Diet and lifestyle can be some of the most powerful ways to boost the immune system.
However, very few of us eats or lives in a manner to build up and strengthen that important part of our bodies.
Yet, many are afraid of getting sick, and for good reason. When I was growing up, getting sick meant WEEKS of misery. Days of laying around with extreme drainage, body aches, fevers, headaches, sore throats, and more would drag on with not much if any noticeable improvement from day to day. That was my norm.
American immunity is pretty much a figment of the imagination with our processed, trans-fatty diets full of sugar, GMOs, synthetic ‘vitamins and nutrients’, lab-made coloring and pesticides/herbicides/chemicals. Heck, the “heart-healthy” Cheerios is FULL of glyphosate (Round Up).
Add the highly virulent seasonal Flu shot that is chock full of neuro-toxic aluminum and mercury, and you really can’t go wrong – with getting the Flu and any other sickness you can imagine, that is. In fact, heavy metal and chemical toxicity can present as a bad cold or flu. (I know this from very personal experience.)
So here are some powerful things we either use or do to boost the immune system any time of the year, but especially during what’s known as flu season.
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#1 Essential Oils
Frankincense I will use for just about anything, especially skin issues and sicknesses because of it’s antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral qualities. We dilute it with coconut oil and rub on the bottoms of feet and along the spine.
Frankincense can also be used proactively. Dr. Axe suggests applying it (with a carrier oil) to the chest before going out when there is a possibility of being around someone sick. I’ve yet to try this, but plan to this flu season.
Oregano is also a potent natural antibiotic, but because of that potency we heavily dilute it IF we apply it topically.
Most everything else goes in the diffuser. I love to mix Frankincense, orange and lemon for a cozy, energizing, bug-butt-kicking blend.
If we have coughs, phlegm or breathing issues going on, I’ll add 1 drop Frankincense to Breathe Ease and Sacred Immune Strength (or Flu Time, whichever smell I’m preferring, but I usually always prefer the Sacred Immune Strength). It is more of a fresh, clean smell.
There are so many benefits to essential oils, to boost the immune system, support healing and improve energy and mood, but I’ve found people are often afraid of them.
First off, there are no regulations on EO companies. Any one of them can claim ‘organic’, ‘pure’, ‘natural’, etc. without a thing backing or verifying those words. That is a super good reason to be wary, and to do tons of research. There are good companies, but probably just as many, or more, bad ones.
I’ve used several, and one in specific, I like their oils, however a Holiday blend gave me my first ever migraine. That calls to question the purity of it, in my mind, as synthetic fragrances make me really sick. That same company I could never vouch for after ways they treated me as an advocate for them.
So, after plenty of our own unbiased research on both the integrity of the company and the purity of the oils, hubby and I have settled with Rocky Mountain Oils.
*Keep in mind I am not an EO expert or aromatherapist. This is not a recommendation regarding what you should use, it is an honest, behind-the-scenes look at what my family does. Always talk to your functional medicine or holistic doctor, or aromatherapist if you have any questions or concerns.*
Some of my Favorite Things for EOs
VicTsing diffuser – Friends, I. love. this. We had a smaller diffuser for a couple years, (I still recommend ones like this one for a child’s room or bathroom) and it can’t even begin to keep up with this powerhouse. Fill it up with filtered water, add oils to the water and plan on diffusing AND humidifying the house for a whole day. I’m still shocked how well this thing works. AND it’s gorgeous. Win win. 😉
Wooden EO Box – I was so sick of having oils all over my kitchen island or bathroom counters because the basket I was storing them in was too full. We finally gave in and started searching for options actually built to store them. This box is gorgeous, well built, holds 60 EO bottles (5 or 15 mL), and has extra storage for larger items. It keeps them safe from light and grubby toddler fingers. 😉 These were the runners up:
3 Drawer Oil Box – Hubby really liked this one, but it had too much storage for us right now, being able to hold 75 bottles. It doesn’t have the compartment for larger items either, which was a deal breaker for me.
SOLIGT Briefcase Box – This one holds a lot of oils too, plus it has specific spots for roller ball oils. It also doesn’t have the same kind of space for larger items though, like lotions or other holistic items, which is why we went with the first box.
#2 Immune Support
These are some proactive things to do to boost the immune system before getting sick, at the beginning and throughout flu season.
We use the Herb Pharm brand. This is the kids version that I’ve used a lot with my little guy and I swear by it. Even after symptoms show up, it’s a great way to boost the immune system and get it going strong again.
We buy Systemic Formula’s Vitamin D3 drops from our chiropractor/NRT practitioner. It has the essential Vitamin K2 in it, so your body can actually use the Vitamin D.
Being in WNY, we definitely don’t get nearly the sun exposure that we need, especially during flu season, so this is an essential supplement for health Fall through Spring.
I’ve also taken Wegmans brand Vitamin D capsules and they did seem to help my levels when my midwife was watching them during my last pregnancy. (This was probably due to the fact that I was following Dr. Weston A. Price’s recommendations and eating lots of real butter, which is a good source of vitamin K2).
I’ve heard good things about Fire and Kettle bone broths, however it’s extremely NOT cost effective for us.
So instead, I use any grass-fed bones I can get my hands on to make dark, flavorful broth. For Thanksgiving we bought a 15lb. naturally raised, non-GMO fed turkey from a beloved local butcher. The meat was delicious and I got 24 cups of stock out of it! We split the bones, got two crock-pots going, added zero-water filtered water, rosemary, thyme, sea salt, black pepper, bay leaves, sage, onions, and organic garlic and carrots. Mmmmm.
