Cold and flu season is already here! Tired of missing work, school, and important events? Want to have more energy and vitality? Make the most of your diet and lifestyle this season and protect yourself in one of the best and easiest ways – with real food!
Real food supports our bodies with vital nutrients necessary to keep our immune systems strong and in optimal condition in ways that chemicals and medications cannot.
You really can keep yourself healthy and avoid sickness by paying attention to what you are eating, while avoiding processed and refined foods.
Here are 17 ways to keep your immune system strong this season:
- Take cod liver oil. The best cod liver oil on the market is Green Pasture cod liver oil. Try it! It’s also astoundingly useful for dental and bone health too. Cod liver oil is a superfood containing Vitamins A, D, E, and K, and all the Omega essential fatty acids, plus many other vital nutrients. Green Pasture cod liver oil is hand-crafted, not treated with heat, and slow-fermented to remove impurities and increase nutrients.
- Make bone broth – use apple cider vinegar to draw out minerals in the bones you use, and also use garlic and onions which are anti-fungal and very healing
- Eat pastured meats, eggs, and dairy products. Meat, eggs, and dairy products from healthy animals and birds on pasture are higher in many nutrients essential for our immune system health -Vitamins A, D, E (a powerful antioxidant), and K, Omega 3s which are important to keep up cardiovascular, brain, and nervous system function, and conjugated linoleic acid which is associated with a reduced risk of heart and cardiovascular disease as well. Fat and cholesterol are absolutely vital to health and immunity.
- Get out in the sun. – summer’s days may be waning, but there’s still the opportunity to get sunshine on your face and body to help store up those vital amounts of Vitamin D to help protect you against illness this winter.
- Reduce stress, and laugh. Those who take time out to make relaxation a priority on a regular basis can recharge better and keep away illness more effectively. Taking time for yourself and being able to laugh are good ways to reduce stress and keep your outlook more positive, which is a deterrent to becoming sick.
- Find an enjoyable activity or exercise you can get while enjoying fresh air – even when it’s cold. Get bundled up on chilly days and go outside for a walk or a hike. Your activity doesn’t have to be running a marathon – but should be something you find pleasure in and can find some time for yourself to get away.
- Make sure you are getting enough rest, and more importantly, don’t go to bed late.
- Eat safe-sourced seafood. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, cod, sole, halibut, tilipia, mollusks like clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, octopus, squid which are high in minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and fat-soluble vitamins A & D. Check the Monterey Bay Aquarium site for a current list of safe-sourced seafood.
- Reduce your intake of refined foods and carbohydrates, and even properly prepare. Packaged bread products, cereals, crackers, pastas, cookies, and snack foods especially. Instead, opt for soaked, sprouted, and fermented grains eaten in moderation. Properly prepared grains are easier to digest because grains contain phytic acid, a substance that blocks the absorption of nutrients. When grains are soaked, sprouted, and fermented, the phytic acid becomes neutralized and digestion is improved. Eating grains that are not properly prepared can lead to all types of health issues – headaches, irritability, digestive problems, weight gain, auto-immune disorders, eczema, dry skin, asthma, and many other problems.
- Eat plenty of healthy fats. Butter, lard, and tallow from healthy animals on pasture, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and palm oil from sustainable sources. Ditch the vegetable and fake oils like canola, cottonseed, and soybean oils (check labels in your house for things that contain these oils!), also fake butter, shortening, and other artificial fats.
- Eat fruits and vegetables, but with healthy fats. Eating fruits with cream or vegetables with butter, coconut, or olive oil helps to increase the digestibility of those foods because they contain fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Also, lacto-fermenting your vegetables improves digestibility as well. When possible, buy organic, sustainable, or pesticide-free varieties of your favorite fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure you are getting plenty of minerals in your diet. A healthy diet is important to ensure proper mineral intake, but also using real sea salt on your food and also adding it to your water (especially if you are drinking filtered water with no minerals in it). Tap water has some minerals, but it also contains many dangerous chemicals like chlorine and fluoride, and also toxins like lead, arsenic, and traces of other substances like pharmaceutical drugs and medications.
Other good ways to get more minerals in your body is to make nettles infusions. Or, add unsweetened (preferably organic) cranberry juice not from concentrate and/or freshly squeezed lemon juice to filtered water. Cranberry juice is full of minerals and is an excellent lymphatic detoxificant. Lemon also contains minerals and is an antifungal and detoxifier as well.
- Drink plenty of filtered water (see how to naturally enhance your water above). At least eight 8-ounce glasses daily. Water helps to flush out toxins from your tissues and if properly mineralized, can also keep you hydrated as well.
- Avoid taking prescription drugs, antibiotics, and over-the-counter drug products. These substances contain many toxins and don’t get to the heart of what’s causing you to be sick and not feel well. They generally only mask symptoms. Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in your body – good and bad, and can cause resistant-strain bacteria to become stronger. If you do come down with a cold or flu, check out my Home Medicine Cabinet post. It has lots of great home-remedies and ideas for managing your cold, flu, or other ailments.
- Consider a detoxification program. If you are already sick, it’s best to wait until you get well and eat healthy foods before embarking upon a detox. Although eating real food provides a certain amount of detoxification to your body already, participating in a focused detox protocol can dramatically affect your health in the future and can help prevent illness and disease. If you are new to detoxification, consulting a knowledgeable practitioner can help you choose a program that’s right for you and in some cases, help you save money on detoxification supplements. The health food store sells many products, and it can be overwhelming to go and try to pick out something when you have little to no experience doing so. You can also spend a lot of time and money on products that aren’t right for you or aren’t the correct potency.
For more information about treating your colds and flus naturally when they come, be sure to read all about My Home Medicine Cabinet, and arm yourself for days when you aren’t able to remain as healthy as you’d like.
This post is part of Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival.