s quite delicious!
- If you are in the trenches of a cold, I recommend incorporating garlic! Just mash it up with some honey and eat a tablespoon a couple times a day. You will be amazed at how quick you will feel better from this alone! Garlic directly supports the diversity of our gut microbiome therefore supporting our digestion along the way.
- Lastly, but most importantly. Try your best to eliminate stress in your life. I know, easier said than done. Our immune system is greatly impacted by our nervous system and the day to day stressors. Make a conscious effort to take stock on what is stressful in your life and come up with a game plan to help eliminate those stressors or greatly reduce them.
Keep in mind, the body’s best defense is always going to be a healthy diet. Real, nourishing food supports the body’s natural defenses and can help you stay well.