By Sam Makhoul
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 uncover how to improve your immune system by deep diving into:
- Foods as medicine
- Morning tonic
- Two smoothie recipes for optimal micro-nutrition
These all act collectively to help with prevention, the severity of symptoms and fast recovery.
Using Food As Medicine:
As winter begins to kick off in Australia, we need to research and begin to eat foods that are in season. And here’s how you can do just that:
- Turn to smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch and soups for dinner. Liquid breakfasts and dinners take the pressure off your digestive system and frees the body’s defences to focus on immune support mechanisms.
- Use garlic, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, turmeric, thyme and oregano in your cooking because they are warming and naturally anti-viral.
- Use lemon, apple cider vinegar and olive oil on salads to provide yourself with the extra boost.
- 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:
Searching foods that are both immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory? Below is a list of foods that do just that and best of all, they are easily accessible.
- Bone broth – preferably consumed as your first meal. You can also add crushed ginger, lemon juice, cayenne and fennel seeds for some extra benefits.
- Berries – especially blueberries.
- Fatty fish – such as salmon, sardines and anchovies.
- 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.
- Fruit – especially papaya, kiwi fruit, citrus fruit and grapefruit.
- Dark chocolate – with a minimum of 70% cacao, cocoa and carob.
Foods To Eliminate To Reduce Inflammation:
- Coffee, alcohol and sugar.
- Junk foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, potato chips, pretzels etc.
- Refined carbs like white bread, pasta, white rice, crackers, flour tortillas and biscuits.
- Fried foods.
- Processed meats like bacon, canned meat, salami, hot dogs and smoked meats.
- Trans fats like shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and margarine.
How Your Lifestyle Can Strength The Immune System:
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
Mix together, apple cider vinegar, hot or warm water with manuka honey and a sprinkle of high-quality salt. This tonic is not only cleansing, but it also improves your ability to get to sleep.
Did you know that 70% of our body’s 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 four seconds, holding for five and exhaling for six. Do this five 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 for more tips on how to deep breath.
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 by 10 pm and wake by 6 am. The key is to get at least 7.5 hours of 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.
Want to learn more about managing conflict in your relationship? Then, head over and listen to our podcast with Dr Guy Winch.
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.
How Supplements Can Help Build A Strong Immune System:
When it comes to vitamin supplement oral sprays work best. D3 is the most potent way to modulate innate and adaptive immune responses.
Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity, as well as an increased susceptibility to viral infection. It also defends the body from foreign, invading organisms, promoting protective immunity from direct sunlight on skin during the middle of the day.
As a side note, when your shadow is shorter than you that is the best way to get vitamin D, but for most of us, this is very difficult to do.
Vitamin C is preferably received from wholefood sources such as kakadu plumb (purchased as Gubinge powder) and elderberry lozenges. Otherwise, supplement form is great, especially with bioflavonoids.
When it comes to zinc, it is usually found in some vitamin C supplements; so make sure you always read the label.
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 COVID-19 pandemic.
Olive Leaf Extract:
This is good for coughs, sore throats and upper respiratory infections.
Echinacea Root :
If you are searching for a supplement to help relieve pain, echinacea root could be your go-to…
Perfect for cold and flu prevention, as it powers the immune system.
These lozenges are great for kids. It helps boosts your immune system and is great to prevent and reduce the severity of cold and flu.
An active compound found in turmeric – it is a strong anti-inflammatory that we recommend for all conditions.
Also never underestimate this powerful modality! Rubbed on the throat and chest – any one or combination of clove, orange, thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, eucalyptus.
Your ‘Liquid Meal’ Smoothie Recipe to Help Improve Your Immunity
Morning Green Smoothie Recipe:
- Filtered or spring water plus small piece papaya and/or organic banana.
- One compressed block of frozen spinach and kale.
- A flat teaspoon of spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, moringa powder and matcha powder.
- Half teaspoon of broccoli sprout powder (this is an essential ingredient because of its high sulforaphane content).
- One teaspoon of bee pollen.
- One tablespoon of flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds.
Post Exercise Or Afternoon Brown Earth Smoothie Recipe:
- Cold pressed almond milk or water.
- A quarter of papaya.
- One whole banana.
- ¼ cup blueberries.
- ¼ cup pre-soaked oats.
- One tablespoon of cacao and carob powder (try and opt for organic).
- One tablespoon of plant protein or one whole raw organic egg.
- One date.
- A quarter of a teaspoon true cinnamon (for insulin regulation).