When it comes to fighting off disease or a common cold, it takes more than Vitamin C to do the trick. What if there was a way to strengthen your immune system so you never contracted the cold in the first place? Keep reading and I will share with you some valuable information that could change your health forever.
Have you ever been told to trust your gut? We are going to be talking about gut health and why building good gut bacteria is so important. In our bodies we have about 2 kilos worth of good bacteria in our gut. These 100 trillion cells in our gut equal about 10 times the number of cells in the rest of our body!
When you have this good gut bacteria it's harder for pathogenic bacteria to take hold.
We have this incredible defense system in place to help prevent and fight off illness.
Amazing right? So how do we keep our good gut bacteria strong?
This is where probiotics come in.
When you hear the word probiotic you may thing of yogurt, cultured cheeses, or kefir.
While these options do contain probiotics most store bought foods are processed with high heat or pasteurization which causes them to be ineffective.
Probiotics are essential to feed our good gut bacteria and keep it healthy.
While it is important to find a quality probiotic supplement, I will link you to one I recommend here, and I will share with you a few raw food options and recipes you can start incorporating into your diets today.
A few foods you can start incorporating into your diets would be: sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, miso, fermented soy, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, and water kefir.
Something I have on hand most all the time is kimchi. It's a blend of fermented vegetables, usually cabbage based, with a spicy kick. It's so easy to add to a salad wrap, or soup.
You can find kimchi at HyVee, Pomegranite Market, Whole Foods, The Co-op, and Natural Grocers. I'm sure there are many more stores I did not list, but for those of you reading who are in the mid west I thought I would share where I have purchased kimchi personally.
Not only do probiotics help keep your good gut bacteria healthy, but they also improve digestion, reduce side affects when taking antibiotics, improve mental health, promote detox, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Need any more reasons?
Below are some easy recipes you can make at home to have probiotic rich foods on hand.
Immune boosting foods
In addition to adding probiotics into your diet there are also many foods that help boost your immune system. There are 5 types of nutrients that your immune system needs to perform at it's best. The first one is obvious and we know to stoke up on when its cold and flu season and that is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is full of antioxidants that fight against free radicals in the body. Zinc, Vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids, are also essential for a strong immune system.
Here are a list of foods you can incorporate that are high in these nutrients and below are some recipes you can make to add these powerful foods into your diet.
Nuts and seeds
Your Immune system is also affected by the environment, stress management, sleep, and exercise. So it's important to find balance day to day and ensure you are limiting additional stress on the body. Here are a few additional tips for feeling your best.
Get up and move!
If you are not feeling well and your body is asking for rest then please listen and don't push yourself. But if you are being proactive and preventing infections and disease, then exercise is wonderful for keeping your blood and lymphatic system moving and circulating.
The lymphatic system helps your body remove toxins and waste from within the body. Poor lymphatic function can lead to lower immune function and the only way to move your lymph is to exercise. So take a walk, do some yoga, get outdoors, and make it fun.
Drink your fluids
Getting in plenty of water will flush bad bacteria out of your system. I recommend drinking a gallon a day and at the very least drinking half your body weight in fluid ounces daily. Throw in a slice of lemon to alkaline your body for some added benefits and a yummy flavor.
Wellness is more than just diet and exercise. Let's not forget about emotional and metal wellness as well which actually affect our physical health and prevent disease more than we think. Our thoughts and internal voice can be a powerful tool that can be both beneficial and or toxic and damaging to our health depending on how we control our thoughts and emotions. Meditation can help focus the mind and reduce stress and anxiety, and keep our vibes high. When we can calm our thoughts and bring mindfulness internally we can promote healing in the body through visualization and other techniques. Meditation can also promote better sleep, deep relaxation, and improve your thought patterns. If you don't know where to start or have a hard time meditating I recommend checking out a local yoga studio to seek guidance.
Below are some recipes and DIY remedies to help you prevent illness, feel your best, or get on track to healing.
Immune Boosting Juices:
4 large carrots
1 thumb ginger root
small piece of turmeric
1 cup spinach
2 leaves of kale
1 large napa cabbage
2 large carrots
3 cloves minced garlic
3 green onions
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Shred the cabbage and thinly slice the carrots.
Mince the garlic and chop the green onions.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
Massage the veggies until they are soft and watery. (this could take 3-6 minutes)
Place the mixture into a mason jar and pack down as you go.
Pour the left over watery liquid over the kimchi until all the veggies are completely covered with water.
Cover with a mesh cloth and secure with a rubber band.
Let sit on the counter for 2-5 days to ferment.
Cover with a lid and transfer the jar to the refrigerator.
1 medium cabbage shredded
1 1/2c tbsp sea salt
2 quart sized mason jars
Combine shredded cabbage and the sea salt in a large bowl.
Massage by hand until the cabbage becomes soft and watery.
Place the shredded cabbage into the mason jar packing down as you go.
Pour the watery liquid over top the cabbage and be sure to cover so all the cabbage is submerged.
Cover the jar with a mesh cloth and secure with a rubber band.
Let sit on the counter for 3-7 days to ferment ensuring that the cabbage stay submerged.
Store in the refrigerator with a lid.
DIY Pickled veggies
3.5 cups of cucumbers, asparagus, carrots, or green beans
5 whole cloves of garlic
2 tbsp sea salt
1 liter water
Place all your veggies in a clean quart sized mason jar.
Stir sea salt into the 1 liter of water.
Pour the salt water over the veggies until they are fully submerged.
Cover with a cloth secured with a rubber band.
Let sit out on the counter for 3-7 days to ferment.
Look for bubbles and start tasting at day 3.
Once they have reached the desired flavor transfer the mason jar to the refrigerator.
DIY Hand Soap
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp vitamin E oil
15 drops tea tree oil
5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil
DIY Hand Sanitizer
1/4 cup sterile water
1 tbsp aloe vera gel
10 drops of cinnamon essential oil
10 drops of rosemary essential oil
10 drops of eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil