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
- Drink raw milk from a clean source. Other raw dairy foods are extremely immune boosting too – butter, cheese, cream, yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream.
- 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.
- Eat fermented foods – yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and lacto-fermented vegetables.
- 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.
39 replies on “17 Ways To Boost Your Immune System for The UpComing Flu/Cold Season”
Thank-you for the good reminders, this is a very timely article!
I was wondering how to choose a healthy source of drinking water. What would be your approach?
My fiance & I would like to make the switch soon, but we don’t know where to look or what questions to maybe ask of companies we buy from in order to find the cleanest water available for our bodies.
Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!
Raine, not only will these excellent suggestions boost the immune system,they will support all body functions. These are great ways to stay healthy and get healthier!
An excellent outline of how to boost your immune system and avoid getting sick.
For drinking water I use reverse osmosis water from our co-op, as Concentrace minerals, and have ‘prill beads’ in the water to restructure it to a form the body can utilize better. Tastes wonderful and stays fresh in my bottles for a long time.
I am printing this out and posting on the fridge so I (and the rest of the family) can see it! Thanks for a great informative post!
We use an APEC reverse osmosis filtration system. It removes fluoride, chlorine, and many other pollutants. We have used it for 15 years, and are very happy with it.You can look for APEC and water filtration on the internet and can find their very informative website.
Hi Jami – we are not currently using a water filtration system in our home due to the cost, but this is something I have on our list to do for the future when funds allow. I believe there are many systems available which would provide good filtration, but there are probably some which are are a waste of money too. A whole house filtration system is very spendy, but those that fit on your tap in your kitchen are more economical. The drawbacks include the fact that you have to throw away a carbon-filter which will end up in a landfill and pollute. The other is that you will have to buy separate filters for all the sinks/showers/tubs in your house eventually, if you intend to go that route. Then, each filter will have to be replaced as it wears out.
Here is a link to The Urban Homemaker, with water filtration systems I have heard are really good quality. Urban Homemaker is one of the blogs on the Real Food Media Network:
Stanley, Kris, and Christy – thanks for your comments and for visiting. I am glad you found this post helpful! 🙂
Great tips for avoiding the flu, Raine! I will spread the word. Affirming to know how much we’re doing right. Last fall when I was more stressed, less active, and indoors I got H1N1. With megadoses of D3 and B12 from my doctor I recovered in 36 hours without even a cough or runny nose. Hope to do even better this year.
Cathy – wow, your recovery from the H1N1 is amazing to hear! That’s so rapid! It’s true that the H1N1 flu is nothing to sneeze at (no pun intended), but the hype about it over the last two years has been overblown tremendously and we really need to look at the information for what it’s worth, which is a push by the pharmaceutical and medical industries to make money rather than make us healthy. Thanks for your testimony, Cathy! 🙂
Is “farmed tilipia” a good thing?
Johnny – yes, according to Food Renegade:
“And these days, many of these foods are farmed using such sustainable practices that the farmed versions are actually better for you and the environment than their wild-caught counterparts thanks to the heavy pollution and over-fishing of the wild.”
Thanks for posting this. Love this back-to-basics approach to health and wellness. We all need to keep things simple!
I’m definitely printing this out and keeping it in a handy place. One thing I didn’t see is eating mushrooms, which are also supposed to be immunity boosters.
Thanks for this great info!
Great Advice…I love the way you numbered them all #1
Please cite scientific studies that show that these tips actually work. If you GENUINELY cannot find any, then please become the nutritionist that conducts these studies. I’d like to know what is actually going on before I blindly follow these tips.
Actual Scientist –
The “scientific” studies you would probably be referring to that show these foods don’t work are the same ones supporting our obesity, cancer, heart disease, stoke, Diabetes, and other degenerative disease epidemics going on right now. Trusting these studies is folly.
We really don’t need scientific studies to prove what has been supporting human health for thousands of years – those studies are all flawed and funded by big companies who would like to keep earning the big income they’ve been enjoying for the last number of decades, and continue to keep people sick.
But just to humor you, here are the studies you asked for to keep you reading:
Chris Masterjohn – an expert on cholesterol and how important it is to the human body, and speaker at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Conference in PA this last weekend:
Health benefits of cod liver oil:
MotherEarth News, grass-fed beef benefits:
Health benefits of grass-fed products:
Watch this important video with Donna Gates and Dr. Natasha McBride (speaker at The Weston A. Price conference as well, which I attended) – experts on the importance of fermented foods and probiotics to health (there are multiple videos):
In addition, if you look through my web site and many of the other web sites linked to here you will find countless testimonials of people who were sick and diseased, and who were able to overcome their health problems with changes in diet – and with using the foods listed above for health and immune system support.
I agree with many of your tips, a lot of them makes sense…..but, you do realize the difference between a study and an article/opinion/summary, right? Your links don’t go to studies, just articles and opinion (many of which are on websites where they are also selling what’s “recommended”. There is a dollar incentive on your side of the isle too!
