Food as Medicine
Top 13 Tips for Boosting Your Immunity, Naturally
Enhancing your Immune System through the foods you eat, the things you drink, the supplements you take and the thoughts you think will drastically improve you or your child’s ability to ward off colds or the flu. No one likes getting sick. What if there was a way to support your immune system naturally, and make a great difference in preventing and/or healing colds once they arise?
Good news, there is!!! Here are some excellent natural remedies to try and apply at home!
Let food be thy medicine. And medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates
1. Chaga Tea
Chaga is an antioxidant powerhouse and phenomenal immunity booster. As soon as the weather starts to drop or I hear a sneeze out of any family members, I brew a giant pot of chaga tea. Chaga (Inonotus obligus) is a medicinal mushroom that typically grows on birch trees in the wild forests of North East Canada and Siberia. In Russia, it has been traditionally used as an herbal medicine, and is often referred to as the “King of Medicinal Mushrooms.” In summary Chaga tea is an antioxidant, antiviral, anti-allergies, immune system support, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory… A Real King!
How to Prepare for Consumption:
1. As a Tea : Bring 1 L to 2 L (4-8 cups) of filtered water to boil, add a handful (1 -2 tbsp) of small pieces of Chaga and Simmer for 90 minutes . Optional, but highly recommend: add 1-4 sticks of cinnamon to the pot
That’s it! You can reuse the same batch of mushrooms 3 – 4 times.
Chaga tea has a subtle, earthy taste with vanilla and maple notes.
Side Notes: I generally put my chaga chunks in a tea strainer ball so I can keep those chunks together, enabling me to make many pots of chaga tea with the same chunks. I also often make mine in a crockpot to keep on counter constantly warm for continued consumption through out the day(s). You will know tea is done when its a dark brown color. As mentioned, reuse those chunks 3-4 times by adding more water when you run out. I often add raw honey to taste when serving, especially if its for my daughter. She is 3 and loves love loves chaga.
2. As a coffee: Brew coffee as normal. Pour half a cup of coffee into a large mug. Keep it black or add your sugar & milk/cream or hazelnut non-dairy creamer (my fav) and top up the rest of the cup with chaga that’s been brewing on your stove. I love the added cinnamon and maple flavor it gives to my coffee. You are now enabling your body to become more alkaline through adding the chaga instead of acidic with coffee on its own. Delicious and nutritious!!
As a Latte: Prepare 1 C of Chaga tea and bring to a boil with a cinnamon stick, a few pieces of clove, black peppercorns and fresh ginger root. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add ½ C nut milk. Remove from heat and add a dash of maple syrup or stevia to taste.
Where to find this: Any health food store such as Healthy Planet! My favorite brands are Giddy Yo Yo or Nutridom both of which are found on Amazon as well. For the Queen Mushroom- Reishi, find it here, in coffee for daily consumption 🙂
2. Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries are one of the greatest sources of vitamin C and antioxidants. It is like a potent medicine, but with no negative effects and far better in so many ways!!! it also tastes delicious. I purchased an Elderberry Apple Cider Vinegar Drink at the Toronto Whole Foods Market. Since then, any time I feel a throat tingle I take a little swig and its like magic working in my body. When my daughter woke up one morning recently with a runny nose and sore throat, I diluted the elderberry syrup/ACV with water (about 1 tsp syrup to 4 tbsp cold water). She sipped on this with a straw (along with drinking chaga) and the next day she was perfectly healthy and back to her normal self. The first thing she said was ” I am all better Mommy!”. And she really was. I highly recommend having Elderberry on hand to help prevent colds, and also to fight them once you get them. Where to find this: Any health food store or online. My favorite brand is for kids (if they are not good with diluting the Elderberry syrup above) is by Flora. You can also make your own elderberry syrup. (Thank you Meghan Telpner for the recipe!) Also read this article: Elderberry can totally eliminate cold and flu symptoms in 48 hours
3. Raw Honey
Have you ever had a scoop of raw honey and felt it coat your throat and leave it all tingly? That is the power of raw honey. I find it instantly makes me feel all warm and relaxed inside. Raw honey is one of Nature’s exceptional health offerings. It’s packed with everything including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes. It contains disease-preventing and disease-fighting flavonoids. It contains both propolis and bee pollen so you get the benefits of those two natural powerhouses as well. You can take it by the spoonful, or add to lemon and warm water to make a tea. It is a soothing and antioxidant rich natural medicine. Be sure to look for raw, and unpasturized. I also purchase Manuka Honey in “to-go” packs if I am ever traveling any where to help boost immunity while I am traveling. Where to find raw honey: I buy Manuka Honey in traveling packs here. You can get regular raw honey from most Farmers Markets (which is where I get mine), some grocery stores, and all health food stores such as Healthy Planet. I love and recommend this brand of raw honey!
