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Boost Your Immune System and Stop Getting Sick!

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Colds and flu can really be a drag. If you are getting sick then you may have a weakened immune system.  Eating immune-boosting foods and eliminating processed foods is important if you want to stay healthy. Essential oils can truly help relieve symptoms of colds and flu such as congestion, body aches, runny nose, and headache, but they can also keep your immune system strong. A healthy immune system is important to avoid all types of illness, including cancer. Here is a short list of some of the foods, supplements, and oils to get you started on a healthier immune system:

Immune Boosting Foods

MushroomsShitake, reishi, enoki and oyster, as well as other medicinal mushrooms eaten on a regular basis can boost your immune system. These mushrooms contain ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant, which does not get destroyed during the cooking process.

Cruciferous vegetablesSupport your liver and its ability to detox with vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts.  Detox is important, as excess toxins can lower our immune system.  

* Study Archives of Toxicology

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July 1989, http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00278639

Good FatsAvocado oil, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil can help support your adrenal glands, which regulate hormone function. Balanced hormones are important for a healthy immune system.

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Read more about adrenals here- http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/immunity

GingerGinger warms the body and helps to break down the accumulation of toxins in the organs, particularly in the lungs and sinuses. Ginger also helps to cleanse the lymphatic system, which is our body’s sewage system. By helping keep your airways and lymphatics open, ginger may help prevent the accumulation of the toxins that can increase your risk of infection.

Garlic– Garlic boosts the immune system and fights bacteria. This potent relative of the onion contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. It also has powerful cancer-fighting properties, and studies show that people who eat six cloves a week have a 30 percent lower rate of colorectal cancer and a 50 percent lower rate of stomach cancer.

Probiotic Foods Foods such as raw yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and fermented fruits and vegetables provide probiotics, or healthy bacteria, to our digestive system. One strain found in yogurt, Lactobacillus reuteri, appears to stimulate white blood cells. Homemade probiotic foods pack a bigger punch than probiotic supplements and should be eaten on a regular basis to improve digestion, heal leaky gut and keep the bacteria in the digestive system balanced. 70% of the cells that make up our immune system are located in our guts, so it’s important to keep them healthy.

Learn more about the gut and immune system here- http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916122214.htm

Tea Drinking 5 cups of tea each day for 2 weeks can boost your immunity by 10 times, and increase virus-fighting interferon in the blood, according to a Harvard University study. The amino acid that’s responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea— and, yes, decaf versions have it, as well.

Bone Broth There is a very good reason why Grandma gives you chicken soup when you are sick. The bones contain powerful nutrients that are released when slowly simmered in water for a few hours, or in a slow cooker for up to 48 hours. These nutrients include bone marrow, which helps provide the raw materials for healthy blood cells and immune development. This is why it is such a great healing food to have when the body is encountering stress from bacterial or viral infections, as well as digestive disorders and leaky gut syndrome.

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Other valuable nutrients found in bone broth include collagen, gelatin, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, glycosamino glycans, proline, glycine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. These all help with the development of healthy joints, bones, ligaments, and tendons, as well as hair and skin.

Eating and cooking with bone broth on a regular basis can help heal leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is usually caused by a poor diet of processed foods, too much sugar, over-use of antibiotics, and stress. Leaky gut can lead to a compromised immune system.

Super Foods and Supplements for Better Immunity

I think supplementing with whole foods is usually the best way to improve your health. These superfoods can protect you against colds and flu, as well as more serious illnesses:

ElderberryHigh in antioxidant activity, Elderberry has shown to improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health, and can help coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections, and even tonsillitis. Elderberry syrup and jam are easy to make at home and should be consumed on a regular basis.  *Study- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

 Noni Noni juice is derived from the fruit of a small evergreen plant called noni, also known as Indian mulberry, normally found in global subtropics and tropics. Noni juice is valued for its effectiveness in fighting infections and other ailments due to its valuable polysaccharides. These helpful components stimulate the activity of white blood cells, which play an important role in immune system function. Scopoletin present in noni juice possesses anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and anti-histamine properties, which significantly contribute in sustaining the immune defense mechanism of the body. Noni should be used in moderation, and not by individuals with kidney disease, due to its high potassium levels.

