Immune Support Series
Part 1: Top 5 Immune Boosting Foods
It’s That Time of Year….
Let’s jump right in with a 3-part series on supporting the immune system!
If you’ve been running around like a chicken with your head cut off, taking care of everyone and everything but yourself – slow down and keep reading to find out how you can stay healthy this season!
Top 5 Immune Boosting Foods
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great option to support the immune system throughout the winter months. It is also often used to relieve nausea and for pain symptoms such as menstrual cramps. Add 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger root to warm lemon water every morning to start the day off right!
The immune boosting effects of garlic (Allium sativum) are maximized when consuming raw garlic daily. Try adding fresh garlic to your homemade salad dressing! If you have a cold, consuming raw garlic may help to reduce symptoms and speed recovery – try adding fresh minced garlic to a teaspoon of honey in place of cough syrup! Regular consumption of garlic can also help to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.
Raw honey is my go-to for a nagging sore throat or cough. Half a teaspoon to two teaspoons at bedtime has promising research showing it to be more effective than over-the-counter cough suppressants. Because cough and cold medication is not safe for children under 6, honey can be used as an alternative once over one year of age (honey should not be given to babies under one due to risk of botulism).
4) Bone Broth
Regular consumption of bone broth comes with a long list of health benefits – immune support being one of them. A healthy gut is imperative for a healthy immune system, and bone broth might be one of the most gut healing foods available. You can easily make your own in a slow cooker, or use a powdered version if you prefer (try Organika or Vital Proteins). Enjoy it on it’s own, or use it as a base for other soups/stews!
5) What To Ditch?
Along with increasing immune boosting foods in the diet, if you feel a cold coming on – you should be removing a couple of things as well!
The first are refined sugars/carbohydrates (which shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s diet ever!). They have no nutritional value, and consumption negatively impacts the immune cells responsible for fighting bacteria (this can last for several hours after consuming sugary foods or drinks). You can find refined sugar hidden in foods like flavoured yogurt, BBQ sauce, salad dressing, ketchup, fruit juice, spaghetti sauce, etc.
The second group of foods to drop when you’re sick is dairy. Dairy can be mucous promoting for some individuals, so if you are prone to congestion it’s best to avoid it at least while you are sick.
Author Dr. Melanie Craig, ND