Rev up your immune system
WAKE UP TO THE SUN
A traditional and very effective treatment. According to the Cancer Council Australia, a small dose of sun when the UV Index is below 3 (typically in the early morning) is safe and will help improve your vitamin D levels, an important nutrient for the immune system. As always it is important to not burn the skin but rather let it warm gently in the early morning sun.
EAT FOOD RICH IN ZINC
To increase the production of immune cells, as a 2010 Health Report by Harvard Medical School declares. Foods high in zinc include pepitas, sesame seeds and tahini, wheat germ, beef, cacao and of course oysters!
Good old-fashioned chicken soup has been a cold and flu treatment for generations, but you don’t have to wait until you are sick. Try adding it to your diet now to give your immune system an extra boost. Journalist and health author Sarah Wilson suggests using bone broth, as this is where much of the immune support comes from (as opposed to just the meat). Try use organic chicken bones for your chicken soup.
Garlic is Mother Nature’s own antibiotic. As stated in an article on garlic in the Journal of the National Medical Association, garlic has powerful antimicrobial activity but this is easily destroyed with cooking, so try adding some to your meal just prior to serving. If you do find you are feeling a bit unwell try chewing a small piece in the mouth and washing it down with some fresh squeezed juice for a Vitamin C hit.
Ensure you are eating small amounts of quality protein at every meal. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, protein is made of amino acids and these are the building blocks of the body, meaning they are vital to immune the immune system. Be sure to include vegetarian sources such as lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas as these are very nourishing and gentle on the digestive system.
Sleep is important for rejuvenating the body and it is at this time that the immune system is strengthened. Lack of sleep has been shown to have a number of detrimental effects including depressing the immune system. Dr. Reza Samvat, holistic chiropractor and researcher on sleep health in Australia, not only speaks of the detrimental effects of little sleep, but also lists functions in the body that assure quality sleep and wellbeing. Melatonin, the hormone that is produced as darkness falls, makes us feel sleepy and rest deeply and is also a powerful antioxidant that supports immune system activity while we are sleeping.
DRINK LEMON AND HONEY TEA
Drink lemon and honey tea regularly. Tom Woloshyn, holistic health practitioner and consultant, recommends the use of lemon as a natural cleansing agent, as the several acids in lemon help break down mucous. In addition, honey has traditionally been used for the respiratory tract relief of symptoms of coughs and colds.
CHOOSE QUALITY SUPPLEMENTS
The super antioxidant power in Olive Leaf Australia’s fresh-picked extract is a wonderful immune pick- me up, with 400x the antioxidant capacity of Vitamin C. Propolis is also a key supplement in immune health. Propolis is created by bees from the natural resin produced by trees at sites of injury. The resin is part of the tree’s defence system. Honeybees collect the resin, mix in beeswax and enzymes, and use it to keep their hive free from infection. For these reasons, propolis is known as ‘nature’s best defence’.
This soup is especially good during the colder months as colds and flus are around. It can be eaten at any time, and if preferred can be strained just before serving so as to just consume the liquid.
Adjust herbs and spices to taste.
2 organic chicken legs
1 large onion (more if you like), chopped roughly
1⁄2 bunch celery with tops, sliced
4 bulbs fresh garlic (more if you like), chopped roughly
1 square cm. fresh ginger, chopped roughly
1 sheet of seaweed (optional)
1 bunch fresh herbs – sage, coriander, basil, thyme, dill etc.
1 tablespoon turmeric
sweet potato, parsnip, turnip or pumpkin, chopped roughly
1. Place water in a large saucepan.
2. Add chicken, onion, celery, garlic, ginger, seaweed and herbs. Bring to the boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer, with lid on, for about two hours, topping up water if required.
4. When the meat begins to fall from the bones add the turmeric and root vegetable.
5. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Let cool slightly and skim any fat from the top.
6. Serve warm. For added fiber and minerals, pour soup over some cooked brown rice before serving.
7. Finely chop some fresh garlic and add to the meal as it is served.
- Abdullah, T., Kandil, O. Elkadi, A. & Carter, J. 1988. ‘Garlic Revisited: Therapeautic for the Major Diseases of Our Times?’, Journal of the National Medical Association, vol. 80, no. 4, pp. 439-445, accessed 1 March 2013, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2625738/?page=1>
- Cancer Council Australia. 2013, Vitamin D, accessed 1 March 2013, < http://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sun-protection/vitamin-d/>
- Harvard Medical School. 2010, The Truth About Your Immune System, Special Health Report, accessed 1 March 2013, < http://www.health.harvard.edu/special_health_reports/The_truth_about_Your_Immune_System>
- National Health and Medical Research Council, 2005. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand – Including Recommended Dietary Intakes, Commonwealth of Australia, accessed 4 March 2013, <http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/n35.pdf>
- Samvat, R. 2010, The Truth About Sleep Deprivation, accessed 4 March 2013, < http://www.sleep4health.com.au/sleep-disorder/the-truth-about-sleep-deprivation/#comments>
- Wilson, S. 2012, How to make bone broth (and why you should), accessed 4 March 2013, < http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/2012/01/how-to-make-bone-broth-and-why-you-should/?
- Woloshyn, T. 2007, The Complete Master Cleanse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximising the Benefits of the Lemonade Diet, accessed 7 March 2013, <books.google.com.au/books?isbn=1569756139>