Around this time of year every year, the clinic is flooded with people suffering from coughs, colds, sore throats, or feelings of generally being under the weather - and this year in particular seems to be even worse! And while it is perfectly normal to get a cold or 2 a year, it shouldn’t last for more than a few days at a time - not to mention we are facing some other particularly nasty viruses right now (not to name names!).
Incorporating immune boosting foods every day, will help you breeze through the winter months, and be more resilient if the sniffles do strike. While I love using food to support health and immune function, sometimes there are conditions that you just can’t eat your way out of. If you are feeling particularly run down, find yourself getting sick frequently, or at the first sign of infection then please reach out to our team to seek personalised advice.
1. Bone broth.
Out of every food that I could recommend bone broth would be my number one. This nutrient powerhouse is packed full of amino acids, and other immune boosting constituents, as well as being great for supporting gut health – which is where our the majority of our immune system is housed. Broth made from chicken bones is also particularly rich in N-acetyl cysteine, and amino acid which is known for its ability to break down mucous congestion.
Garlic is a natural anti-biotic with many immune boosting and anti-microbial properties. It also helps to alleviate mucous congestion, with a particular affinity for the lungs.
3. Ginger and turmeric.
Not only are these incredibly warming, but they also possess anti-inflammatory properties that can help with the aches and pains associated with the flu.
4. Vitamin C foods.
vitamin C stimulates the immune system making you more resilient to infection. Increase foods such as citrus fruits, leafy greens, papaya, kiwi fruit and capsicum.
5. Manuka honey.
Manuka honey has been well researched for its anti-microbial and immune enhancing effects. It is also incredibly soothing and anti-inflammatory if you happen to have a sore throat.
6. Water (and other clear fluids).
Ensuring you keep well hydrated will help to keep your lymphatic system moving as well as thinning any mucous that may build up. If you don’t feel like drinking water in the cooler months, opt for clear herbal teas, miso soup or broth.
7. Avoid sugar.
the consumption of sugar suppresses our immune activity and also feeds any bacteria that we may have been exposed to. Limit yourself to natural sugars from fruits, vegetables and grains etc, and avoid the processed and added stuff
8. Avoid dairy.
Dairy can be extremely mucous producing in many people. Even if you tolerate dairy normally, aim to minimise it while you are sick.
9. Fermented foods.
Including fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, kombucha or kefir will increase your probiotic consumption, which in turn supports your gut based immunity.
10. Oily fish.
Oily fish such as sardines, salmon and trout are high in omega 3s which support the integrity of mucous membranes, including those of the respiratory system. Furthermore, sardines are rich in vitamin D which also helps to enhance immune function.
The other thing that is important if you do start to feel a little run down, is to rest and take time out. In this busy world that we live in, we can often feel pressured to power on and keep going. However, rest and time out will greatly support immune function, allowing you to recover faster and be more resilient to further infections.
Agree that food is the best medicine? Why not sip on this super immune-tea all winter long...
1 lemon – juice and half the rind
2-3cm fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp manuka honey
½ tsp dried cinnamon powder
1 cup water
OPTIONAL (but encouraged)
1 clove garlic crushed
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Place all ingredients except honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a mug, add honey and enjoy.
You could increase the quantities to make a larger batch to sip on through the day.
This article first appeared on Holism Health Co and is published with their permission.