And everyone is terrified of getting sick! Luckily there are MANY ways to protect yourselves and your families from getting ill.
Cod Liver Oil
We know that people tend to get colds and the flu in the winter months because of the lack of sunshine and therefore lack of vitamin D. (It has actually been proven that getting the flu is a side effect of having low vitamin D – and obviously a lack of magnesium as well!) You can read about the link between low magnesium and low vitamin D in my posts here and here.
With that being said, cod liver oil is one of the BEST sources of naturally occurring vitamin D and vitamin A- both of these nutrients are crucial for immune health. The media and the medical community tend to just focus on vitamin D but vitamin A (as retinol, like found in cod liver oil, eggs, butter and liver) is extremely important for immune health as well.
I am not a proponent of the fermented cod liver oil. Even before the controversy, something just told me that it was not all it was cracked up to be. It is a rancid oil! I’ve heard dozens of stories of people having major health issues after taking FCLO for a few years (because it can take time for an imbalances to show up!)
As far as regular cod liver oil, I know of 3 quality brands that use true cod liver oil and don’t add synthetic vitamins to it (because let’s be honest- that defeats the purpose of using cod liver oil if half of the nutrients are man-made).
Nordic Naturals Artic (without the added D)
Rosita EVCLO (Best quality, but can be pricey)
NutraPro VCLO (use my code SASSY for 10% off) (Best value- 95 servings for $34!)
Elderberries are on of the best immune boosters out there. There is a lot of evidence that elderberry syrup is so strong that it is an effective treatment for the flu! Elderberries are high in vitamin C, which we know is a crucial nutrient for immune health. Elderberries are anti-inflammatory but they have a laxative and diuretic properties.
The most common way to use elderberries is in a syrup. You can buy your own or you can make it yourself! It is much more cost effective you make it yourself. A whole pound of elderberries is the same price as a small portion of pre-made syrup. Learn how to make your own syrup right here!
Elderberry syrup might not be a good idea for those with certain auto-immune illnesses. Just like anything, you have to look into it yourself and see if it is something you can tolerate. Every body is different.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is my go-to for colds for everyone. I make a tea with 2 tablespoons ACV, raw honey, warm water, 1/4 tsp of ginger powder, and 1/4 tsp of Ceylon cinnamon. Taking this twice a day can knock out a cold very quickly! Also, ACV in Fire Cider is also amazing and strong.
A Whole-foods diet
Obviously, we want to always aim for a clean, real foods diet but it is especially important to follow this to keep your immune system strong. Refined sugars, fake foods, and artificial sweeteners are foreign invaders to the body and will not help strengthen your health at all. Fresh fruits and veggies, grass-fed meats and dairy, lots of grass-fed butter and coconut oil and real sweeteners (used moderately) are part of an ideal diet. Yes, I know it’s the holidays and we all cheat- so try to make your own desserts with REAL ingredients.
Whole Food Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a very important nutrient for immune health but we have been lied to about what true vitamin C is. 90% of the supplements you will see out there that have “vitamin C” on the label are really ascorbic acid which is just the shell of the vitamin C complex. . Read all about whole food C here. Ascorbic acid can actually cause copper deficiency while whole food vitamin C supports proper copper balance. Copper is an antioxidant and another nutrient that is needed for proper immune health.
Vitamin C is water soluble and not stored in the body so this is a nutrient we need to have daily. Luckily, there are many food sources that contain this amazing nutrient: citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, rose hips, and stinging nettles are just some of the sources. There are MANY whole food vitamin C supplements on the market right now. Garden of life and Synergy Pure Radiance are among the best quality out there, or you can try single sources of C like Camu camu or acerola cherry. You can use a lot less whole food C as opposed to ascorbic acid so a typical dose is around 300-400mg.
One of my favorite things to keep around just in case we end up with a cold is the Seasonal Sampler teas from Traditional Medicinals. This box includes Echinacea Plus, Gypsy Cold Care, Throat Coat, and Breathe Easy. My favorites are the first two (and they do have their own boxes of each of these- it’s usually just easier to find the sampler box in stores). Herb Pharm also has many things specific for immune support: tinctures for adults and for kids, and even this spray!
So those are my top tips for keeping your family healthy during the cold winter months. Any other tips? Let me know in the comments!