Just because you’re breaking out your cutest scarves, hats, and headbands in the colder months doesn’t mean you have to break out the tissues and cold medicine too. They’re not mutually exclusive, you know. It’s possible to get through an entire winter without getting sick. In fact, you can actually boost your immune system with these simple diet hacks below. Put them to the test and share ‘em with your friends…you won’t regret it.
Before you grab some fresh garlic, make sure you’ve got some good breath mints handy too, because let’s be real. Garlic can leave a gnarly smell in your mouth. But it’s well worth the trade off. Just in case the calcium and potassium content in one clove wasn’t enough, garlic also has more than 100 sulfuric compounds. Translation: it’s a crazy strong bacteria and infection killer.
Get it out of your head that vitamin C is only for when you’re already sick. It’s got amazing immune-boosting effects, like increasing your white blood cells and antibodies. Think of it like your own personal shield from colds and the flu. It can even assist with healing wounds! The only catch is that we don’t produce it naturally. So you’ll have to look for it in other places. Check out our articles on fruits, vegetables, and alternative sources to learn where to find it. (We like to make it easy peasy for you!)
Bacteria isn’t necessarily a bad word. It just gets a bad rap for being bad. But there’s such a thing as good bacteria. It lives inside your body, though sometimes it gets killed off despite the best of intentions. Probiotics to the rescue! Probiotics are live microorganisms (may sound gross, but it’s not.) They help maintain a healthy digestive tract and immune system so you’re less likely to get sick. There are tons of different types out there though, and they can get pricey, so it’s worth a trip to the health food store for advice on what’s best for you.
Okay so it’s not diet-related, but is still seriously worth mentioning. Those extra few episodes of The Real Housewives on your DVR can be affecting your health if you’re staying up late to watch ’em. Yeah, we know it’s addicting, but totally not worth compromising your sleep. Lack of zzz’s can make you more susceptible to getting sick. So give your immune system a little hand by turning the TV off a little earlier tonight girlfriend.
Elderberry (also known as sambucus) is a flowering plant, and it’s the – you guessed it – berries that you want out of the deal. One of the reasons we love it so much is because it’s both an immunity booster or a holistic treatment for an existing cold. Fair warning: it won’t mask the symptoms entirely if you’re already sick, but there are studies proving that elderberry can help shorten the duration. This is legit. We have first-hand experience.
Elderberry is pretty easy to find online or at a health food store, but you can also save some moolah by making your own. Try your hand at the DIY route with this recipe*. It’s super simple — promise!
- 2/3 cup dried black elderberries
- 3 1/2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves or clove powder
- 1 cup raw honey
- Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey)
- Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
- Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
- When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
- Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ tbsp to 1 tbsp for adults.
*recipe courtesy of Wellness Mama