Top Tips for Natural Immune Boosting

Today’s post is by my favorite health and wellness elf, Jackie McCaffrey. I asked her to write about natural immune boosting, because this seems to be the time of year when we’re most vulnerable to illness. If you’ve been battling the cold or flu season, and you feel like you’re at the losing end, read on and make sure you take note of the Free gift included in this post!

natural immune boosting

It’s the holiday season! For many this means carolling, mulled wine and downtime with family. For others, it means snowy winter weather, Christmas shopping crowds and cold and flu season. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall on, this time of year can leave us feeling run-down and under the weather. There are, however, some natural immune boosting ways to set yourself up for a healthy and happy season.

The immune system is an extremely complex integration of different parts. Because of its complexity there isn’t one approach to restore and support it but rather a more holistic one, which addresses the psychological, neurological, nutritional, environmental and hormonal factors that can affect its overall health.

As with all things in life, being proactive and maintaining a strong body that is resistant to colds and viruses is the best approach and you can do this by using 3 key strategies.

1. Eat a Health Promoting Diet

A health promoting diet truly is a shift in the way you eat every day. It incorporates a largely plant based diet by eating a rainbow assortment of fruits and vegetables, which helps to prevent virtually every chronic disease by ensuring your body is getting a variety of vital nutrients and minerals. This diet also means reducing your exposure to harmful pesticides and food additives that can depress your immune systems and also includes eating the right type of fats along with regulating blood sugar levels. Drinking lots of water is also key to an overall healthy diet.

2. Live a Health-Promoting Lifestyle

A health-promoting lifestyle incorporates exercise, which has a powerful and positive effect on mood through the release of endorphins and on our physical body by supporting our cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and immune systems. High quality sleep is also essential to our body and mind since many health problems are partially or directly linked to sleep disturbances and deprivation.

3. Having a Positive Mental Attitude

There are many studies that show the link between the brain, emotions and our immune system. Scientists are discovering that every thought, emotion and experience we have sends a message to the immune system that either enhances or impairs its ability to function. Simply put, this means that positive emotions boost immune functions while negative emotions suppress it. Any time you feel yourself getting frustrated or angry, try thinking of 3 things you are grateful for and watch the immediate shift in the way you feel.

If, despite all your awesome, health-promoting work, you still end up with the dreaded cold or flu; here are some tools to help you get through it and back on your feet in no time.

1. Rest

There is no way around this. You need to create space in your life to allow your body to rest and recover.

2. Supplementation

I’m a big advocate for getting your vitamins and minerals through food whenever possible but sometimes you need an extra boost. Vitamin C and D are great for helping fight off colds and in the case of Vitamin D, protect against viral upper respiratory infections.

3. Superfoods

Not all foods are considered equal as some are just more densely packed with amazing health optimizing goodness. Chlorella for example is an algae that can increase our resistance to viral infections and enhance our body’s ability to kill bacteria. Bee Propolis is the resin used on beehives to protect the hive by keeping bacteria and intruders out but it also protects us by acting as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral (similar to Oil of Oregano but much better tasting!).

4. Beneficial Spices

Ginger and garlic are my go-to spices when I’m feeling run down. Ginger warms the body when you are feeling chilled and can also help to settle an upset stomach. Garlic keeps the vampires, bacteria (and maybe your lover) at bay thanks to the immune boosting and stinky sulphuric compounds.

5. Use a Vaporizer

No, not the kind you smoke those mind-altering herbs from. A vaporizer in the bedroom or living room can help to keep your respiratory tract moist, which helps to repel viral infections. Add a few drops of essential oil such as thieves oil which supports the immune system (and smells like Christmas!) and you have a powerful and natural way to help you through the day and night.

Want to win a free nutritional consultation with Jackie and get the New Year off to a balanced and nutritious start? Click here to be entered, and we’ll announce the winner on December 23rd!

