With 3 autoimmune diseases, our Coach Kelsie is PASSIONATE about immunity, and non-medical steps we can take to help boost our immunity. In this post, she gives us 7 natural herbs and supplements, and an immunity shot recipe. Enter Kelsie:
Let me preface this by saying, I am in no way a doctor. However, I have watched every episode of Grey’s Anatomy so that’s basically the same thing, right? Just kidding! This information has been gathered over several years and for my own personal use. This is simply a resource, and you must do what’s best for YOUR body.
A long and very winding “health” journey lead me on this path to understand my body and more importantly how my 3 autoimmune diseases impact my day-to-day life. Let me tell you, it has taken A LOT of experimenting, researching, crying (always), trying to convince my husband to try my crazy ideas (like real cray), and more researching. To put this as frankly as I can, it really boils down to YOU. You are responsible for your own health. Nobody “got” you sick. If we learn how to take proactive steps to strengthen our immunity, our immune system will be strong enough to fight the ‘invaders’ and develop natural antibodies and lifelong innate immunity.
Now, immunity is gained from the inside out and there are many foods/herbs/supplements, lifestyle changes, emotional and mental shifts that will help build and strengthen your immunity. I could go on FOREVER. Today we’ll focus on foods, herbs, and supplements you can take to support your health.
I am a HUGE proponent of a whole foods based diet/lifestyle/whatever you want to call it, and that it is THE #1 defense against sickness and disease. Our gut health relies sooooooo much on the food that we give it. 70-80% of our immune system lies in our microbiome. I hate fads when it comes to nutrition and you hear “gut health” being thrown around constantly these days, but I cannot express this enough: Your gut health matters more than one blog post can explain. SERIOUSLY. The biggest thing we can do for our health and more specifically our immune system is eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, clean meats, & healthy fats. Cut the sugar. Actually, if I could recommend one place to start. Cut. Out. The. Crap. It is not a secret that sugar and processed foods aka crap have ZERO nutritional value. Not only does it have no nutritional value, but it is extremely inflammatory to your body and wreaks havoc on your gut. Does this mean you’ll never get to have dessert again? No. That’s not what I’m saying, but if you wonder why you feel like a zombie everyday or why you’re sick all the time, look at what you eat. Once you switch to a whole foods based diet, I can almost certainly guarantee you’ll start to feel better.
Here are a few herbs and supplements you can add into your daily life to specifically better support your immune system:
A Native Indian root best known for its bright orange color and very potent taste; turmeric can be used for its incredible medicinal effects on the body. Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin has very powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Turmeric is easy to add to our daily lives, you can juice it, cook with it, or take it in capsule form.
Ginger, turmeric’s cousin, has been shown to deliver several powerful health perks. Ginger has a bioactive compound called gingerol that comes with tons of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Ginger has “stomach-calming” effects that help ease digestion; SO important for your gut health, and to soothe nausea. Because of ginger’s antimicrobial properties it may give your immune system the boost you need to fight nasty bugs. Starting your morning off with a warm cup of lemon water (filtered, always!) and raw ginger is a great way to gently wake your digestive system and boost your immune system.
Elderberries, also known as “Sambucus” are extremely high in antioxidants. These berries contain vitamins A, B and even more vitamin C than oranges! The dark color of elderberry contains a special antioxidant flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has anti-inflammatory effects. You can find the extracts or dried version in pill form at any health food store or bonus…make your own! You can control what goes into the syrup which is always a good idea. Caution: eating raw elderberry seeds can cause a build-up of cyanide in the body and turn toxic.
No, put down the bottle of Tropicana orange juice. That’s not the type of Vitamin C we’re talking about. I’m talking REAL vitamin C, either in capsule form and/or real foods that contain the essential micronutrient: oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes! On a cellular level, vitamin C neutralizes pathogens in the body and helps immune cells do their job properly. Prolonged oxidative stress is associated with a variety of chronic conditions and stimulates inflammation, but thanks to vitamin C’s antioxidant properties we’re able to keep our immune system strong. My family and I take vitamin C as a daily vitamin, if we feel the sniffles coming on, we double our dose and drink TONS of water!
Ahhh, the sunshine vitamin. Its no secret that when the sun is shining, and we are outside soaking up all those beneficial UVB rays, we feel better. But if you live in Washington or North Idaho where winter seems to get longer and longer every year, chances are you’re deficient (but again, I’m no doctor). Vitamin D impacts nearly every function in the body: hormones, immunity, cognitive function, fertility etc, and some statistics say, vitamin D3 is more effective than the flu shot. Optimal vitamin D levels have been shown to positively affect the innate and adaptive immune system in a variety of ways including boosting genetic expression of white blood cells during winter months, helping the immune system adapt and ward off infection, and reducing inflammation. If you opt for a supplement always chose vitamin D3, which is identical to what we create in our skin via the suns UVB.
Back to gut health. Everything, and I mean everything is determined from your gut. If you have a permeable gut, that will lead to a slew of health problems. To ensure we keep our gut health I ALWAYS have bone broth on hand. Bone broth has a rich history in transforming our health. The simmering of the bones, marrow, tendons and ligaments cause healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine to be released. Healthy digestive system= healthy immune system.
Now call me crazy (really, it’s okay) BUT let’s talk parasites. Yup, I said it. Parasites. You have them, I have them, its just a fact of life. Garlic is considered nature’s antibiotic! Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic properties. Win, win, win! Plus, taking garlic before bed has been shown to improve sleep quality…probably because it is killing the parasites. If you start to feel sick, take a tablespoon of chopped garlic with a tablespoon of high-quality olive oil.
Take care of your body and your body will take care of you. The next time you start to feel sick, stop it in its track with this immunity shot. You can juice it at home, order at your local juice bar, or buy one from a health foods store.
Juice and enjoy!