Natural ways to boost your immune system
February was a month of illness for me. At the beginning of the month I had a wicked head cold, and I’m currently still recovering from a horrible flu. Doesn’t it suck growing up and no longer having Mum & Dad make you toast while laying on the couch watching Disney movies all day? Thankfully I have a handful of natural home remedies that usually get me back on me feet in no time!
Apple Cider Vinegar
As a fermented food, ACV has a positive impact on our immune systems and can also help with congestion [Foster, 2018]. Try taking 1-3 tablespoons a day while you’re sick. Personally I don’t mind the taste of ACV, so I dilute it with a bit of water and drink it quickly. You can also turn it into a hot drink if you particularly enjoy the taste. However, if you find it repulsive, trying adding it into salad dressings and sauces. You can also take 1 tablespoon daily as a preventive measure if you feel an illness coming on. Note: ACV on an empty stomach can make some people nauseous. If you are unsure, take it with or after food.
My Aunt recently reminded me about the magic of this stuff. Elderberry is high in antioxidants, which can help strengthen the immune system and ward off the flu [Staughton, 2019]. I use Sambucol, which you can buy with added Vitamin C and Zinc. This brand comes in the form of effervescent tablets, syrup, or gummies, and they also make a children’s version. There are directions on each package, but typically you take more while you are sick and a small amount daily as a preventive measure.
Ginger is a well-known remedy; it has antibacterial properties, and can be used to soothe sore throats and persistent coughing [Karuppiah & Rajaram, 2012]. My favourite way to consume ginger is by making a tea or juicing it, but it’s very versatile so you can also put it in many different recipes. I’m in love with ginger candies of all kind; these are my favourite.
DoTerra On Guard
This little blend helps boost your immune system and protect against all those germs floating around during flu season. It can be diffused, ingested, or used topically, and can also be used to make a hand cleanser. For all things DoTerra, check out my dear friend at The Bee Squad. She is very knowledgeable and creates the most lovely graphics!
Once you start feeling ill, begin taking 1000mg of Vitamin C every 1-2 hours. I had mono in my late teens, and this was one of the treatments my doctor suggested in order to boost my immune system. Since then, I’ve definitely prevented a handful of illnesses this way. If you’re not a fan of supplements, try foods high in Vitamin C such as guava, bell peppers, kale, or broccoli. Just keep in mind that you definitely won’t be able to consume as much Vitamin C this way.
Do you love a good turmeric latte? Good news is your immune system will too. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. You can purchase a pre-made blend or try making your own, but if tea isn’t for you, turmeric is also great in curries and soups.
Here are a few other tips that might help keep you healthy:
- This one’s a no brainer: Wash your hands! A lot!
- Change your pillow cases every day in order to prevent spreading germs.
- Once you’re better, replace your tooth brush and lip chap.
- If you need something cold but don’t want to buy packaged popsicles, try making your own with freshly squeezed juice and freezing it in these.
- Wipe down surfaces that carry a lot of germs (i.e. door handles, light switches) using a homemade cleaning spray like this one.
- Clean your phone! Just take a second and think about where you take that thing and how many times you touch it per day….gross.
- Use a neti pot to help clear your sinuses. It’s tricky to get the hang of at first, but so worth it once you do!
Disclaimer: These remedies are based on my own research and experience. Any advice taken is at your own discretion.