The Ultimate Guide to Natural Immune Support
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the leading story around the world and has been quickly spreading across Canada this week. Of course, it’s important to stay up to date on what’s happening, but we also want to avoid binge-watching the 24-hour coverage to help reduce anxiety. Panic can become contagious and we want to remember we’re all in this together.
My part is to offer some suggestions to help keep your immune system strong. No matter what sickness you are dealing with (whether it be coronavirus or the common cold), nourishing food and healthy lifestyle habits are your best bet for strengthening your immune system.
The food you eat is the foundation for a strong immune system. No amount of supplements or essential oils can replace a healthy diet. Focus your attention here. It’s important to be avoiding refined foods, sugar, and alcohol as well since they can weaken the immune system. For example, one teaspoon of sugar can suppress it for up to 5 hours.
Antioxidant-Rich Food (in order of highest amounts)
- Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens (like spinach and kale) and winter squash
- Vitamin C: papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, pineapple and oranges
- Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, avocado
- Zinc: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, chickpeas, turkey, quinoa
- Selenium: seafood (like shrimp, sardines, cod and scallops), turkey, chicken and Brazil nuts
Alliums, Spices & Hydration
- Garlic and onions: both members of the allium family which have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that work to boost your immune system.
- Ginger: called a “medicine chest” in Ayurveda, ginger has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Turmeric: helps to increase the immunomodulating capacity in the body.
- Spices: clove, cinnamon, and cumin possess antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Water: staying hydrated helps your lungs stay moist and the mucous flowing properly. It also helps ensure proper elimination of waste and removal of any intruders.
- Herbal teas: look for teas with ginger, peppermint, chamomile, echinacea, rooibos, nettle, dandelion, burdock, lemon balm, or elderberry
Find these foods in KSW recipes:
- Homemade Bone Broth
- Gut-Healing Chicken Soup
- Easy Butternut Squash Soup
- Simple Vegan Golden Milk
- The Shamrock Shake
- Elderberry Syrup
- Strawberry Avocado Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts
- Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Keep in mind, you don’t need to run out and buy every single one of these. Choose things that you think will work best for you or your family.
Essential Supplements for Daily/Long-Term Use:
- Vitamin D: low levels of the sunshine vitamin (which is common in Northern climates) has been linked to an increase in depression, anxiety and a lowered immune system
- Probiotics: contributes to a healthy gut microbiome which reduces your risk of viral and bacterial intruders
- Omega-3 Oil: provides the body with essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the body and support brain health
Cold, Flu & Respiratory Support
- Zinc Picolinate
- Vitamin C with BioFlavonoids
- Medical Mushrooms (singles or blends of chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, oyster, reishi, shiitake, and/or turkey tail)
- St. Francis Herb Farm Cold & Flu Line
- Manuka Honey
- Elderberry Syrup (homemade or store-bought)
- Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa Cough Syrup
- Boiron Children’s Honey Cough Syrup
- Homeocan Kids 0-9 Pain & Fever or Night Time Syrup
*I don’t have any affiliation with these brands. They are just ones I use in my home with my family.
Immune & Respiratory Supportive Essential Oils
In addition to being a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I’m also a Board Certified Essential Oil Practitioner. I use them extensively as part of my family’s healthy living routine.
When using essential oils to support your health, use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils. I only recommend and use doTERRA in my home because they are the most tested and most trusted essential oils in the medical community (used at over 120 different hospitals, universities and research facilities).
How to use…
- Aromatically: diffuse to support the respiratory system and help purify the air.
- Topically: apply as a rub to the chest or back to support respiratory health and coughs. Apply down the spine or to the bottoms of the feet for full-body support. See my oil guide for babies and children here.
- Internal: add 1-2 drops into an empty veggie capsule or spoonful of olive oil or raw honey. Supports the health of the immune, digestive, and nervous system. Only use doTERRA’s oils internally.
Oregano, Frankincense, Rose, Tea Tree, Lemon, Copaiba, Yarrow | Pom, On Guard Blend
Eucalyptus, Arborvitae, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lemon, Easy Air/Breathe Blend
Suggestions for use:
- 1 drop each Oregano, Frankincense, On Guard, Copaiba and Yarrow | Pom in a veggie capsule AM and PM (max of 10 days).
- 15 drops each Oregano, Frankincense, On Guard, Copaiba and Tea Tree in an empty rollerball bottle and topped with carrier oil. Apply to bottoms of feet or down the spine 2-4x daily.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
- Sleep: getting a restful night’s sleep is just as important as the food you eat when it comes to your immune system. Say no to that second or third show on Netflix and go to bed by 10 pm.
- Meditation: stress has a big impact on the health of the immune system. Meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety. Try the Calm, Headspace or The Tapping Solution apps for guided meditations.
- Deep breathing techniques: helps to activate the vagus nerve which turns on the parasympathetic nervous system and reduces stress and anxiety.
- Light exercise: moving the body helps stimulate the lymphatic system (part of the immune system) to move waste and bacteria out of the body. The same goes for your lungs.
Natural alternative to conventional vapour chest rub.
5 minTotal Time
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup shea butter
- 2 tbsp beeswax pellets
- 10 drops Eucalyptus
- 10 drops Peppermint
- 10 drops Lemon
- 10 drops Copaiba
- 10 drops Arborvitae
- Add all ingredients except the essential oils to a double boiler (see notes for alternative).
- Stir constantly until melted.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Add essential oils and stir well.
- Pour into a glass jar and cool on the counter.
- Use as needed.
If you don’t have a double broiler, fill a small pot with 1” of water at the bottom. Place a slightly smaller stainless steel bowl in the pot making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom. Turn heat to medium-high.
If you are missing some of the essential oils, make the rub with what you have on hand and adjust the ratios accordingly.
For children, use 5 drops of each oil.
For infants, use 5 drops each lemon and copaiba.