TulsiThis powerful adaptogen is one of the best remedies against stress. Used in India for thousands of years it contains phytochemicals such as eugenol, rosmarinic acid, apigenin, myretenal, luteolin, β-sitosterol, and carnosic acid,  which are shown to be anti-cancer agents. Tulsi helps the adrenals by regulating cortisol levels and hormone balance. Tulsi is my favorite tea to drink, and can be made iced or hot. It is also easy to grow in the garden and should be consumed daily.

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Camu Camu– This fruit contains powerful phytochemicals with health benefits, including the amino acids serine, valine, and leucine, and more natural vitamin C than any other known botanical in the world. Camu Camu also has ten times more iron, three times more niacin, twice as much riboflavin, and 50% more phosphorus than any other botanical. It contains many important minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. 

Natural food sources of vitamin C are shown to be far more effective than synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Camu Camu contains bioflavanoids, phytochemicals and other co-factors which enhance vitamins C’s efficiency and utilization by the body. Camu-Camu is energizing, mood lifting, and highly effective in strengthening the immune system.

RosehipsBecause they contain a variety of antioxidants: carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, leucoanthocyanins and catechins. Rose hips are considered to be a good protective against colds and flu, as well as a cancer preventative. These same antioxidants are also used to prevent against cardiovascular disease. Rosehips are very high in natural vitamin C, and are one of the most gentle forms of vitamin C. This can be good for people with health conditions such as intercystial cystitis who cannot take large doses of vitamin C, or ingest most fruits without painful irritation to the bladder.

AshwagandaAshwaganda has been used as an immune-boosting herb in Ayurvedic traditions. It is a powerful adaptogen which protects the body against stress, and helps the adrenal glands to stay strong. Poor stress-coping mechanisms and low adrenals promote immune dysfunction, disrupting the functional interaction between the nervous and immune systems. Negative health consequences such as slow wound-healing, reactivation of the herpes virus, or more infections such as colds and flu are common. Ashwaganda is known for its rejuvenating and anti-inflammatory properties; it strengthens the immune system and works as a general tonic to increase energy and prolong longevity.

AstragalusThis native plant with yellow roots is famous as a leader among the immune-boosting superpowers. This herb boosts antibody and antiviral compounds, such as interferon, to protect against viral invasion. It also protects against lung disorders, with studies also proving its anti-cancer properties.

How to use Essential Oils to Boost Your Immune System                 

  • Thieves– Use 2-4 drops a day on wrists or bottom of feet.
  • Lemon-This essential oil is great for detox, helping your immune system to become stronger.
  • PeppermintTwo drops rubbed on wrists or palms and inhaled as needed for an uplifting and mind-clearing affect. Rub diluted oil under nose to clear congestion.
  • Make a combination of all three oils, add 2-4 drops in a glass of water and drink daily. Mix in a rollerball glass bottle and roll on as needed.
  • ImmuPower- This blend is a powerhouse to increase immunity. Use 2-4 drops on bottoms of feet, wrists or neck.
  • Diffuse all oils as needed.

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Brooke Murray
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Brooke Murray

Brooke Murray is a Ecological nutrition counselor who specializes in Whole foods and natural living education. She believes that food is medicine but that it also brings pleasure and celebration to our lives. Our health and the planets health are interconnected. Brooke teaches that when we continue to use harmful chemicals in our homes and on our bodies the earth is negatively affected as well as our personal health. Along with teaching clients how to live with less toxins she also provides support for clients with chronic illness. She Is also a Certified Hatha Yoga teacher a Reiki practitioner and a certified green living consultant and Certified urban farm planner.

Brooke has helped her clients achieve a healthier lifestyle. S. O. U. L. is her model for living and teaching. Sustainable. Organic. Unprocessed. Local!

This means making choices that focus on foods that do not cause harm to people or the environment and that bring us the most nutritional value possible. As a teacher she provides her clients with the necessary information they need to achieve great health and to live more consciously. With a focus on healing and healing foods she brings a unique, compassionate and intuitive approach to her clients.
Brooke Murray
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