Whether you are training for a marathon, chasing your kids, or spending long nights at the office, we all need to stay healthy. Throw in the fact that winter is on its way, it’s even more important to give your immune system some serious TLC. Not sure where to start? We did the dirty work and tried several natural immune boosters. Here’s the rundown on what works and how to incorporate them into your lifestyle with a few quick and easy recipes.
1. Turmeric and Black Pepper
Turmeric has a chemical compound called curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and is a strong antioxidant. Including black pepper with turmeric makes the curcumin compound bioavailable and easier for the body to absorb. Without the black pepper, most of the components found in turmeric gets metabolized before our body has a chance to receive the benefits. Try adding ½ tablespoon of turmeric and ½ teaspoon of black pepper to your next smoothie. Your body will love it (and hell ya you’ll taste it!).
(Photo from The Green Life)
2. Raw Honey
Many of us know and love this liquid gold, but did you know that honey is an awesome tool to keep your immune system in tiptop shape? Not only does raw honey taste amazingly sweet, it has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also delivers antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients to the body! What could be a better reason for putting delicious raw honey on everything?
Chaga is the king of the mushrooms and boy is he a fungi! Chaga grows most commonly on birch trees and is known as a great source for vitamin D, vitamin K, multiple B vitamins, iron, calcium, copper, and zinc. The mushroom’s bonded sugars, called polysaccharides, help to stimulate growth of components within the body that help fend off infections. Other properties, like antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and parasite-killing properties are also found in chaga and further protect our bodies. Chaga is most commonly brewed as a tea, steeping from 10-20 minutes all the way up to 14 hours. The longer the steep, the more potent and nutrient dense the liquid. You can find chaga at most health food stores in tea-ready chunks, alcohol tinctures or dissolvable extract powders.
Propolis is known as the beehive’s immune system as it protects the hive from nasty pathogens, toxins and bacteria. The bees even use propolis as a cleansing doormat to disinfect themselves before they enter the hive. Propolis is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and is loaded with antioxidants. We humans can majorly benefit from bee propolis and its anti-inflammatory, immune supporting properties! While many of us haven’t heard of this superfood, it’s in no way new. Bee propolis has been used for centuries as an immune system regulating agent dating back to 300 BC. It’s been used for medicinal purposes across the world both internally and externally! We like to grab propolis spray at the first signs of a cold or sore throat. We use it preventively to boost our immune system, increase our antioxidant consumption, and fight inflammation. Propolis is a great superfood to have on hand whether it’s sitting in your medicine cabinet, carry on, gym bag or purse. And the best part is that it tastes like honey.
(Photo from Beekeepers Naturals)
5. Lemon Juice
Detox is so important when it comes to boosting our immune system. Lemon juice is high in vitamin C and helps detox your kidneys and digestive system pushing out all those nasty toxins. Lemons also contain bioflavonoids that help kill free radicals that cause inflammation. Try adding lemon to your water for some extra boost to your day!
(Photo by Virginie Laune)
Immune Boosting Tea
Ingredients: cinnamon, ¼ cup of chaga chunks, 1/2 tablespoons of raw honey (try buckwheat!), 8 sprays bee propolis, 6 cups of water
Add the 6 cups of water, spices and ¼ cup of chaga chunks to the crock pot and let it sit on low for anywhere between 3-10 hours. This means you can leave it while you go to work and come home to some freshly brewed magical tea! Once brewed, pour some of the tea into a mug. Add a ½ tablespoon of honey, then spray in your propolis. Now, get your sip on.
You can store the rest in the fridge and enjoy it warmed up or cold. On top of the honey, try adding some ice and juice from half a lemon to make an immune boosting iced tea!
Turmeric Propolis Shot
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of turmeric, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, 4 sprays of propolis, 2 tablespoons of water
Anyone up for a shot? Put 2 tablespoons of warm water in a shot glass, then add 4 sprays of propolis to the warm water and stir. Next, add in the turmeric and the black pepper and stir again. Now, bottoms up!
Lemon Honey Water
Ingredients: juice from half a lemon, ½ tablespoon of raw honey (sweet clover is our fav for this recipe), 4 sprays bee propolis, 1 cup of warm water
This is the perfect way to start your morning. First squeeze half a lemon into the cup of warm water. Next, add and mix in ½ tablespoon of raw honey and a few sprays of propolis. Now relax and enjoy the flavors!