Raising Your Immune Potential: Cold and Flu Season
Cold and flu season is upon us, but that doesn't mean we have to resort to vaccinations and double doses of vitamin C to keep from getting sick. We can boost our immunity and reduce the risk of common infections by taking a few simple and enjoyable steps in our own homes – and it's much more fun than getting shots or taking supplements.
Keep yourself healthy through the winter months by turning your home into a spa and letting food be your medicine. By making a few simple changes, you can support your immune system, lower your risk of infection, and take positive steps on your path to health, wellness, and vitality.
Don't Skimp on Sleep
It's easy to nestle up in a chair and get caught up in a book or a TV show in this cold weather, but getting a good night's rest is central to a healthy immune system. Encourage sleep by taking steps to Decompress and De-stress before bed.
Decompress and De-stress
Soak for 20 minutes in 1–2 cups Epsom salt, ¼ - ½ cup baking soda, and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Epsom salt is rich in sulfur, which supports the liver's detoxification system, decreases inflammation, and relieves the aches and pains we often feel in cold weather. Dim the lights, turn on soft music, and empty your mind. While you soak, enjoy an 8–12 oz glass of your chilled Healthy Hydration.
Mix the following ingredients together for a health-supporting drink you can enjoy throughout the day.
64 oz hot water
Juice of 2 lemons (rich in Vitamin C)
Peeled and sliced fresh ginger (decreases inflammation)
Fresh mint (optional)
Fresh tarragon (optional)
Organic raw honey (1–2 tablespoons) or stevia (exhibits antimicrobial potential)
Nourish and Nurture
Satisfy your hunger and feed your immune system with a hearty bowl of soup or stew made from a base of bone broth. Homemade bone broth is rich in gelatin, which promotes healthy joints, as well as essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. And it isn't as intimidating to make as it seems – this recipe requires only 5 minutes of prep time.
Bone Broth Recipe
2 lbs of beef, lamb, turkey, or chicken bones
1 onion, peeled (rich in sulfur)
8–10 cloves of garlic, peeled (exhibits antiviral potential)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (alkalinizes the body)
1 tsp Celtic salt
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker on high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 8–12 hours. Strain, cool, and store in glass jars.
Ways to use
1) Sip warm cups of bone broth throughout the day.
2) Use as a base for soup. Add in:
• Mineral-rich greens such as kale, chard, spinach, collard greens, and bok choy – all are rich in antioxidants
• Immune-boosting mushrooms such as shitake, which exhibit antiviral potential
• Energizing proteins such as beans (if vegetarian), or organic grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, or turkey, primary sources of amino acids to build immune molecules known as antibodies
• Antioxidant-rich fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, or thyme
• Other low-calorie vegetables such as zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or cabbage – all are rich in vitamins, minerals, and naturally occurring immune-supporting sulfur molecules
3) Use as a base for stews. Add in your favorites of the ingredients above, and thicken with pureed carrots, parsnips, butternut, or other winter squash, which are all rich in carotenes.
Our nutrition expert Peta Cohen has been a clinical nutritionist and metabolic specialist since 1996. Peta specializes in addressing underlying metabolic changes that occur as a result of lifestyle choices and aging to prevent diseases, and deals with root causes of complex and chronic health issues. Her extensive clinical experience and research have led her to share her knowledge at seminars and conferences worldwide. In Peta's posts for the BoomSpot, she shows that great health starts with you and gives practical tips on how to improve it right now.