Change of season is the perfect time to work on building your immune system to prepare for the harsh winter months ahead.
There are simple and effective ways you can boost your immune health to not only prevent colds and flu but to stop these nasty viruses in their tracks.
My favourite immune-boosting supplements
For deep immune building and illness prevention, I often prescribe the botanical formula, Adaptogen by Restorative Formulations. These herbs not only improve your white blood cell count to help fight infection but can also act as “adaptogens” to help balance your stress response (FYI: high-stress levels can weaken your immune system)
At the first sign of a cold or flu, I reach for Echinacea Premium - the best quality Echinacea available without exception. 2-6 of these tablets will stop most viruses in their tracks.
Caution: I strongly advise consulting with myself or another naturopathic physician before taking these supplements or any other natural medicines.
Note: I have no affiliation with Mediherb, Restorative Formulations, or any company.
The science behind the Jewish penicillin
I always knew my Bubbie (grandmother) was onto something when she faithfully ladled out her homemade chicken soup whenever one of us was sick- and now there’s scientific evidence to prove it!
A study has shown that chicken soup can actually reduce respiratory inflammation in colds and can significantly improve congestion and other symptoms.
It works by reducing the migration of neutrophils (white blood cells) to the respiratory tract which in-turn reduces inflammation and mitigates upper respiratory symptoms.
You certainly don’t need access to a family recipe to make this soup. Here's my adaptation of the study's recipe for your enjoyment:
1 whole chicken (organic preferably) - ask your butcher to cut it up for you
3 large onions diced
4 whole cloves of garlic (avoid if you have an irritable bowel)
1 large sweet potato roughly chopped
3 parsnips roughly chopped
2 turnips roughly chopped
11-12 large carrots roughly chopped
5-6 celery stalks roughly chopped
1 bunch of parsley
sea salt and pepper to taste
*optional: Astragalus root or Shitake mushrooms for additional immune support - can purchase at a health food or herbal store.
Put the chicken in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Add the onions, garlic, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, and carrot (and Astragalus or Shitake if using). Boil for about 1.5 hours. Remove fat from the surface as it accumulates. Add the parsley and celery. Cook the mixture about 45 minutes longer. Remove the chicken. Strain the soup to a clear broth. Add vegetables and chicken pieces back into the broth.
Take a break from dairy
Dairy increases mucous formation in the respiratory tract - this is real.
At the first sign of respiratory illness, take a break from the yogurt, cheese, and milk. Your respiratory system will thank you.
More valuable immune boosting tips
- Remember, the flu shot does not provide you full protection from viral infections. You need to take other measures to ensure robust immune health
- Most colds and flu are viral in origin which means antibiotics will not be effective. Many natural medicines, however, offer anti-viral properties, book a consult for your personalized immune protocol
- A fever is your body's natural defense against microorganisms. Try not to suppress your fever with Advil or Tylenol to allow your body to do its job
- Get your vitamin D levels checked - optimal levels are essential for good immunity