Well this season we have definitely been hit with the flu and viral infections. I know myself, about 2 weeks before Christmas up to a week after I had a viral infection, my sisters had it as well, but there's had progressed to pharyngitis and were verging on laryngitis. Then my parents got it but not as bad, and Tommy got it as well. I have spoken to numerous people who were also hit with this nasty infection over the Christmas period. So, because of this, I decided to do a blog on fighting the flu and building your immunity, the HEALTHY, VEGAN way, and without nasty pharmaceuticals. Most of you probably don't know that most over the counter cold & flu tablets are NOT vegan. They are also not the answer when you are sick. Cold & Flu are a suppressant and do not fight and destroy the CAUSE, rather, suppressing the symptoms so you FEEL better, but the microbes/bacteria are more than likely still in your system.
What is the immune system?
Your immune system is a collection of specialised cells, organs and tissues that work together to protect and defend the body from being attacked by foreign invaders. Primarily, these are microbes, which are tiny organisms like bacteria, fungi and parasites that can cause infections. Viruses also cause infection but cannot be named a living organism. Your body can provide a great environment for microbes, so it's the immune systems job to keep them out, or if that fails, to destroy them.
Facts - Here is a great summary about the history of garlic and botanical, culinary and medicinal facts about one of the most useful root vegetables out there: Garlic - Stinking Rose or Revered Medicine?
Remedy - One clove of raw garlic, crushed, and taken once a day (more than this might upset your tummy). If you do this before bed, you won't smell AS much the next day lol. This remedy is still used in many parts of Europe to improve immunity and help speed up recovery from colds and influenza.
Facts - Ginger has been long revered in Ayurvedic Medicine for it's healing properties and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for more than 2,500 years, it's no doubt that ginger is a true powerhouse when it comes to the medical claims associated with it. Check out this link to read more about the healing powers of ginger: Properties of Ginger.
Remedy - Take one tablespoon of raw, minced ginger per day. Chasing it down with fresh squeezed orange juice helps to remove the strong taste from your mouth and get it down faster. You can also use ginger by putting a few slices of the raw root in hot water with lemon and agave nectar. Taken a few times a day, a fresh ginger tea will also help warm your body (in case of a cold, that is) and keep you hydrated.
Facts - The benefits of green tea of long been touted in many Asian and Middle Eastern cultures and have received much hype in recent years for proven (and unproven) health benefits. Considering green tea is rich in phytonutrients and polyphenols it wouldn't be such a bad idea to down a few cups when you're feeling under the weather.
Remedy - Buy a premium quality organic (fair trade) Japanese or Chinese green tea to drink. As green tea still contains caffeine, limit yourself to two cups a day or opt for decaffeinated green tea.
Facts - Ok, so there is no doubt here, everybody knows it's important to eat your greens, and when you're sick, you can do no better for yourself than to eat as much leafy green as possible. Want more information on the incredible effects of greens? Read this article: The Power of Greens.
Remedy - There is no such thing as eating too many greens, so eat them how you please, however RAW is best (you're not killing the enzymes). Salads and green smoothies are the most beneficial suggestions. Haven't ever had a green smoothie before? Well if you haven't already seen my many photos and posts on them on my facebook, have a little read about them here.
Immune System Booster Juice
Another option is a fresh juice. A great combination whilst a flu or virus is present is as follows:
2 stalks of celery
handful of parsley
2 cloves of garlic/1.5cm ginger
Juice the garlic/ginger first. Next juice the celery and parsley together. To juice the parsley, tuck the stems and the leaves into the grooves of the celery sticks. Finish juicing with the carrots and apple.
Olive Leaf Extract
Facts - Olive Oil is good, but Olive Leaves are better! First used medicinally in Ancient Egypt, it is now recognised as one of the greatest defenders against sickness. I am a walking, talking, breathing example, and BIBLE on this stuff! I can't even explain how many times I have had show after show after show, and especially in Canada where it was cold, my body and voice was tired and sore, and this was that special stuff in a bottle I would not have been able to get through a whole tour without. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant rich, anti-parasitic, anti-septic, anti-viral, immune-boosting, this stuff is no joke!!! This article explains it all in much greater detail and is so interesting: Olive Leaf
Remedy - The label should designate specific dosages for different ages, but personally (I don't share my bottle) I just take a swig every now and then. More often if I'm really in a bad way, and maybe once or twice a day when I'm healthy to maintain my wellbeing.
PLEASE NOTE: Olive Leaf Extract does NOT taste good. Like most herbal remedies, it tastes foul. You can get peppermint flavour which does ease off the nasty taste a little. However all in all, it's not going to be enjoyable. You can either shot it and chase it down with water or fresh juice, or put it in your juice or smoothie etc.
Now that i have let you in on a few little secrets to help fight off your flu and boost that immune system, don't stop using these methods once you have rid the sickness. Making these little tricks a habit in your daily life will help your immune system defend your body better, and you may avoid the virus or flu when everyone else around you has it ;)
♥ LOVE BEC ♥
Note: This information is in no way meant to replace the care and advice of a medical professional. This is my advice based upon personal experience and researched studies. Please consult with your Naturopath or GP if you feel your condition is beyond the use of food as medicine. If you are pregnant, please consult your Naturopath, Doctor or Midwife for more information about what remedies are safe during pregnancy.