A Comprehensive Guide to Strengthening Your Immune System Naturally
DISCLAIMER: The following information is general in nature and not meant to be a replacement for any specific advice you should be getting from a healthcare practitioner. If you have any symptoms please consult your doctor.
Avoiding viruses and bacteria is difficult because we are so well connected. No doubt you have heard the basics for avoidance such as washing hands. But what do you know about boosting your body’s own defence mechanisms? At A Higher Branch we believe this is the ultimate way to take control and avoid the panic.
In this article we will outline the following:
• Foods as Medicine
• Morning Tonic
• Two smoothie recipes for optimal micro-nutrition
These all act collectively to help with prevention, severity of symptoms and fast recovery.
Food As Medicine
As Australia gets into autumn and winter, we need to eat what’s in season.
• Turn to smoothies (breakfast), salads (lunch) and soups (dinner). Liquid breakfasts and dinners takes the pressure off your digestive system. This frees the body’s defences to focus on immune support mechanisms.
• Use garlic, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, turmeric, thyme and oregano in your cooking. These are warming and naturally anti-viral.
• Use lemon, apple cider vinegar and olive oil on salads
• Drink more herbal teas, especially peppermint, elderberry and marshmallow.
• Drink mushroom coffees with reishi, lions mane, shitaki and chaga. These mushrooms are well researched and proven to boost immune system performance. You will find these mushroom powders online.
Immune Boosting Anti-inflammatory Foods
• Bone broth – preferably consumed as your first meal. Add crushed ginger, lemon juice, cayenne and fennel seeds.
• Eat more berries – especially blueberries
• Eat fatty fish – like salmon, sardines and anchovies
• Eat broccoli – this is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that reduces inflammatory cytokines, which is what spikes from corona-type viruses.
• Green Tea
• Extra virgin cold-pressed olive Oil
• Mushrooms, especially portobello and truffles (uncooked). Portobello is also a great source of Vitamin D.
• Papaya, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits (esp grapefruit)
• Dark chocolate (min 70% cacao), cocoa and carob.
Eliminate Inflammation-Causing Foods
• Coffee, alcohol and sugar
• Junk foods, sugar-sweetened beverages ‘soft drinks’, potato chips, pretzels etc…(processed)
• Refined Carbs: white bread, pasta, white rice, crackers, flour tortillas, biscuits
• Fried Foods: French fries, donuts, fried chicken,
• Processed meats: bacon, canned meat, salami, hot dogs, smoked meats.
• Trans fats: shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and margarine.
Eliminate every morning Viruses and bacteria first take hold in your gut. So you need to ensure you are constantly eliminating waste from your system. The following tonic will help get you going and kill any pathogens in your gut:
• Warm water,
• Lemon juice,
• Sprinkle cayenne
• Crushed ginger
• Crushed garlic (optional)
• Manuka Honey
Night tonic: Apple Cider Vinegar, hot/warm water with manuka honey and a sprinkle of high quality salt. This tonic is not only cleansing but also improves ability to get to sleep.
Breath deeply – Did you know that 70% of our bodies detox happens in the lungs. To ensure this detox pathway happens efficiently you need to ensure you are not hunched over and shallow breathing. Take time every hour to breath deeply for 4 seconds, holding for 5 and exhaling for 6. Do this 5 times every hour. Do this standing up with shoulders back and chest out to open up the lungs. Listen to our podcast with Johannes Egberts.
Reduce stress – Stress impairs your immune system by lowering the body’s ability to produce white blood cells. It is these ‘lymphocytes’ that protect you by killing viruses and bacteria.
• Don’t work too many hours. Say “No” to workloads that overwhelm you.
• Don’t work out or train too hard at the gym (and make sure you recover well before your next workout).
• Get to bed 10pm and wake 6am. The key is to get at least 7.5 hours sleep. Sleep is the best way to neutralise stress.
• Meditate for at least 10 minutes before bedtime. And don’t watch stressful TV shows. Comedy works best 😉
• Improve your relationships with your partner, your family, your friends and your work colleagues. Often it is our relationships that cause us the most stress and by developing loving harmonious relationships we can take the pressure off our bodies. Listen to our podcast with Dr Guy Winch on managing conflict in a relationship.
Have a Sauna – They are a great way to normalise your immune system response. They also draw toxins out of the body, lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
Vitamin D3 – oral sprays work best. D3 is the most potent way to modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to viral infection and defends the body from foreign, invading organisms, promoting protective immunity Direct sunlight on skin during the middle of the day when your shadow is shorter than you is the best way to get Vitamin D, but for most of us this is very difficult to do.
Vitamin C – preferably from wholefood sources such as Kakadu plumb (purchased as Gubinge powder) and elderberry lozenges. Otherwise supplement form is great especially with bioflavonoids.
Zinc – usually found in some Vitamin C supplements.
Cats Claw – this herb normalises the immune response. It regulates the white blood cell count to ensure that the immune system does not overreact to a pathogen, which is the big problem with the latest COVID19
Olive leaf Extract – good for coughs, sore throats and upper respiratory infections.
Echinacea root – symptom relieving.
Astragalus root – cold and flu prevention. Powers the immune system.
Elderberry lozenges – these are great for kids. Boosts your immune system and is great to prevent and reduce the severity of cold and flu.
Curcumin (active compound found in turmeric) is a strong anti-inflammatory that we recommend for all conditions.
Essential oils – also never underestimate this powerful modality! Rubbed on the throat and chest – any one or combination of clove, orange, thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, eucalyptus.
Smoothie ‘Liquid Meal’ Immune Boosting recipes
Morning “Green” smoothie
• Filtered or spring Water plus small piece papaya and/or organic banana.
• One compressed block of frozen spinach and kale.
• Flat teaspoon of following: Spirulina, Chlorella, Wheatgrass, Moringa powder, matcha powder.
• Half Tsp of broccoli sprout powder (essential ingredient because of its high sulforaphane content!)
• 1 Tsp Bee Pollen.
• 1 Tbs each of flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds.
Post Exercise or Afternoon “Brown Earth” Smoothie:
· Cold pressed almond milk or water
· quarter papaya
· whole banana
· ¼ cup blueberries
· ¼ cup pre-soaked oats
· 1 Tbs Cacao and carob powder (organic)
· 1 Tbs plant protein or one whole raw organic egg
· one date and
· quarter teaspoon true cinnamon (for insulin regulation)
*********If you would like to know brand names for any of these supplements, please email us direct as we do not like to publicly promote brands or products*******