A healthy immune system is amazing! It protects you from all sorts of pathogens, often without you even noticing. 70-80% of your immune system is located along your digestive tract, so supporting your digestive system supports your immune system.
Food can support your digestive and immune systems or depress them. Here are my favorite foods that I eat regularly to stay as healthy as possible during cold and flu season.
1. Soup, soup and more soup- made with homemade meat broth. Broth contains the nourishing healthy fat, protein and minerals your digestive and immune systems require. This is one of my favorite recipes that everyone in my family (even the pickiest teenager!) enjoys.
2. Raw lacto-fermented veggies like saurkraut and kimchee- these contain beneficial probiotic bacteria that crowd out pathogenic micro-organisms that can cause problems. They also contain immune boosting vitamin C. Find them in the refrigerator section. The jarred ones have been pasteurized which destroys the beneficial probiotic bacteria.
3. Garlic- has antimicrobial properties and boosts the immune system. Fresh garlic sold as a bulb is best, not the peeled cloves or chopped garlic in jars.
4. Ginger root- is soothing to digestion, lowers your risk for infection and bacterial growth. The fresh root is best.
5. Kelp granules (I like the Maine Coast Brand)- provide iodine which is anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Just a pinch a day, sprinkled on food, is usually enough.
Water-is also important for winter wellness. It keeps the protective mucosal lining of your lungs, sinuses and digestive tract moist, keeps lymph and blood flowing and enables your body’s natural healing abilities.
In general, eating a diet that is rich in nutrient dense foods and low in refined/processed foods is the best way to support your body’s natural desire and ability to remain strong, healthy and balanced. Refined sugar suppresses white blood cell activity, and is especially important to avoid to stay well.