Amazing Antiviral Foods & Immune Boosters

Published March 24, 2020 by Jc Drobac

For as long as I can remember, I've always subscribed to the motto 'the best defense is a good offense' when it comes to health. So, let's be sure we're doing as many proactive (and fewer reactive) actions that support our good health and strong disease prevention—not just for now, but for a lifetime.


Read on for healthy self-care ideas to help us empower ourselves:


 

1. Garlic. An awesome addition, garlic is an age-old superfood—most powerful when eaten raw. It contains manganese, selenium, vitamins B6 and C, and antioxidants like allicin, that can help with high blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, upper respiratory infections, and some cancers. It has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties—a trifecta of strength, so use it liberally!


 

2. Echinacea is a popular herb that's often taken to speed healing from colds and flus. It comes from a member of the daisy family, called coneflower, and herbal extracts are made from its stem, leaves and roots. It comes in tablets, capsules and powders. As always, follow suggested dosages.


 

3. Elderberry is a shrub with dark blue berries, and is used to make wine, jam, syrup. Elderberry has anti- inflammatory and antiviral properties. Some Elderberry backstory: Hippocrates, called the "father of medicine," called elderberry his "medicine chest" back in 400 BCE. It has been called a Holy Tree. It is believed to have the ability to preserve and lengthen life. Current day, it's considered an alternative remedy for use against the common cold and flu, and comes in liquid, gummy form and capsule supplements. You may need to order it online if you don't find it in grocery pharmacy areas, co-ops or supplement shops.

Elderberry, an anti-inflammatory and anti-viral plant.

4. Red onions are full of flavonoids (i.e. antioxidants) and can help fight asthmatic inflammation by strengthening the capillary walls, and can also protect the lining of the lungs and bronchial tubes (areas affected with respiratory illnesses).


 

5. Raw honey (and bee propolis*) is another superfood. It boosts the immune system, and has antibacterial and antiviral properties, can balance cholesterol levels, help speed wound healing, relieve coughs, and much more. Raw honey hasn't been cooked and retains its healing properties, and often looks cloudy. Co-ops, vitamin stores and small-business vendors are great places to buy good-quality honey, and just a tablespoon a day can do wonders.


* Bee propolis is a mix of beeswax and other resins (and what they use to glue their hives together) and has natural germicidal properties (antiviral, antibacterial and even anti-inflammatory qualities). It comes in capsules and powder form, and can be found in co-ops and various health food stores. Note: those allergic to honey may also be allergic to propolis, so approach cautiously if known allergies.

Raw honey helps boost the immune system.

6. Intermittent fasting may have healthful effects on the body. It lightens stress on our body, specifically the liver / digestion tract (where 80-90% of our immune system lies), by allowing the digestive tract a lengthier processing time when we observe periods of refraining from eating (potentially boosting the immune system). One of the most common options is 16:8, or refraining from consumption for 16 hours of each day; consuming food within an 8-hour period. Other common options are the 5:2, 24-hour, and alternate-day plans. Read more here.


 

7. Nasal/sinus irrigation ("NeilMed" brand is my favorite). Sinus irrigation can clean our nasal passages of bacteria and viruses lodged there or entering our systems this way, by flushing them with a saline solution mixed with warm, pre-boiled water. According to the FDA, kinds of water that can be safely used include distilled or sterile water, which can be bought in stores, labeled as such. Also okay is boiled then cooled tap water if boiled for at least 5 minutes then cooled until lukewarm. Boiled water can be stored in a clean, closed container and used within 24 hours. I have only ever used boiled tap water with no problems. See the note from the FDA below.


IMPORTANT: READ FDA WARNING ABOUT USING UNBOILED WATER FOR NASAL RINSES BELOW:

"Tap water isn’t safe for use as a nasal rinse because it’s not adequately filtered or treated. Some tap water contains low levels of organisms — such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas — that may be safe to swallow because stomach acid kills them. But in your nose, these organisms can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections. They can even be fatal in some rare cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."


 

8. Keeping C7 (neck) vertebra covered in cooler weather. Speculatively, keeping the neck covered and warm in weather cooler than 50 degrees, it's said, can help keep viruses and bacteria from settling in the spine (say certain cultures). Using a scarf (or neck gator) regularly in cooler weather can also help us avoid getting chilled and more vulnerable to getting sick.

Keep your neck covered in cool weather.

9. Sweat! Working out is a key factor in staying healthy! Sweating for at least 30 minutes, 6 days per week (300 minutes/week is suggested) not only helps strengthen our immune systems, but helps with mood, minor aches and pains, helps our digestion, our sleep, our skin, and more. You can easily work out at-home or in the neighborhood to give you that daily boost include.


Do some fast-walking. Not strolling here! You can do this on a treadmill in the house, or get outside to get some heart-pumping walking in. A good rule of thumb when working out to not exceed our target heart rates: get moving up to a speed that has your breathing, heart rate, and pulse up—but be sure you're still able to carry on a conversation.


Or, pull out that dusty gym equipment from the basement /den, and enjoy your stationary bike, elliptical machine, weight bench, or aerobics DVDs. Just get moving, and see how much better you feel after!


Sauna or soaking in a hot bath is a good germ killer, and can help take down the anxiety that is common these days, and aid in better sleep, too.



10. Optimism, gratitude and, yes, even laughter. Laughing has physical benefits like curbing the stress hormones in our body, as well as boost white blood cell production, which helps fight infections. So, while it's a very stressful time for all of us, it's important to keep grounded at this time, too. Relentless worrying doesn't help anyone, and can even worsen things if it compromises our health and our relationships. Reach out to others! Having a good support system of others we can talk to is so very important in helping connect us during this crisis, and can help to allay our fears and sadness for those truly hard hit by this. Meditating on or sending healing thoughts, wishes or helping those in need can only be a good thing.


Hold tight, we'll get through this, folks.