For starters, I am a believer in the medicinal properties of fungi, veggies, bones, ferments, garlic and herbs! Here a few of my favorite immune boosters!
Everything I use is Organic or it will not be consumed for if the goal is health, why eat pesticides or GMO’s? If you are on a budget and don’t grow your own food, there are a lot of ways to get a better bang for your buck by using organic frozen veggies or making casseroles, large pots of soups and meals that you can freeze and reheat down the road.
I’m just a Fungi! I often use reconstituted mushrooms as a soup base and I always use the reconstituted water. I’ve not had a flu in over 7 years (knock on wood or our woodland friends shall I say!) and I really believe that this is just one of the reasons why. My favorite mushrooms to play with in the kitchen are Organic Maitake, Shiitake, Cremini, White Button, Oyster, Reishi and an immune supplement that is made up of about 17 different kinds of mushroom extract as well. Mushrooms are nutrient rockstars that can relieve stress, provide relief from fatigue, build your immunity amongst a whole host of other benefits. I used to get my mushrooms from a wonderful woman in Portland who forged and sold them to me each year from the farmers market. Next on my list, is forging them myself and don’t worry that will be a blog too!
Veggies! I use seasonal veggies to fill up my soups. In the Fall and Winter time I use lots of vegetables like carrots, parsnips, potatoes (red, yukon, sweet, purple), swiss chard, kale, celery, onion, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fennel and actually I use beans as well, not a veggie I know, but needed to be noted. These all have properties that are made for healing. For example, once you cut open an onion, you activate an anti-cancer agent that is working on your behalf. When you feel ungrounded, eating grounding foods like root veggies (carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc.) can help your root Chakra reconnect for a more solid and secure feeling. Maybe that’s why I am so drawn to them. I am a little bit of a celestial being!
Bones Bones Bones! It’s funny that as someone who only eats animal products maybe 2x a year, I will incorporate bones into my soups when I make them for my son. The old Jewish tale of Chicken Bone Broth is spot on! Bones hold the marrow, they hold the energy, and they hold the nutrients that your body may just be desiring to keep a healthy immune system. Bone broth is good for your joints as it contains glucosamine and chondroitin which most people seek from a capsule. My biggest reason would be the fact that bone broth is known to heal leaky gut. Basically leaky gut is when undigested food particles end up in your bloodstream. Doesn’t that sound like a disaster? Its is! Bone broth is also known to make your hair and nails super health and pretty. Anything that makes you pretty, heals your gut and lubes your joints, is really A-OK with me!
Fermentation Definition: an enzymatically controlled anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid); broadly : an enzymatically controlled transformation of an organic compound. Say What? Basically, it means foods like cabbage sit until they become bacteria boosting powerhouse agents. Ferments are an immune system & natural gut flora restorer. They are a natural pro-biotic and can be a guts best friend. Some of my favorites are Sauerkraut (which I can only have a tiny bit as I have a sulfite allergy and these naturally contain sulfites! Bummer, I know!) Kombucha, which I’ve only just been able to drink again about once a week but I love it! (Sulfites again) Pickled Dilly Beans are another favorite and they do not stand a chance in this house for more than a day. Kefir is so good for you and yet, it’s one that I have yet to adore. Someday perhaps. Two of my trusted go to resources for gut health information are Donna Gates and Summer Bock.
Garlic and Herbs: Yes, Garlic is the new Peaches. So garlic also contains naturally occurring sulfites, so I tread lightly in frequency, but not in amount. Garlic is such a potent natural antibiotic for the body and has been used throughout time for health purposes, not just to scare off vampires. Garlic is wonderful for the lungs, chest colds and the immune system. Garlic is great for heart health and removing plaque. Garlic is also the thyroids friend as it contains iodine which is much required by the body to thrive. Now when you mix Garlic with Herbs like Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Basil, Oregano or whatever your favorites are, you can mix them in a bowl with olive oil and create your own drizzle for a spaghetti noodle delight, or you may drizzle a top of tomatoes or cucumbers. Fresh herbs like Thyme and the others mentioned are great as whole sprigs in soups that simmering and other dishes that you’d like to pop with flavor and ignite . Oregano is another of my favorites for immune building whether it’s taken from an oil, fresh or dried. Do not forget about parsley and cilantro as metal attractors, turmeric for arthritis inflammation, basil oil to rub on adrenals for adrenal fatigue, ginger for strong immunity – also a natural blood thinner, rosemary to contradict the effects of carcinogens and there’s just too many to tell.
AND… there you have a few of my favorites!
*If you are on pharmaceutical medications or are treating a condition, it’s always wise to check with your Dr., Naturopath or Holistic Practitioner to make sure that what you’re ingesting is not in conflict with any herbs, spices, foods or drinks you are consuming in high doses or accumulative. We are at a delicate time with food allergies running rampant, people on large amounts of medications and there can be serious side effects.