4. Healing Juice / Broth
This can be turned into a fresh juice, or made into a broth, depending on whether you put the veggies through a juicer or cook them in water on the stove. This is both delicious and super healing for the body as it carries with it load of health fighting foods.
Ingredients: 3 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, one turnip, two beets, a half cabbage, a quarter of a bunch of parsley, quarter of an onion, a half clove of garlic.
How to cook this as Soup: Buy the vegetables as fresh (and organic) as possible. Wash, peel and dice all the vegetables evenly. Add them to a large pot of water (7-8 cups). Put lid on and bring to boil. Let simmer for about an hour. Strain vegetables and drink broth. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
For Juice: Wash and peel vegetables. Cut large vegetables into smaller pieces. Put the vegetables through a juicer and drink immediately.
According to the Prescription for Nutritional Healing Textbook, “This could be the best juice/soup on our planet for healing many illnesses.”
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important vitamin and antioxidant to help the body remain strong. You can find vitamin C in most citrus fruits especially oranges, elderberries, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, squash, in supplements or lozenges. Upping your dose of vitamin C when you are feeling a cold coming on can help your body to naturally fight it off. I love squeezing some fresh orange juice from oranges, or taking at least 1000mg vitamin C chewables.
Where to find this: Any health food store, Walmart or supplement store. Or you can find chewable Vit C online. This is my favorite AA’s (Ascorbic Acid) I add it to our daily shake or we dip strawberries into the powder and these are my favorite chews.
6. Raw Ginger
Ginger has been used in South and Southeast Asian medicine for over 5,000 years to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Ginger has a high quantity of antioxidants that fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress therefore boosting immunity in your body. It is also has potent anti-inflammatory properties and can be used very effectively to get rid of a sore throat. Fresh ginger contains active ingredients, such as gingerol and shagelol, which contain strong antimicrobial properties that help your body fight cold-causing viruses. Ginger has been used as an anti-nausea agent for centuries. Loading up on this natural medicine can help you through the healing and prevention process of colds and viruses. I like to add alot of freshly grated ginger to hot water and let it steep for at least 5 minutes. I add raw honey and lemon so it becomes a tea. Where to find this: Any grocery store in produce section. You can also use powder ginger if that’s all you have, or ginger tea that is premade.
7. Raw Garlic
Raw garlic is a potent healer. Have you ever watch the documentary “Garlic is as good as 10 mothers”? Its a good one. I literally use garlic in as many of my meals as possible. I especially love adding garlic to my cherry tomatoes in the morning. I add coconut oil, garlic, turmeric, pepper and salt to tomatoes and kale until its sauteed to deliciousness. I also boil eggs, then add avocado, raw garlic minced and coconut oil chopped up in a bowl. I have often chopped raw garlic (a good 3-4 cloves) as fine as possible and add it to cream cheese, and then slather that on gluten-free / whole grain crackers (or sprouted grain toast). I also add raw garlic to my salad dressings. Eating a large salad with raw garlic is an amazingly tasty and immune boosting way to get better. Taking 2-3 cloves of raw garlic a day is not only going to relieve a stuffed nose and help cure the cold but also build your immunity. Garlic is also an anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic powerhouse.
Here is a recipe for a Ginger-Garlic Soup with 52 cloves of Garlic .
Where to find this: Any grocery store in the produce section. Aim to get “purple” garlic. It has more medicinal qualities to it.