Katie – I certainly do understand the difference between a study and article/opinion. Here are the differences:
Studies aren’t necessary to prove what human beings have done, with great success, for thousands of years. The material published on this site is largely reflective of those facts. Second, most of the studies people are so quick to reference for credible “scientific proof” are those funded by corporations, special interest groups, the government and other sources with a specific goal in mind – to influence consumer buying habits to sell products. Although there are many other valid studies done by independent science and research which may prove whether a product is useful or good to consume, it is rare that you will find those merchants or suppliers making a massive amount of money on products that are harming people, unlike big industrial food companies and drug companies. Dietary supplements and real food do not leave a trail of sick people in its wake. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find actual studies which prove this to be true. The products recommended and advertised here are hand selected because they are safe, sustainable ,and ethically-produced. The same, once again, cannot be said about food products from big industrial companies and big pharmaceutical outfits. The entire purpose of this site is present accurate and reliable information about ways to live that are sustainable and real food to eat that promotes health. I’d much rather present information that I have a clear conscience about, that doesn’t harm people, and that promotes sustainable ways and companies who want to add to human and environmental health.
I’d also like to point out that in many places on this site, there are scientifically-based studies and research – in the form of interviews and written documentation. There are also many, many testimonials of people who followed the mainstream scientific and health recommendations for years and were sick, but when changed their dietary habits to real food and sustainability were finally able to get well. Does it make sense to follow recommendations of a system and industries that cause sickness and disease from their suggestions and products, or to find a better way with real food and dietary supplements that actually works? The more that time goes on, humans will be discovering just how powerful real food and natural remedies are for solving health issues.
Currently, most proponents of natural and real food health are opposed by the mainstream and big corporate entities, and must spend much of their time, money and effort trying to keep going. As an example, there are various farm raids that have been going on, and the government and media have been attempting to get these farmers shut down – but for no valid reason. There are claims made that these farms are selling products that contain pathogenic bacteria that is making people sick, and these claims are completely false and without any basis whatsoever. Many of these individuals and small companies have invested a great deal of time, money, and energy into education of the public and are going under because they do not receive the massive amount of income and support as the big interests do. It’s important to understand that yes, these individuals and companies are trying to make a living, but they are selling ethical and sustainable products that help people, and yet are being brought down at every turn by larger entities that can wipe them out easily – entities that have more money, resources, and anything else they need to close down a small business whose main goal is to do something positive for the environment and people’s health.
In your response to actual scientist, you called your link “studies” just pointing the difference, which I could assume you understand even though you obviously mislabeled your links. But in your response to me, you say “I’d also like to point out that in many places on this site, there are scientifically-based studies and research – in the form of interviews and written documentation. ” Interviews and written documentation are NOT the same thing as studies. I do agree that eating whole foods and living as natural life as possible is important and is my personal goal, but most of that is just my opinion or hunch. I don’t think it’s right to present things as fact unless you know for sure they are! Also, don’t be fooled that the supplement and natural foods markets don’t have a financial stake (see number one on your list) in people believing their claims…..I just wish people would examine all claims (whether they come from big food/industry or the natural foods/supplements industry, with the same level of scrutiny!
Katie – I’m sorry I didn’t make myself more clear – the interviews and various written documentation I’m referring to are most definitely scientific studies. Just because they are in an interview or written format does not make them un-scientific. 🙂
Look, I’m not saying that all supplement makers are ethical or even selling something worthwhile. What I’m saying is that the products recommended on my site and Real Food Media as a whole are sustainable and ethical products. They wouldn’t be mentioned if they weren’t. The results people get from taking these supplements as well as eating real food are things that cannot be dismissed as invalid because so much of the scientific evidence people rely on is 1) subject to change 2)influenced by the corporations who pay to have the studies done, and 3) flat out wrong. There is no conclusive evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease, for example. See these links for more details:
There are others that have been done by “real doctors” who have gone outside the mainstream scope of science and dared to tell the truth about health and nutrition. Simply because I do not document each and every single statement on my site about a subject such as saturated fat not causing heart disease (or other claims such as how to boost your immune system) does not mean it isn’t scientifically proven, it just means the scientific data wasn’t shown in that particular place. Here’s an article I wrote about the importance of dietary fat with scientific information you are wanting:
Even though I’ve already answered the other points you made, for some reason you have just chosen to make the same statement over and over again. I’m not sure what else to tell you because at this point I think you are just arguing for argument’s sake. I’m sorry to hear that you don’t find the statements I’ve made to be scientifically sound. The science is there, as well as thousands of years of human history in consuming these foods for supporting health and well-being to great success.
Please also note that the foods and products on this site that are discussed are all real food – they are not engineered foods or supplements – and there is a big difference. If we are going to talk about food and dietary supplements, we must make that distinction clear. There are myriad companies selling bogus dietary supplements with health claims made on them. On my site, if something is referred to as a dietary supplement such as cod liver oil, it is called that because the FDA requires that wording on the labeling. But the product is still a real, living food. The same cannot be said about many other supplements on the market.
