Hello! And welcome back. It’s me, Desiree’ Celeste!
It’s that time of year. You know, leaves start changing, weather cools, kids go back to school, you get that itch in the back of throat? Yeah, cold and flu season. It sucks. A few years ago, I was sick for three months straight. First, with a cold, then bronchitis, then a respiratory infection. Since that year, I have tried every immune booster I could get my hands on and found that some work better than others. Many are just straight up food and can be obtained from a grocery store for less than a buck.
Sleep is the best immune booster and happens to be free. It is, however, not open to everyone. I understand that some people can’t sleep based off of responsibilities or insomnia, but those who can, should. So many of us stay up late watching tv, reading, or partying, but we really need to start prioritizing sleep. Daily stress, poor diet, and blue light disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it hard to get a full night’s rest. Sleep is when our bodies heal, and a lack of sleep will weak the immune system, making it easy for illness to creep in. Try to go to bed a little earlier, turn off blue light and dim lamps the hour before bed, and build that immune system.
Garlic is classic and my favorite ‘cure all.’ I roast entire heads of garlic for snacks during the fall and winter (and spring and summer, it’s just good). When garlic’s cell walls are cracked and allowed to oxidize, it creates something called Alicin, which is a super strong immune booster that also helps to reduce bad gut bacteria. Much of your immune system is in your gut, so a healthy gut is a healthy body. The way to consume garlic to get the biggest alicin benefit is to chop a garlic clove (or 3 or 4) and allow it to sit, exposed to air, for about 10 min, then swallow the garlic like you would pills. This method also works great for stomach issue. You may smell like alfredo sauce, but at least you’ll be actively fighting off all sorts of cold weather sickies.
Fire Cider scares me. Truly scares me. Every year, I see a thousand posts online about the joys of making fire cider and allowing it to mature for about a month before fall, but that combo makes my stomach churn just thinking of it. If you are a fire cider fan, please let me know how to consume it to avoid immediately vomiting after. The feedback about fire cider is great, though. People swear by it and it seems easy enough to source the ingredients and make yourself. I also love that it’s straight up food and that you can feel like a true witch when you hand craft your own medicine in your own kitchen. This also makes great gifts for the winter holidays. Just imagine, cute bottles of fire cider for those you love, giving the gift of health.
Elderberry is naturally anti viral and possibly the tastiest immune booster on this list. You can buy premade elderberry products, such as teas or syrups, or you can make your own from dried elderberries. It’s hard to source waste free or bulk options for dried elderberries, but if you can find it, get it! I enjoy elderberry syrups packed in glass bottles and use them in teas.
Here we are again, talking about gut health with the immune system. Bone broth helps to heal the gut lining, strengthening the immune system. Bone broth also is high in complex amino acids, protein, and minerals, making it a nutrient rich option. In my home, I cook with store bought bone broth concentrate, bone broth powder, and homemade bone broth.
Layering your immune boosters is a beneficial way to go. I definitely get my sleep in, cook with a lot of garlic and bone broth, and take elderberry when I start feeling sick. If you follow my Instagram this time of year, you’ll find a ton of recipes on Paleo Comfort Foods that are rich in garlic and bone broth. Check out my Instagram here.
What are you favorite sustainable immune boosters?