Jillian Michaels

February 1, 2018

Building Up Immunity Through Food

Although in my life I have managed to get sick during all seasons, there is definitely one in particular that is more nefarious. It’s the period of the year (depending on where you live) that is during winter. 

There are several reasons suspected for this. Some believe there is a link with the seasonal decline of ultraviolet radiation that would kill off the bacteria in sunnier months. Viruses can live longer outside of a host in colder temperatures (like on countertops, door handles, cell phones etc.). Many people have a lowered production of vitamin D due to the lack of direct sunlight, which dampens our immune systems. And it’s also believed that cold, dry weather can dehydrate us and our mucous membranes, which makes it harder for our bodies to fend off respiratory infections.

Regardless, of whether or not the above is accurate, cold and flu season is a very real thing, and it can really mess up your life for a couple weeks to a couple months depending on how bad you go down. So, let’s look at what you can do to fend off these nasty bugs.

The following are some of the most potent immunity boosting foods that will either help prevent sickness or greatly shorten its duration. 

Garlic! This one is extremely potent for several reasons. First, it’s very high in allicin, which has been shown extremely effective in fighting off viral infections and bacterial infections.  Plus, it has more than 100 sulfuric compounds that boost total wellness, mobilize vitamin D, and fight infection. Garlic is actually so powerful it was used to prevent gangrene in both world wars. I personally love garlic, so I don’t find it hard to put it in almost everything. Pasta sauces. Soups. I can even do crushed garlic cloves in lemon juice and cayenne shots when I am really not feeling well.  That said, if you hate garlic or don’t love the way it makes you smell try kyolic supplements. These are also very effective and you won’t have dragon breath. You can also try a chlorophyll supplements. Totally safe to consume and very effective.  Try to consume one clove a day. Especially when sick.

Chicken Soup. Yup. This one is legit, and here’s why: The chicken and chicken bone broth contain an amino acid called cysteine that is similar to the drug acetyl cysteine, which is used to fight off infection. Ideally, you can make this with some garlic for a powerful double whammy. If you don’t have the time for homemade, store-bought will work fine too, but fresh is ideal.

Raw Honey has been proven as a powerful antimicrobial agent – fighting virus, fungus, bacteria etc. It’s important the honey is raw so you get the benefit of the pollen and propolis, which is what gives the honey its immunity boosting effects.  Consider adding honey to your tea and lemon. And speaking of…

Black Tea. A recent Harvard study showed that people who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than the placebo group. This is because of an amino acid called L-theanine. It’s also present in decaf black tea as well.

Ginger is the last featured immunity powerhouse. It contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes, which specifically target rhinoviruses (common cold viruses). It’s a natural pain reliever and fever reducer because of its anti-inflammatory properties and it stimulates perspiration, which helps to lower body temperature. The best and easiest way to work ginger into your diet is simply grating some ginger to add to your black tea with some of that raw honey and, boom, you’re ready to rock.