Over the past week I have had the feeling that a truck is trying its hardest to run me over, but keeps getting stuck at a speed bump. What I’m trying to say with this analogy is that I’ve been feeling a nasty cold coming on, but have been doing my damnedest to try to boost my immune system and keep it at bay. I’ve been exhausted (more than the usual 3 p.m. wall), have had a harder time focusing, and can feel a slight pressure buildup in my sinuses and ears. Getting sick always comes at the most.inconvenient.time. EVER! Between grad school, work, interviews, settling into a motivating exercise routine, moving across town, finals, and getting ready for a trip to Alaska, I don’t have time for this! *commence tantrum throwing*
In an effort to boost my immune system, I’ve been trying to load up on foods and supplements that will give me a fighting chance against this thing. Not to mention, I’ve been drinking water like it’s my job and putting myself to bed earlier – mostly because I just can’t keep my eyes open.
Probiotics: A healthy gut is essential to, well, staying healthy holistically. Populating your gut with healthy bacteria helps keep out the bad bacteria when it comes knocking. A healthy gut is critical for a strong immune system that is ready to “glove up” when an infection invades. Probiotics can come as a supplement, but can also be found in yogurt and fermented foods.
Green Tea: Packed with antioxidants, green tea is a kick ass immune booster. Sipping on green tea, such as Matcha Green Tea, can give your body the extra fighting power it needs to ward off a cold or infection. Green tea also boasts a variety of other body and mind benefits, as well.
Berries: Berries are also known for packing an antioxidant punch, so I’ve been trying to include more of them in my diet. I mostly buy frozen since they’re not in season right now. Blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries all have accolades of health benefits. One way to get in these sweet nuggets is with Shrinking Kitchen’s Cranberry Ginger Smoothie. Not only am I getting antioxidants from the berries, but also a healthy dose of Vitamin C, as well as the health benefits of ginger (i.e. anti-inflammatory, immune booster, gastrointestinal relief).
Capsaicin: I like things hot, so I welcomed including more capsaicin into my every day. I’m pretty liberal with cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and hot peppers. Capsaicin’s magic trick is that it helps to flush toxins out of your body, stimulates metabolism, and improves blood circulation – which makes it a wonderful immunity booster, and a whole-body warmer at the same time. So next time you eat something spicy and your face flushes, you start to sweat, and your mouth feels like it’s on fire, just remember you’re doing yourself a favor. ;)
Turmeric: Turmeric is one of the most powerful foods on the planet in terms of health benefits. It’s packed with properties beneficial to the body and overall health. A plethora of documented studies have been conducted testing the components of turmeric and its effects on the body both internally and externally. It has been noted to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, a potential cancer fighter, an immune system booster, a source for antioxidants, good for skin health and can fight Alzheimer’s.
Check out this Winter Warmer Elixir that includes not only capsaicin, but also turmeric (as well as ginger and cinnamon) – great for those chilly winter nights, or if you just need a full-body boost.
Garlic: Garlic is responsible for helping out the liver by being a catalyst for the enzymes that help remove toxins, helping to reduce liver damage. Garlic has also been proven to help prevent colds, as well as reduce the length of time cold symptoms are experienced. One 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo. The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in placebo to just 1.5 days in the garlic group. Source
What are your go-to immune system boosters during cold and flu season?