Jackie McCaffrey
Jackie McCaffreyHolistic Nutritionist
Jackie is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and runs her own holistic nutrition practice online, focusing on the needs of artists. She works to help her community find balance and understanding about which foods and supplements can help them with injury prevention and repair, stamina and overall longevity in the arts world. Jackie also works with clients who are looking for more general health and wellness help along with those who are looking for some more intensive protocols to help manage chronic disease.

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3 Comments

  1. December 18, 2015 / 12:59 am

    Vitamin C and D are not helpful in the elimination of the common cold and I call ‘fraud’ on having some quack ‘holistic nutritionist’ spew crap not backed by any science. It’s time these pseudo-science folk be banished to the sidelines for the bullshit they promote. All they do is try to write in platitudes – which is information many of us already know – but Vitamin D (specifically D3 – cholecalciferol) does not prevent colds, and never has – no science backs it up, and C does not either.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23440782

    You will continue to lose credibility if you post this crap and interview quack practitioners.

    • Cat Skinner
      December 18, 2015 / 1:35 pm

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. It did bring my attention to the fact that we should include scientific references in our health-related posts. I like to see those too. Fortunately, my awesome Holistic Nutritionist was able to craft a speedy reply:

      Thank you for your comment. It is always difficult to know how much science to offer to readers. Some may find the references boring and unnecessary while others, like you, find them necessary. I agree that readers should make informed choices about their health and as such, I do make my recommendations based on scientific evidence. I’ve provided you with some references from peer-reviewed journals so that you can see how my information is supported.

      I also want to provide you with some clarification specific to your concerns around my suggesting Vitamin C and D. In the case of Vitamin C, it is not a cure for the common cold which I don’t believe I stated, however both of these vitamins have been shown to assist in strengthening the immune response. In my research, Vitamin C has been shown to help the elements of the immune system perform their tasks which results in an increased resistance to certain pathogens. You can find more about this in the Ströhle study referenced below.

      In terms of Vitamin D supplementation, evidence shows that Vitamin D levels are linked to the susceptibility of immune-mediated disorders including chronic infections as stated in the Baeke study in my references. This is why I suggested Vitamin D may help protect again viral upper respiratory infections.
      Thanks for reading.

      Aranow C. Vitamin D and the Immune System. J Investig Med. 2011. 59(6): 881-886
      Baeke F, Takiishi T, et al. Vitamin D: Modulator of the Immune System. Current Opinion in Pharmacology. 2010. 10(4): 482-496
      Hirahashi T, Matsumoto M, et al. Activation of Human Innate Immune System by Spirulina: Augmentation of Interferon Production and NK Cytotoxicity by Oral Administration of Hot Water Extract of Spirulina Platensis. International Immunopharmacology. 2002. 2(4):423-434
      Kujumgiev A, Tsvetkova I, et al. Antibacterial, Antifungal and Antiviral Activity of Propolis of Different Geographic Origin. J of Ethnopharmacology. 1999. 64(3): 235-240
      Mizoguchi T, Takehara I, et al. Nutrigenomic Studies of Effects of Chlorella on Subjects with High-Risk Factors for Lifestyle-Related Diseases. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2008. 11(3); 395-404
      Sforcin J.M. Propolis and the Immune System: A Review. J of Ethnopharmacology. 2007. 113(1): 1-14
      Ströhle A, Hahn A. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2009. 32(2): 49-54

    • RawkShoppe
      December 18, 2015 / 2:16 pm

      Excuse me sir, but did you happen to read the pubmed link you posted? Maybe you should look more closely because it actually supports what our friendly nutritionist is saying.

      Here’s an excerpt from the conclusion:

      “Regular supplementation trials have shown that vitamin C reduces the duration of colds, but this was not replicated in the few therapeutic trials that have been carried out. Nevertheless, given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration and severity of colds in the regular supplementation studies, and the low cost and safety, it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial for them.”

      “..consistent effect…on the duration and severity..” – So it certainly helps. And that’s exactly what she wrote above.

      Q.E.D.

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