Looking for a quick immunity boost this cold season? Try these three recipes and 3-day meal plan to boost your immune system this cold season.
Food and Your Health
We’ve all heard the age-old adage “You are what you eat”. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way in recent years by changing my diet to address health concerns like high blood pressure, kidney stones, and elevated blood sugar. The food you eat and your health are undeniably related.
Recently, I came down with a bad case of sinusitis on a Friday afternoon. My doctor wasn’t open again until Monday and I already had a preventative appointment scheduled. I figured it wouldn’t make sense to go to the urgent care clinic when I knew I could see my doctor in a few days.
Instead, I thought I’d lean into the notion that food and your health are related. I quickly researched the best immunity building foods. I looked up how foods can help relieve congestion, boost your immunity, and kill bad bacteria.
I found several helpful lists that explained which foods have anti-microbial properties and are loaded with vitamins. I set out to heal myself over the weekend by eating immunity boosting and congestion fighting foods.
And it worked!
When I showed up at the doctor’s office on Monday my sinuses were almost clear, I had a little fluid in one ear, but no signs of a congestion in my chest. My headache had gone away, I stopped sneezing, and my swollen sinuses weren’t painful any longer. The doctor asked what I was eating when I told her I changed my diet to incorporate immunity boosting foods.
She confirmed that I should keep it up because it was working for me. You may see different results but I can say that I have enough evidence from my own efforts to determine that these three recipes did help re-build my immune system without medication.
How Food Impacts Your Immune System
Micronutrients in your gut help regulate your immune system. When your gut health is out of balance, it can be difficult for your immune system be balanced as well. Likewise, when you take antibiotics that kill the good bacteria in your stomach can give you big problems.
Your immune system and your gut health are intertwined. However, there are few research studies that have made links between the two in humans. That means we don’t know enough about how the gut health and the human immune system interplay.
What Happens to Your Diet When You Get Sick?
When you’re sick and feeing awful, you typically reach for the easiest foods. Many times these are things that are processed and full of salt and sugar. Let’s look at a few examples of food purchased when you’re sick:
- 1 Can of Ginger Ale has 32 grams of added sugar = 11 teaspoons of sugar = 176 calories
- 1 Can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup has 2,225 mg of sodium = maximum amount of sodium recommended per day (2,300 mg)
- 5 Saltine Crackers has 150 mg of sodium = 7% of recommended daily sodium
- 8 oz of Florida’s Natural Orange Juice has 22 g of sugar = 5.5 teaspoons of sugar.
Even if you purchase the all natural or organic version of these foods, you are still eating processed food. So how can you make smart decisions when you feel horrible?
Try these easy steps to make good choices, even when you’re not thinking clearly:
- Look for low-sodium and low sugar options.
- Make the soup yourself, skip the crackers.
- Substitute processed food for an all-natural homemade alternative with nutrient-rich ingredients.
- Limit the quantity of orange juice you drink by cutting it with water as I have done in the Spicy Tropical Green Smoothie.
- Buy local ingredients from the farmers market – especially your honey. Having local raw or unprocessed honey to put in your tea is a great way to make sure you are ready for the next cold before it hits you.
How to Build Your Immune System with a Healthy Diet
Specific ailments call for specific foods. Not all ingredients will help clear your symptoms or address your medical condition. For this reason, you need to start with some research before you go to the grocery store. Ask Mr. Google for advice on what foods are best for your medical condition.
Let’s take a look of an example of two medical conditions that have juxtaposing diets. Some foods that are heart healthy are not good for individuals with kidney stones as many of them contain oxalates which can cause kidney stones to form. For example, foods such as spinach, nuts, bran cereals, and berries are high in oxalates but are often promoted as part of a heart healthy diet.
If you have medical conditions that require a diet that addresses both suggested diets, you should see a nutritionist to help you identify foods that you should avoid and those that are safe.
Before you go grocery shopping, here are a few internet searches you could use to find the right foods to eat if you are concerned about a medical condition:
- Best immunity building foods for (cold, sore throat, illness, flu, congestion, cough, etc.)
- Foods to avoid if you have (high blood pressure, diabetes, menopause, fibroids, low blood sugar, etc.)
- Trigger foods for (kidney stones, migraines, headaches, cramps, etc.)
- Nutrient rich foods to help (digestion, immunity building, reduce sodium, etc.)
- Foods to boost your immune system
Once you’ve done your homework, look for recipes that call for those specific foods listed as the main ingredients. If you can’t find any, make one up! That’s how I arrived at the three recipes below.
Three Must-Try Recipes to Boost Your Immune System in 3 Days!
When you’re sick, it feels like no cure is fast enough. You can boost your immune system to help your body fight your illness while you wait for a doctor’s appointment or for your medicine to kick in.
Try these three recipes to build your immunity in 3 days with quality nutrient-dense ingredients.
(These recipes should not replace efforts you would normally undertake to get better- so don’t skip the doctor or medicine. These recipes are offered as an option so you can help your body heal from illness while you’re following doctor’s orders or as you wait to see the doctor.)
This spicy tropical green smoothie is loaded with vitamins A, C, and E and has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Kale, ginger, papaya, pineapple make this smoothie delicious and can help you rebuild your immune system.
Boosting an herbal tea you already own can turn any tea you have in your cupboard into an immunity building hot drink. Try this tasty tea hack!
Making your soup from scratch will help you limit (or eliminate) the sodium in your soup. Try this homemade soup recipe to increase your antioxidants, and vitamin C. The amino-acid cysteine can help you clear your mucus and congestion.
How to Combine These Recipes for Three Days of Immunity Building
One grocery store trip for the ingredients for these recipes will cost you about $60 along with some spices from your cupboard. Here’s how you use can swap out your regular meals for these wellness recipes.
Whenever you’re using fresh ingredients, you can avoid food waste by properly storing your fresh foods and vegetables. Sign up for the Wellness Vibes newsletter to get a freebie that will help you store your fresh foods.