Updated: Sep 5, 2019
It’s been a sunshine-fueled summer and it’s time to think about nourishing your body and boosting your immunity to prepare for the colder months ahead. Whilst we may still be experiencing warm temperatures for a few more weeks, it is important to get ahead with boosting your immunity before the sudden onslaught of cold and flu season kicks in!
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Ayurveda (Traditional Indian System of Medicine) encourage us to focus on diet and lifestyle to align with the change of seasons.
Botanical herbs and vegetables that are harvested at this time of year, provide us with many healing nutrients required to boost our immune systems and fight those winter blues.
Whilst you may not be immune from catching a cold, a holistic approach will support your mind and body and certainly support your body's ability to heal faster and reduce the severity of the symptoms that you may usually experience.
Astragalus: A staple of traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is a warming immunogenic herb well-suited to fall. Complex polysaccharides in astragalus act as immunomodulators while the nutrient-rich root nourishes the body deeply. Astragalus is particularly good for the lungs as they are most susceptible to winter germs.
Garlic: Compounds in garlic boost the disease-fighting response of white blood cells when faced with viruses in the body. Garlic helps prevent sickness in the first place, lowers total duration of cold and flu, and also diminishes the severity of symptoms like headaches, fever, and sore throat. Use fresh, organic garlic and add to your recipes in the last few minutes of cooking to preserve allicin, one of its active compounds. The best way to use it is to include two to three cloves of garlic in your diet each day - in soups or fresh-pressed into salad dressings.
Ginger: While ginger itself is actually a tropical plant, the root (rhizome) of the ginger plant has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years to warm the body; beat chills; and reduce aches, pains, and digestive symptoms - accompanying colds or just more generally. Organic ginger can be used fresh or powdered.
Elderberry: A warming herb that's a favorite with the kids and adults alike in the form of elderberry syrup, this is my go-to herb for early signs of flu. Elderberry extract can significantly shorten the duration of influenza while lowering the need for medication, when compared with placebo.
Echinacea: Echinacea root is one of the most widely used botanicals for cold and flu prevention. It's been shown to reduce both the severity and the duration of colds. Studies suggest echinacea contains active substances that support immune function.
Cinnamon is "anti-microbial" which means it slows the growth of bacteria. It is also anti-inflammatory, so it boosts your overall health and immune-system. Additionally the scent can help boost your brain, which is helpful when you feel all foggy from a cold. Cinnamon also helps balance blood-sugar.
Honey is a sore throat go-to for a reason. The sweet stuff feels (and tastes) great on a scratchy throat, plus it has major anti-inflammatory power. Honey has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to heal wounds, enhance energy, and ward off colds. It's antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant properties make it highly medicinal. Add a drizzle of organic Raw or Manuka honey for maximum super-power benefits.
Herbal Tea - Sipping on a soothing cup of herbal tea will keep you teas as well as offer a short-term demulcent effect, providing relief from inflammation and irritation. Another reason to start drinking Herbal teas is because they are loaded with antioxidants that can help strengthen the immune system. Teas traditionally used to treat sore throats include licorice, marshmallow root, chamomile, echinacea and slippery elm.
Protein - Your body also needs protein for growth and repair, and some of those amino acids, like glutamine and arginine are a must for immune health. Make sure each and every one of your meals and snacks includes a good source of protein.