To require scientific studies for foods that people have eaten since the beginning of time is really quite unnecessary. It’s only been in the last 150 years or so that people have started requiring scientific studies to prove the validity of this or that treatment, or the efficacy of some supplement or food. But those studies are often wrong – just look at all the studies proving that fat makes you fat and overweight and causes heart disease. And yet, that’s precisely the type of diet doctors and health professionals have been recommending to people – but our obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative disease epidemics are off the charts. How do you explain that? I’ll tell you what that’s called – BAD SCIENCE.
I dont’ think people have been taking cod liver supplements since the beginning of time. And it doesn’t matter how much you insist, an interview IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC study!!
Oh, and I explain the off the charts obesity epidemic, at least partly, because most people are not listening to the advice (to follow a low fat diet, yours, or most other health tip)…and eat high fat unhealthy foods anyway
Katie – people have not been taking cod liver oil supplements since the beginning of time, and I never made that claim. I said that people have eaten traditional foods for thousands and thousands of years – which is an indisputable fact – including cod liver oil. Back in time, nordic and viking fisherman took the livers and gallbladders from fish and placed them in vats or barrels for extended periods of time and fermented them. So people have been consuming this food, whether it be in this form or from supplement forms – for THOUSANDS of years – and probably longer.
Also, the examples I’m referring to of people being interviewed are scientists and doctors, talking about scientific studies.
I hope this clears up any misconceptions you are having.
Actually, studies show that people have been following the prescribed low-fat diets of the modern health recommendations, and they are still sick and battling obesity. Since you are very concerned with studies, here are two links:
It’s true, people are prone not to sticking to diets and meal plans, but the biggest reason people can’t stick to most diets is that most diets deprive people of necessary calories, protein, and fat. Then people are in starvation mode, and often end up “cheating” by eating foods they perceive won’t make them gain weight – usually processed carbs that food labels and health professionals tell them are healthy. It’s a vicious cycle that usually ends up in gaining weight again, even if weight is initially lost. The only way people actually lose weight and get healthy is to eat the way this article prescribes – dump processed foods, start eating healthy fats and proteins, and lose the idea that too many calories and fat will make us sick and overweight. We’ve been told this lie for years, and look where it’s taken us.
Here is one of the most excellent resources on health I can think of, recommending many good books with valid studies in them, on how this actually works. In fact, this whole site contains great information about health and includes studies, documentation, and recommendation from real medial doctors, respected researchers, and others in the health field who are pioneers in their teachings and discoveries – such as Ph.D’s, nutritionists and dietitians who actually do know nutrition and how it affects the body, and many others.
I highly recommend you peruse this site and read their articles.
You state that fluoride is a harmful chemical. However, it is helpful for at least teeth health. In fact with the increase of the use of bottled water has come an increase in cavities in children. Without a long-term study (which let’s face it, will not happen—I don’t know many people signing their kids up for a 10 year study) you can not prove causation, but there is pretty significant evidence to show that the increase in cavities is at least partially related to the decrease in fluoride consumption. Why are you stating that fluoride is a harmful chemical? Do you have a link to an article about the harmful effects of fluoride?
schokiegirl – fluoride is a harmful chemical – it is a by-product of the industrial waste industries, and is not the same as the fluoride found in nature. To answer your question about fluoride decreasing cavities, please read Curing Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. This book contains extensive data showing that since the inception of modern dentistry where fluoride has been used, the incidence of cavities has not gone down.
This book is a five-star rated publication by a well-known researcher in the health world who uncovers the real reasons we are experiencing such massive tooth degeneration in our health condition (primarily to do with the mass consumption of processed grains and other foods containing phytic acid such as corn, chocolate, soy, and nuts – and which are not traditionally prepared as our ancestors did).
Ramiel spoke at the most recent Weston A. Price Foundation annual conference in Philadelphia this month, which I attended, and is a well-respected researcher making revolutionary discoveries about dental and overall health.
Also, please read The Case Against Fluoride by Paul Connett, PhD., James Beck, M.D., and H.S. Micklem, DPhil.
This book has also received a five-star rating by readers and is a recent publishing with many pieces of data and evidence about the follies our society have followed with regard to using fluoride as a tooth-saving substance, how it is a hazardous waste by-product, and all the information about the bad science and powerful politics that keep it in our water supply. Fluoride, like many other products, has become a way for companies to capitalize on something that should have been considered across-the-board harmful and hazardous. It’s much cheaper (and highly profitable) to recycle waste into a product that you can convince the public they need to ingest, don’t you know?
I’m not disputing most of your health tips…I agree that eating a balanced diet that includes good fats is good for you and should be the goal. My first comment, and only real point, had to do with you linking to “studies” , when asked by “actual scientist” that weren’t actual studies (just someone talking about a study or an article summarizing a studies). You did it again, saying that I’m “so concerned with studies, here are two links”….again, not studies (I’m not disputing the content necessarily, just the fact that you call them studies when they’re not. When you post an actual study, people can see for themselves, in an un-biased format, the outcome/findings of the study. When people talk about them in an interview (or someone writes an article that references a study), you don’t get the full picture as people can pick and choose what they talk about or reference. I just don’t think it’s right to mislead the lazy reader…who may not know the difference. Just call them what they are. An interview about a study, is not the same thing as a study.
This is a great list of tips! I know a few people who would like to see this. Thanks for posting!
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