8. Miso Soup
Miso is a fermented & cultured soybean paste. It has antibacterial properties that are helpful for disease-prevention when trying to fight off a cold. Add 2-4 tbsp’s to a pot of boiling water (or water from a kettle). Let paste dissolve. Add grated ginger, and green onions to top if desired. Where to find this: Ethnic section of any grocery store. I like this brand.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is the first thing I go to when I feel a tickle in my throat. I often add 2 tbsp of ACV to warm water and gargle it around in my throat and then spit it out. I repeat this many times. It immediately helps to relieve the throat sting. I will then add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, (or lemon juice), to a glass of water, along with 1 tbsp raw honey to help to alkalinize my body. Creating an alkaline environment helps kill bacteria and viruses. Start drinking this concoction at the first sign of illness and repeat several times a day until the symptoms subside. If you have children, water it down, or add additional honey to make it enjoyable for them, but still tart enough with the ACV.
The brand and quality of how this product is produced is important. Make sure it is raw, organic and has the “mother” for added probiotics and health benefits.
Where to find this: Any grocery store, health food store or online. My favorite brand is this one.
10. Essential Oils
I am a huge fan of oils. Especially if I am trying to help my daughter calm down from a fever, or cool off from a warm day outside. I will often add 1-2 drops in her bath water and 1 tbsp of olive oil. I also will also mix 1 drop of essential oil with 1-2 tsp coconut oil and rub it any where on her body that needs it the most. Often her chest, throat and back. My favorites essential oils are: oil of oregano, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender. I also love On Guard roller balls from Doterra that I can roll on my daughters spine and bottoms of feet. I purchase mine through Amazon, or a distributor such as Young Living or Doterra.
11. Enzymes & Probiotics
I am most passionate these days about taking care of our gut microbiome. When the gut is healthy, our entire system is healthy. The best way to increase the health of our gut microbiome is 1) through digestive enzymes to help you break down your food and extract the nutrients from food and 2) through probiotics to help kill off bad bacteria in the gut and replenish the good bacteria for a healthy flourishing gut. When I want an added boost of immune fighting qualities, I will always reach for my enzymes or my probiotics. I do the same for my daughter. I will often open the pill for her and add it into her water. I use ONLY plant based- whole food products so they taste delicious and are ONLY helpful and healing. I recommend this brand for enzymes. And I recommend this brand for Probiotics. If you want help developing a protocol that is perfect for you, your children or your family. Contact me. I would be happy to put you in touch with holistic doctors to create the perfect health care plan for you.
12. Lots & Lots of RAW Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh and living foods contain the minerals, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants that the body need to fight off colds and defend against them. Unfortunately our society has learned how to eat alot of quick, processed and cooked foods. These are often lacking in the enzymes and nutrients our bodies needs to remain healthy. Only 5 to 10% of people in North America eat the recommended daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables. Imagine how different our health would be if we all ate more fruits and vegetables!! I challenge you to eat 5 to 10 servings of fresh and living food every single day!! If you need inspiration on how to make vegetables taste delicious, read my blog.
13. The Power of LOVE
The greatest healer booster of immunity is the power of prayer, stillness and love.
The way to let these healing powers in is by giving yourself permission to take time to care for YOU. Set a timer to be still, draw up a bath, put on some candles or aromatherapy. Make some tea and just relax!! Call upon and welcome LOVE to wash over you, through you and be vibrantly alive in you. Allow for the energetic frequency of Love to cleanse your emotional body, as well as mental and physical.
There is always a lesson behind any sickness, even the common cold. Even if that lesson is to be still more, to rest more, to care for you more, to listen deeper. Often times when it comes to our children who catch colds at school, its extra education that is needed on how to hand washing, sneeze into their sleeves, eat their veggies and learn to enjoy the above “medicines” for preventative and corrective care.
➡️I also wrote an in-depth PDF on “The Top 10 Tools for Transformation” as part of my Kitchen Alchemy Course. This PDF instructs you on why and how you can care for yourself and others on a daily basis, that will enhance your immune system and connect you to the Love within regularly.
Healing & Loving Affirmations:
“I take time to nourish myself in body, mind & spirit everyday.”
“I take time to rest”
“I submit my mind to the divine for healing and inspiration”
“I deeply listen to my Self and others.”
“I give and receive love, fully”
“I think of all the things I am grateful for and bring more things to be grateful for into my life”
“I am worthy of healing, I am worthy of Love”
“I am enough”
“I am doing the best I can”
“I love myself just the way I am”
“Everyday and in every way I am getting better and better”
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am not prescribing anything.
I am simply sharing the results of my research and experience.
If you currently experience any significant health problems, please see a licensed health practitioner.