It’s that time of year again when the weather is changing, the kids are back in school, and the germs are starting to spread. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to protect your family and keep the illness away. Here are 8 ways for you to boost your immune system naturally.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry is a blue-black, purplish berry that comes from the the Sambucus tree commonly found in Europe. The berries, bark, and flowers have been used throughout history by Native Americans and other cultures to make jams and syrups to ward off colds and the flu. The stems and leaves are poisonous but, the cooked berries can be used to make a syrup that is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This can be taken to fight off illness quickly or as a preventative for short periods of time when you have been exposed to sickness. You can find a locally made elderberry syrup at Eatz and Treatz or make your own. Note* Many elderberry syrups contain honey. Honey should never be given to a child under the age of one. You may substitute agave in place of honey.

Probiotics

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that live in our bodies, typically in the digestive system. These bacteria help keep our bodies healthy and are necessary for proper immunity and digestive function. The natural probiotics in our body are depleted by antibiotic use because antibiotics kill all the bacteria in our bodies not just the bad bacteria. The “good” bacteria need to be replaced and increased to fight off disease. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as: yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and my favorite pickles. There are many good strains of probiotic supplements available as well. Look for the the most common ones: Lactobacillus species, Bifidobacteria, Saccharomyces boulardii and Bacillus coagulans.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a vital role in immunity because, it directly interacts with the cells in our body that fight infections. It is not found naturally in many foods although, some foods are fortified with Vitamin D, including milk and orange juice. The best way to get Vitamin D is from being in the direct sunlight. Many individuals in the northern part of the country become deficient in Vitamin D, especially in the winter months because, they have less sun exposure. Try for at least 20 minutes a day of sun exposure and supplement with Vitamin D during the winter.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant that can have healing effects. The best form of Vitamin C for supplementation is sodium ascorbate because it is easiest for our bodies to use. It can be found in fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and kiwi and also in broccoli, tomatoes, and red peppers.

Garlic

Garlic produces a compound called allicin and other sulfur-containing products when it is crushed or chopped. This is why it has so many health benefits. It is a potent, natural antibiotic that is helpful with many different ailments.  A study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared to a placebo. In addition, the average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in the placebo group to just 1.5 days in the garlic group. You can ingest a couple cloves of garlic or make your own garlic concentrate with minced garlic and olive oil to fight off bacteria.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal Silver is known in the natural health world as a powerful antiseptic and antibacterial substance. Its use has become somewhat controversial since 1999 when the FDA ruled that treatments with colloidal silver were unsafe and ineffective. However, the medical field recognizes the antimicrobial properties of silver. In fact, companies that manufacture medical equipment coat their instruments with silver to prevent bacterial from accumulating and developing on the devices. Also, newborn babies have been given silver nitrate drops in their eyes after birth to prevent gonorrhea infections to the eye. There have been studies conducted that show the silver is actually effective at killing and preventing bacterial growth, preventing viruses from entering human cells, and killing certain disease causing, yeasts. It should only be used externally and with caution as it does have similar side effects to normal antibiotics. Make sure you use a reputable brand such as MesoSilver.

Juice Plus+

Juice Plus+  offers a variety of chewables or capsules of whole foods nutrition to allow you to get more, naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your diet. It allows you to get a variety of nutrients that come from farm fresh sources in addition to your regular whole foods. It is not a replacement for healthy eating but a supplement to make sure you are getting enough of your fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains on a daily basis.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are the aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from plants. The oil can be obtained from the roots, seeds, shrub, flowers, leaves or trees and bring health and healing to the body. They have powerful physiological and psychological effects when used on the body or diffused in the air around us. Young Living is one of the reputable brands of oils that has been around for more than 20 years. The following oils have been recognized for their positive effects on the immune system: Oregano, Copaiba, Peppermint, Thieves, Frankincense, Lemongrass, and Citrus Oils.

 

Note: There are essential oils that you want to be cautious using between the ages of 0-2. Your baby’s respiratory system is much more sensitive than an adults, so you may choose NOT to use the following oils around or on your baby until they are a little older: Eucalyptus, Idaho Tansy, Hyssop, Sage, Clary Sage, Peppermint, and Wintergreen. (this is not an inclusive list and goes for the brand Young Living). Pay attention. If at any time an oil seems to bother or make your baby uncomfortable stop and get fresh air and dilute with a carrier oil. 

While these natural immune boosters are not a treatment or cure for any disease they can be used to prevent illness and to aid in quicker recovery this season. If used appropriately, they will strengthen your body’s ability to fight off bugs and infections.

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