7 Ways to Naturally Boost Immunity

I’ll start by saying that like most things in mainstream medicine, there’s a time and a place for the flu shot. However, the majority of people don’t need it come October. We know that as the days become shorter and colder, we are more vulnerable to catching a cold or the flu. Our defenses are down, but they don’t need to be. Below are 7 ways you can help naturally strengthen your defenses this flu season.

1. Strengthen Your Gut
The microbes that live in your gut not only help your body break down and digest food, but help regulate the immune system.  According to Dr. Frank Lipman, “A strong immune system relies heavily on having a healthy, well-functioning gut – as 70 percent of your immune system is in the gut- and probiotics help keep your gut engine humming.” You can find naturally high levels of probiotics in fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchee, yogurt, and kefir.

2. Get Plenty of Vitamin C.
You’ve heard this one before I’m sure. But it’s well known because it works, thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant activity, and antibacterial qualities. Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, tomatoes, red peppers, kale, and cruciferous veggies like brussel sprouts.

3. Meditate.
It almost always comes back to the state of the mind. Just 10 minutes a day of mindfulness meditation can help prevent sickness. That’s because stress weakens the immune system. If not meditation, find an activity that brings you into the moment and relaxes you, but doesn’t have you “checked out.” Take a walk in nature, listen to calming music, anything that relaxes your nervous system.

4. Wear a Scarf.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, illness comes on when pathogens attack the body. Pathogens generally enter the body through the nape of the neck and upper back as either cold or wind. They then become viral or bacterial infections. By wearing a scarf and protecting that vulnerable area, you’re less likely to let those pathogens in.

5. Get Plenty of Sleep.
Of course a sufficient amount of sleep is necessary all the time and for all body processes to work to their best ability. Yet, during the winter months, when we’re essentially in a form of hibernation, adequate sleep is very important. Add being more susceptible to sickness to the mix and the amount of sleep you get can make or break you. One study done at Carnegie Mellon University concluded that even if people said they felt well rested if they’d averaged fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night, they were almost three times as likely to get a cold as those who got eight hours.

6. Eat More Garlic.
One clove contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds – powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection.

7. Herbs and Spices for Immunity.
Incorporating a handful of the following spices into your diet will help prevent infection. Ginger, cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne. All of the these are said to give the immune system a good boost.

If you do get sick, reach for zinc-rich foods like spinach, oysters, beans, pumpkin seeds, organic beef, and flax seeds.

Another tip: BONE BROTH. Click here for a super immune boosting broth recipe.

Be well.