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Just because you’re breaking out your cutest scarves and hats in the colder months doesn’t mean you have to break out the tissues and cold medicine too. It’s possible to actually get through an entire winter without getting sick by boosting your immune system naturally. Whether it's food or some good zzzz’s, the only place you'll need to look for medicine is the supermarket or a comfy bed.
Before you grab some fresh garlic, make sure you’ve got some good breath mints handy too, because garlic can leave a funky smell in your mouth. But it’s well worth the trade off. Just in case the calcium and potassium content in one clove wasn’t enough, garlic also has more than 100 sulfuric compounds. Translation: it’s a crazy strong bacteria and infection killer.
Get it out of your head that vitamin C is only for when you’re already sick. It’s got amazing immune-boosting effects, like increasing your white blood cells and antibodies. Think of it like your own personal shield from colds and the flu. It can even assist with healing wounds! Since we don't produce it naturally, you’ll have to look for it in other places. Check out our articles on fruits, vegetables, and alternative sources to learn where to find it.
Bet you never thought that staying up to watch a few extra episodes of The Real Housewives on your DVR can affect your health. Don't give into the addiction. You’ll end up compromising your sleep. Lack of zzz’s can make you more susceptible to getting sick, not to mention that it can feel worse than a hangover. So give your immune system a little extra assistance by turning the TV off a little earlier from now on.
Bacteria isn’t necessarily a bad word. It just gets a bad rap for being bad. There’s actually such a thing as good bacteria, and it lives inside your body. though sometimes it gets killed off despite the best of intentions. Probiotics to the rescue! Probiotics are live microorganisms that help maintain a healthy digestive tract and immune system so you’re less likely to get sick. You can find probiotics in things like kombucha and some dairy products (NEED SOURCE), but getting it in capsule form is probably the easiest way to go because you’ll get so many different strains of good bacteria all in one place. It’s worth a trip to the health food store for advice on what’s best for you. It’s way too easy to get overwhelmed when you're alone.
Elderberry (also known as sambucus) is a flowering plant, and it’s the - you guessed it - berries that you want out of the deal. One of the reasons we love it so much is because it’s both an immunity booster and a holistic treatment for an existing cold. Fair warning: it won’t mask the symptoms entirely if you’re already sick, but there are studies proving that elderberry can help shorten the duration. No joke. We have first-hand experience.
Elderberry is pretty easy to find online or at a health food store, but you can also save some moolah by making your own. Try your hand at the DIY route with this recipe*. Don't worry if you can't cook; you can do this!
- 3 ½ cups cold water
- 2 cups organic dried elderberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dried organic ginger root
- 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon powder or 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup raw honey
- Pour water into saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, and cinnamon
- Bring mixture to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 40-45 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about half
- Remove from heat and mash the berries
- Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth into a glass bowl. If you use a cheesecloth, make sure to squeeze out the juice.
- Add honey and stir until well combined
- Bottle final product in a glass container
*recipe courtesy of Dr. Axe