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It’s winter her in MN and it’s the perfect time to tell you about some simple, natural ways to boost your immune system. It’s much easier to prevent an illness than it is to recover from an illness.
Here’s what my family does to keep our immune systems strong:
Note that you don’t want your immune system running on overdrive, so don’t take these every day, all the time. Take them if you’ve been exposed to an illness, if you’re traveling, or at the first sign of a cold. With the exception of a probiotic, you can take that daily.
These fizzy wafers dissolve in water. They are an immune-boosting combination of herbs, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. There are no chemical additives in these! Some of the active ingredients are: Vitamins A, C & E, Zinc, and Elderberry. Kid appproved!
2. Elderberry Syrup
I did a whole post on Elderberry Syrup and it’s benefits. Go check it out and make this right away. This is a potent immune booster, helps break a fever, and reduces the duration of a cold/flu.
Garlic has antimicrobal, antifungal, and antiviral properities. There are over 5,000 articles studying garlic’s medicinal effects. Garlic can help you to avoid getting sick as well as shorten the duration of a cold if you do get sick.
How to take it: Mince up 1-2 cloves of garlic, add that to a glass of water, and quickly drink it down.
4. Essential Oils-Flu Time, Lemon, Frankincense, Immune Strength
All of these Essential Oils or oil blends have immune-boosting properites. Grab one and put about 10 drops into a diffuser and let that run in the room in your house where your family spends the most time.
This is a natural antibiotic and has antiviral properties.
How to take it: Put one drop in water every couple of hours and drink this or add the oil of oregano to a carrier oil such as almond oil and apply to the bottom of your feet.
Zinc has immune-boosting properties as well as antiviral properties. Take this at the first sign of a cold/flu.
Probiotics keep your gut healthy which helps your immune system to function optimally.
Astragalus is an herb that has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as an adaptogen. That means that it helps the body fight off stress and disease. It has anti-viral properties and boosts the immune system.
How to take: 1 tsp. daily of the powder added to smoothies, soups, or grains. You can also take it by tincture.
What to eliminate to boost your Immune System:
Dairy-it is mucous-producing and should be avoided if you feel a cold coming on.
Sugar-this decreases our white blood cells that are responsible for helping us fight off infections.
Processed grains that are easily turned into sugar in our bodies and that tax our immune systems.
Eating real food made from scratch is the way to go. Remember to eat with the seasons. Eat warm, easy to digest foods during the cold months.
See below for some great recipes.
Reducing stress is huge when it comes to staying healthy. This allows your immune system to function at it’s best.
Some easy ways to do this are: meditation, exercise, massage, getting outside in nature, getting some sunshine, and taking an epsom salt bath. Pick 1 or 2 that work for you and add them to your schedule.
- 1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
- 1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
- 1 medium organic onion chopped
- 10 cloves of organic garlic crushed or chopped
- 2 organic jalapeno peppers chopped
- zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
- several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary or 2 tbsp of dried rosemary leaves
- 1 tbsp organic turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp organic cayenne powder
- organic apple cider vinegar
- raw local honey to taste
Put all in a quart-sized wide-mouth mason jar. Use a plastic lid or put parchment paper under the metal lid so that the vinegar doesn’t touch it. Shake well. Store in a dark, cool place for a month and shake daily. Strain out the pulp, pouring the liquid into a new jar. The pulp can be composted or discarded. Add 1/4 Cup honey. Stir well. Add more honey as needed for taste. This is potent so pucker up!
Tom Kha Soup
- 32 oz bone broth
- 3 cans regular coconut milk
- 2 big stalks lemongrass sliced in large pieces
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce I like Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 tablespoons minced ginger
- 8 cloves minced garlic
- 1 pack skinless chicken thighs cubed in very small pieces (sometimes I eliminate this)
- 8 ounces shitake mushrooms sliced
- 1 bunch bok choy chopped
- 1 bunch of kale chopped
- 1 bunch green onions chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1 tablespoon green thai curry paste
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
Heat the bone broth and coconut milk in a large pan.
Add the lemongrass, fish sauce, tamari, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, ginger and garlic.
Bring broth to a slow simmer, make sure it doesn’t boil, and leave it uncovered.
When the broth is simmering, add the chicken, mushrooms, bok choy, kale, green onions, carrots and green curry paste.
When the chicken is fully cooked and the carrots are tender, add the cilantro.
Add lime juice to taste.
Adapted from Learning Herbs
This Tom Kha soup recipe is full of immune-boosting herbs and is really medicine disguised as soup. Don’t let that scare you off. The flavor is amazing and I could eat this a couple times a week all winter. Make extras and freeze them!
- 1 Cup basmati rice
- 1 Cup mung beans or lentils
- 9 Cups water
- 2 onions chopped
- 5 Tbsp.coconut oil or ghee
- 3 cloves garlic
- 6-7 Cups assorted chopped veggies
- 1 Tbsp. turmeric
- 1 Tbsp. coriander
- 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp. sea salt or to taste
- 1 inch ginger root minced
- 5 cardamom pods seeds only
- liquid aminos or tamari for serving
Rinse the beans and rice and soak them overnight separately.
Strain and discard water.
Add the mung beans and rice to 9 Cups boiling water. Turn heat to low and cook for 60 minutes.
Add the veggies and keep heat on low.
Meanwhile, saute onions, ginger and garlic in ghee or coconut oil until they are clear.
Add spices and saute another 5 minutes.
Add onion mixture to the rice and beans and cook another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit 15 minutes.
Serve with liquid aminos or tamari.
Adapted from Ahlea Khadro
Kitcheree, or Kitchari is an Indian recipe that is thousands of years old. It is considered a balanced meal and complete protein. It is very easily digestible. It can be used during a cleanse, while recovering from an illness, or during times of stress. It is perfect for resting your body and digestive system to stay healthy. You can use a variety of different vegetables, whatever you have on hand.
Instant Pot Bone Broth
- Bones. Leftover bones from making a whole chicken or meaty bones such as rib bones, or collagen-rich animal parts such as chicken feet. Fill your pot about half full with bones.
- Assorted veggies such as carrots onions, celery, garlic
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 10 black peppercorns
- Any fresh herbs you have around such as sage rosemary or parsley)
- Filtered water
Place bones, veggies, herbs, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and peppercorns in the Instant Pot.
Add enough water to cover the bones and vegetables, until pot is 2/3 full.
Place lid on the Instant Pot.
Make sure the vent is turned to 'Sealing'.
Select Manual, Low Pressure for 120 minutes.
Let the Instant Pot depressurize naturally after 2 hours.
Let it cool.
Strain out the liquid and save that. Discard the bones and vegetables.
Pour into wide-mouthed mason jars and store in the fridge for for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
If putting glass jars in the freezer make sure to leave at least 3 inches at the top to allow for liquid expansion. I also leave the lids on very loosely until the liquid is frozen then I go back and tighten them.
According to The Bone Broth Secret, the benefits of bone broth are:
alleviates the common cold and bronchitis
strengthens bones and teeth
promotes weight loss
restores exercise capacity with rehydration and electrolytes
Another great and easy way to freeze your broth is to use silicone molds. This set has a tray so that you can easily get it into the freezer and stack them. They measure about 1/3 Cup so you know how many cubes to use in a recipe. Silicone is food-safe, doesn’t leach, and it’s easy to remove the cubes.
To your health!
With love + gratitude,