Avoiding illness can be hard at this time of year, but with a little extra effort you just might be able to fight off those roaming germs. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent getting sick, there are some little things you can do to boost your chances even further.
These wholesome tips and recipes will help you stave off colds and flus naturally (and deliciously).
1. Make super foods part of your regular diet
One easy way to help boost your immune system is by incorporating some power foods into your meals. Yogurt, garlic, kale, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, avocados, graviola, honey, oysters (or any shellfish), citrus fruit, berries, oats, barley, sage, and ginger all work to help strengthen your immune system by fighting off bacteria in your gut, increasing your white blood cell production, or providing antioxidants and vitamins. Try these recipes for a delicious anti-inflammatory smoothie or coconut-curried kale and sweet potatoes to start.
2. Swap out your morning coffee for tea
Green and black teas have L-theanine, which helps fight off viruses, and flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. Drinking up to five cups a day can help your immune system and also keeps you hydrated. You can even try making your own tea, if you’re feeling really motivated. This flu-fighting tea recipe is a great thing to have stashed in the cupboard.
3. Spice things up
Oregano is a commonly used kitchen spice, but it also has amazing health benefits. The herb has chemicals that can help with coughing and lung infections and with digestion, which in turn helps fight off any gut bacteria that could make you sick. Thyme is also a great immune booster. Due to its antimicrobial functions, thyme oil can help fight off particularly vicious bacterial strains. All you need are a few drops of oil twice a day to boost your immune system or help fight off an infection that has already taken hold.
4. Wash your hands!
This one might sound like a no-brainer, but it really does work! Regularly washing your hands, especially if you’re around anyone who is sick or if you have spent time in a public place, ensures that those pesky bacteria hanging around won’t make it inside your body. You don’t necessarily need to use anti-bacterial soaps or hand sanitizers, just be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water for twenty to thirty seconds for optimum results.
5. Hydrate with lemon water
Lemon juice not only makes your water taste good (and your breath smell delicious), it also helps reduce inflammation, promotes digestion, flushes toxins, kills germs, and boosts your energy. All you have to do is squeeze a little fresh lemon juice into any water your drink throughout the day to get the benefits. This lemon water with ginger recipe is perfect for first thing in the morning.
6. Take some ginseng
Ginseng is beneficial for your immune system because it helps regulate immune cells and control microbial infections. Asian supermarkets carry little bottles of ginseng tonic that you can just open up and drink (in Korea they are sold pre-warmed from convenient stores). Otherwise, you can try brewing your own tea, using a ginseng recipe like this. Ginseng was over-farmed in North America, making it a little harder to acquire nowadays; however, if you can’t find American ginseng, you should have no trouble finding Asian ginseng, grown mostly in Korea and China.
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