Far out! 2020, hey? Anyone else feel like it’s been the longest year ever…and we’re only in April.
So of course, we are in a pretty crazy and overwhelming time at the moment. There is just so much that is out of our control, which can leave us feel so powerless. Which probably explains the crazy toilet paper buying, because maybe the ability to not run out of it is something people feel like they can achieve. (Although this seemingly has made it very hard for everyone else to buy it!)
But I think maybe one thing we can look at is how we support our immune systems at this time. One really great way is through supplementing Vit A, Vit D, zinc, Vit C, medicinal mushrooms etc.
But no matter whats supplements you're on, you need to be creating a foundation for yourself to create optimal wellness and to help prevent you from getting sick.
These recommendations should be combined with ensuring adequate protein consumption, good sleep and stress management.
Let’s have a look what’s in your cupboard to get your immune system firing on all cylinders.
Herbs & Spices
- Garlic- It’s active component allicin has shown to be anti-bacterial, improve cough productivity and clear respiratory tract congestion. The best way to maximise its activity is to lightly crush/chop it and have it raw. mucous and clear it from your respiratory system. Lightly crush 1-3 cloves daily and swallow, or chop and add to a tsp of honey to help you get it down.
- Ginger- Optimises digestion and anti-inflammatory
- Turmeric- Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Always combine this with some cracked black pepper and some form of fat (eg. EVOO or coconut oil) to increase its bioavailabilit
Oregano and Thyme- Contains a phenol called carvacrol and thymol which have shown to be anti-microbial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and can help modulate the immune system
- Sage, rosemary, basil, lemon balm- These herbs contain a polyphenol known as rosmarinic acid, which has been shown to dampen inflammation and has antioxidant activity
- Coriander, parsley & chives- rich in Vitamin C and carotenoids which are known to be a pre-cursor to Vitamin A (however it needs to be converted to this in the body and rates of conversion are variable), as well as high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity
How can I get all of this In on a daily basis? Use liberally in your cooking or make an Immune tonic.
Why not get creative when it comes to making food as medicine! There are lots of recipes online, but one I’ve made myself was a recipe that a fellow student at uni recommended to one of her patients! I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it here but if you’re out there Katie then thank you!! Full credit goes to you!
3 Garlic cloves
1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2.5cm fresh turmeric, peeled
1 tsp horseradish
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 TBSP raw honey
300ml organic apple cider vinegar
In a sterilized jar, grate the garlic, ginger & turmeric
Squeeze in the lemon juice & some zest then mix with the other ingredients
Place a cheesecloth or paper towel over the opening of the jar and hold it in place with a rubber band
Let the tonic ferment for 1 week on the bench top.
After 1 week, strain into another jar, seal it with a lid and keep it in the cupboard or fridge
Take 1-2 TBSP in a small amount of water each day upon rising
Mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake, maitake & turkey tail have been shown to contain carbohydrate chains called beta-D-glucans which have been shown to have strong anit-viral effect. They are also known to boost an under-active immune system by increasing and regulating important immune cells we need to fight any infection.
We’ve just started stocking Natura mushrooms (grown in Pioneer Bay, VIC). Best thing about these amazing products? You can literally add them to anything. Pimp your coffee, smoothies, soups etc.
Usually you only need about ½-1 tsp daily so it should last you a little while.
Or have a look for dried mushrooms in Asian grocery stores, health food stores and even fresh ones in your local supermarket.
With your fresh & dried options, make them however you like your mushies eg.mushroom ragout, soup or stews
Whether this is bone broth or a veggie broth, this can be such a nutrient dense powerhouse that you can add to all your cooked meals or use as a coffee/tea replacement.
Optimally, whack some organic bones (can be meat, fish or chicken) and any veggies you have on hand in a big pot of water, add some ACV to extract the minerals from the bones, bring to the boil & then let it simmer for about 12-48 hours. Keep adding water if it gets low.
Bone broth is rich in the amino acid glutamine which is known to be used as an energy source by our immune cells & intestinal cells.
For those who don’t eat animal products, you can pimp your veggie broth with some dried shiitake mushrooms to boost immune cell function and organic miso paste to feed your immune cell personal trainers- the microbiome.
Or for those who CBF making their own, have a look at Nutraorganics, The Herbal Doctors "Best of the Bone", or Meadow & Marrow.
I found a great recipe at https://www.wholeheartedeats.com/2018/08/vegan-bone-broth/.
Fruit & Veg
Simple stuff here.
Plant-based eating is a sure fire way to be fighting pesky infections.
From polyphenols that feed our microbiota and rich in minerals and vitamins.
Make the veggies the hero of your dish, make smoothies, make salads, soups.
You should be aiming for 40 different plant foods a week to support optimal gut microbial diversity which is going to support the 70% of our immune system. You know what else fruit & veg have, prebiotics and fibre which also feeds our clever little bugs.
When our bodies are under a state of stress or infection, our Vitamin C levels can be depleted, which only further dampens our immune function. Getting lots of fresh & raw fruit and veg such as dark leafy greens, citrus veg, berries, kiwi fruit capsicum etc. are rich in Vitamin C, which can help in shortening the duration of a cold.
Fruit & veg tick a lot of boxes for immune fighting. So stock up at your local farm gate and get making, because let’s be honest we’ve got a bit of time to kill in the kitchen.
Got jars? Got time? Then why not try your hand at sauerkraut or kimchi? Or kombucha? Or kefir, or yoghurt?
These are really cheap and incredible ways to support your gut microbial diversity which in turn helps to train and develop our immune system.
What do they actually do? They deliver live, transient micro-organisms to our gut that encourage microbial diversity.
And by doing this, our microbes help to crowd out any potential pathogens, help protect our gut lining and activate the phytonutrients in our foods that we need to promote health and support our immune system.
Hope you are all keeping your cool in amongst the craziness.
Until next time,
Rom & Al