One minute you're on top of the world, building your empire like a boss. The next minute, you're buried under 12-inches of tissues feeling more like a baby than a badass.
The last thing you need this busy season is to come down with a cold or the flu. We get it — and that's why we're amping up our daily routines with natural immunity boosters. By taking steps to strengthen our systems we'll be able to recover faster, or maybe avoid getting sick altogether.
Whether you're already sniffling and need a fast-track to feel better or wanting to take precautions and get ahead of any symptoms, these simple tips to boost immunity are just what the doctor ordered…
12 Ways To Boost Immunity Naturally
Drink Bone Broth | Bone broth is the ultimate immunity elixir. Rich in protein, healthy fats and essential minerals, it's been used for centuries to help support immunity. Studies show that the collagen in bone broth helps heals the gut, where a majority percentage of our immune system lives. Glycine, a major amino acid found in bone broth, stimulates the production of glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant, and helps purge toxins from the body. The minerals in bone broth are also highly bioavailable, meaning it's easy for the body to absorb them.
Chew Raw Garlic | Chewing fresh garlic kicks off a chemical reaction that releases allicin. This powerful antibacterial is only present shortly after garlic is crushed and before it is heated. This ancient cold remedy is not for the faint of heart, but if you can tolerate it, you'll be amazed by its ability to assuage your most uncomfortable cold symptoms.
If you're already sick, some experts recommend eating a full clove every 3 to 4 hours until you feel better. If you're taking a more preventative approach, chop up some raw garlic and simply add it (unheated!) to whatever you're eating for lunch or dinner.
Stock Up On Supplements | Cold medicine can come in handy when you're already down for the count, but stocking up on certain natural supplements beforehand might help prevent that cold entierly. The following supplements have been studied and proven to help boost immunity and even reduce the duration of cold symptoms…
Curcumin – Curcumin, the orange-yellow medicinal component of turmeric, is recognized by scientific studies (and hundreds of years of anecdotal evidence) as a potent modulator of the immune system. It's proven to support the body's natural detoxification system, encourage healthy cell cycle function, and reduce inflammation in a major way. SHOP HERE
CBD – Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, has gained major buzz for its mind-body benefits. Among many reasons why we love it, CBD's anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the immune system's inflammatory response, which leaves the body less susceptible to illness. As CBD needs to accumulate in the body to be really effective, taking a supplement daily is a great addition to your routine. New to CBD? Edible CBD Gummies (like the ones pictured above) are a great place to start. SHOP HERE
Olive Leaf – Aside from having a high concentration of antioxidants, olive leaf has an impressive ability to fight off infections. According to functional medicine expert, Dr. Josh Axe, “a study done in 2003 proved that olive leave extracts have an antimicrobial effect against bacteria and fungi. This suggests that olive leaf works as a natural antibiotic, due to its ability to fight some bacterial infections. In the study, the olive leaf extracts killed almost all bacteria tested.” SHOP HERE
Elderberry – Elderberry has been used for centuries to boost immunity. High in antioxidants, and proven to have some antiviral effects, elderberry supplements can help shorten the duration and intensity of cold symptoms. SHOP HERE
Prioritize Sleep | This one is obvious, but it needs to be said. Sleep regulates the release of the ‘stress' hormone cortisol, which in turn stimulates cells that boost the immune system. Without sufficient sleep, the body also makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Aim to get at least 8-hours, and if you have a hard time winding down, try taking a soothing magnesium supplement like this one.
Shoot Fire Cider | Fire cider is a traditional, spicy, herbal tonic used to boost immunity and amp up digestion. The concoction usually features powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, ginger, garlic, fresh herbs and plenty of apple cider vinegar. Mix the potent potion at home, allow it to steep for a few weeks, and use it all season to support vibrant health. Try this recipe from the cookbook Heirloom by Sarah Owens.
Cut The Coffee | Hydration is key to maintaining a strong immune system. Staying well-hydrated helps oxygenate our blood which fortifies our organs, it flushes toxins out of our system, it supports the production of lymph fluid, and it staves off infection. That being said, coffee is very dehydrating.
As much as we love a massive cup of cold brew, when we're vulnerable to getting sick, taking a break from coffee can help us retain the hydration we desperately need. Swap coffee for tea (non-caffeinated, if possible), and double down on how much water you drink throughout the day. If you think you drank enough water, drink more.
Add Some Chaga | Chaga is a medicinal mushroom that's known for its ability to boost immunity. It's an incredible source of antioxidants, which assists in scrubbing the body of free radicals and supporting a strong immune response. Easily available in powdered form, Chaga tastes like a light, toasty coffee when mixed into hot water with a splash of non-dairy milk. SHOP HERE
Consider Vitamin C Shots | While our bodies don't make vitamin C naturally, it's essential for immune function. We typically get a sufficient amount of vitamin C from our diet (usually in citrus fruits, strawberries, and green vegetables), but that might not be enough to save you from a cold.
One of the best ways to get a concentrated dose of vitamin C is to get a shot or an IV. Intravenous delivery might sound creepy, but this delivery method means vitamin C can reach much higher levels in the blood than when the same amount is taken by mouth. If you're needle averse, try a super-concentrated supplement like this one.
Pop a Probiotic | Did you know that most of your immune system is rooted in your gut? Taking probiotics daily is an amazing way to maintain a balance of healthy bacteria in your digestive system. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “modulation of the immune system is one of the most plausible mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of probiotics on human health.” SHOP HERE
Sip Warm Lemon Water | Drinking warm lemon water helps detoxify and hydrate the body while reducing inflammation. Lemon adds a dose of vitamin C as well as flavonoids, antioxidants that directly support strong immune function. Some experts believe that lemon water also helps alkalize the body, which means it balances pH and creates an internal environment where illness-invoking pathogens have trouble surviving. Add a drop of antioxidant-rich wold honey for bonus points.
Try Oregano Oil | A little oregano oil can go a long way when it comes to boosting immunity. The concentrated herbal supplement is known for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It contains clinically-studied medicinal compounds, such as carvacrol (has been shown to stop the growth of several different types of bacteria), thymol (a natural antifungal that can also support the immune system and protect against toxins), and terpinine (another natural antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory).
Oregano oil might burn a little going down, but it's well worth it for the benefits of this natural anti-biotic. Drop some into a small amount of water, tea or smoothie and toss that baby back a few times a day until you're feeling better. SHOP HERE
Sweat It Out | Research shows that moderate exercise (30 to 90 minutes most days of the week) increases immune function and reduces your chances of catching a cold. Sweating is considered to be the body's natural detoxification mechanism, which can be especially useful when you're trying to keep your body clear of cold bugs. Not quite up for going all-out at the gym? Try hitting an infrared sauna for strong, supplementary benefits.
What's your go-to trick for boosting immunity? Share in the comments!