We also got a bunch of soup bones with the half, grass-fed cow we bought in December. For chicken broth I use non-gmo fed whole chickens from the same local butcher. So good.
Probiotic Rich Foods/Supplements
We use Standard Processes Lact Enz, which is a probiotic with a digestive enzyme. (We get that at our chiro’s office or a local acupuncturist who carries the line).
I’ve also used Dr. Axe’s probiotic. There are some good ways to get them naturally from your diet, however the foods high in probiotics are generally fermented.
Foods High in Probiotics that boost the immune system
- Raw, organic sauerkraut – my Dr. made some homemade kraut that was awesome. I could eat it by the forkful. I also like the brand Jacob’s Raw that we get at Wegmans.
- Kombucha – I personally HATE vinegar. This drink tastes and smells like it, so I don’t drink it. 😛
- Kefir – this has to be organic, from grass-fed cows or goats, if you want any real benefits. Or you can make your own with raw milk or coconut water.
- Coconut kefir – I’ve heard this isn’t as high in probiotics as regular kefir, and have yet to find some to try it myself.
- Yogurt – again, only buy organic, grass-fed, unsweetened yogurt, for any real benefits. (Add some raw honey or organic maple syrup!)
- Raw cheese – organic, grass-fed, raw cheese. Pasteurization destroys the probiotics.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – this is not for me. See Kombucha above. If you like oil and vinegar on a salad though, reach for this!
#3 Real Food
This is a no-brainer to anyone at all versed in the vast differences of what we humans call “food”.
Real food is basically organically grown or raised (NO pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, etc., in or on it, Non-GMO). It will nourish the body and boost the immune system, rather than create or encourage inflammation, immune responses (auto-immune diseases) and mutations (cancer).
We buy beef from a local farmer who exclusively grass feeds their cattle, even to finish. Red meat is nothing to be afraid of and is actually very healthful, IF it’s grass-fed and organic.
Conventionally raised beef (and other meats in the grocery store) are generally corn-finished. At least 88% of all corn grown in America is genetically modified to contain the pesticide Round Up IN it. Organic corn is more expensive. You can bet your life the only corn fed to your conventionally raised beef is GMO. Add in the hormones, antibiotics and other processes the poor animal goes through before ending up on your plate, and you have a killer recipe for inflammation, cancer, and auto-immune diseases.
- sweet potatoes
- garlic and onions
- ancient grains and flours like:
- (minimal) natural sweeteners like:
- raw honey
- maple syrup
- maple sugar
- coconut sugar
all count as real food. (If we are around someone sick, or feel something coming on, we cut out sweeteners entirely as sugars naturally feed infection.)
Yes, organic is usually more expensive.
However, you’re going to pay one way or the other – to keep your health now, or trying to get it back later.
Some Tips on buying budget organic food
Local, grass-fed 1/2 or 1/4 cows are more costly upfront, yes. But overall buying in bulk saves money and ends up cheaper than buying meat weekly at the grocery store. Organic meat at the grocery store is often still fed a ‘vegetarian diet’ – which means corn and soy. Check local farmers and price them out. There was a thousand dollar difference between farmers we contacted, even only miles apart.
Buying into an organic CSA can save costs on veggies and fruit, sometimes even meat. There are many ways to eat well even on a budget.
I love Amazon and their Subscribe & Save program for organic coconut sugar/coconut milk, organic white spelt flour and maple sugar.
#4 Ozone Generator
This has surprised me with how amazingly well it works.
After we redid the flooring in our upstairs (stain and poly), the off-gassing was excruciating. We closed it off from the downstairs, opened windows, put an air filter up there and prayed. 😛
It was still giving me horrible headaches, extreme sinus drainage and sneezing, and making me nauseous.
I put this ozone generator up there before leaving for an appointment and ran it for about an hour (the timer goes to 3 hours). Came home and could not believe my nose. The smell was almost entirely gone, and I could even be up there without having any symptoms at all.
It’s touted to work the same for viruses, bacteria, bugs, mold, house plants, etc. 😛 The ozone suffocates everything that needs oxygen to live. Including you, so do NOT run it while you, hubby, kids, friends, neighbors, pets, house plants, etc. are in the area. We make it a rule to be leaving the house for at least several hours before starting it, and make sure to give it at least 45 minutes after it shuts off for some breathable air to come back in. 🙂
While this in itself doesn’t boost the immune system, it supports the immune system by taking care of toxins and bugs that put stress on it.
#5 Garlic – raw or cooked
I know I mentioned this with Real Food, but it really does deserve a category all to itself.
Garlic is potent, powerful stuff. Just ask any wife who’s husband ate a plate of garlic knots then wants to kiss her. 😉
Look at some of the things it can do:
- Detox heavy metals from the body
- like mercury and aluminum (I believe this is a HUGE reason why it’s tied to helping prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia)
- Prevent heart disease
- Fight cancer
- Lower high blood pressure
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Prevent colds and the flu
I had a serious viral infection the year before my pregnancy with my first born. Along with other supplements from our NRT doctor, I did raw garlic on slices of organic tomatoes. I would swear by the ability this “God food” has to boost the immune system.
It never ceases to amaze me how many natural substances God gave us that are so healing and beneficial to our bodies. These are amazing ways to boost the immune system without side affects or future negative consequences.
So there you have it, our top 5 ways to boost the immune system and keep you healthy during flu season.
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