By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci
Does a change of seasons generally leave you feeling under the weather and reaching for those over-the-counter meds? When we’re sick, our body is trying to get back into balance and flush things out of our system. Taking medicine can actually suppresses our immune system’s natural response to illness, which over time weakens our natural ability to heal. Luckily, there are lots of more natural ways to kick a cold and supercharge your immune system, and you don’t have to look any further than your kitchen cabinet or local health food store!
Garlic is nature’s antibiotic. It’s a fantastic thing to add to your diet if you start to feel under the weather! Substances called allistatin, allicin, garlicin and ajoine are the strongest antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and immune-enhancing compounds found in large quantities in garlic. Fresh garlic is best, so add it to your meals. It’s incredible for you, so the garlic breath is worth it!
If you want to boost your immune system in a major way, adding fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi is important. Fermented foods contain healthy, friendly bacteria (probiotics) that help to balance your gut flora — this is where 70% of your immune system is housed! Keeping your gut in working order is essential to good health, and fermented foods are powerful.
In addition to adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet, consider a probiotic supplement. Having a healthy intestinal tract is the most important part of an optimally functioning immune system! Probiotics fill your gut with good bacteria and can kill off invading pathogens, harmful bacteria and fungi. Our Be Well Probiotics come in powder or capsule form – so there are multiple ways to get your gut healthy.
Turmeric is one of the foods with the highest antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is anti-viral, anti-fungal and can help protect against cancer. Inflammation is the cause of many chronic diseases that cause health to deteriorate, so turmeric is your anti-inflammatory superhero! When you mix turmeric with black pepper, you increase your body’s absorption significantly.
Adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential for our immune systems to function properly. Most of our Vitamin D intake comes from sunlight, so to optimize your levels a Vitamin D3 supplement can be enormously helpful. This is one of the most important things you can to do ward off sickness and keep your body in tip top shape! To find out how much vitamin D you’ll need, get your Vitamin D level checked by your doctor. Optimally, you want your level to be between 50 and 70ng/ml. Here are some guidelines on how much Vitamin D to take depending on your level.
Coconut oil has many unique health-promoting benefits. It contains a compound called lauric acid, which has been shown to enhance immunity and improve heart and thyroid health. It’s also anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral, so making it a staple in your diet is a smart idea if you want to feel your best! And don’t be concerned about the fat — the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are converted to energy quickly in the body, as opposed to storing it.
Glutathione is known as the “master antioxidant” – it’s the most powerful antioxidant produced by the body! It is highly important for energy production and immune function. It can reduce free radicals in the body which aids in detoxification. Exposure to toxins, an unhealthy diet, stress and other lifestyle triggers can contribute to the depletion of our natural stores of glutathione, so boost yourself up with a supplement!
What are your tried-and-true ways to naturally fight sickness?