Now, more than ever, it is critical to take care of our bodies. While every practitioner and medical company is out to make a pretty penny with immune-supporting supplements, let’s stop focusing on band-aids and temporary fixes and focus on healing the root cause. Let’s focus on getting back to optimal health and having a stronger body. A stronger body = a stronger immune system. Remember, always support the gut because 70-80% of our immune cells are in the gut.
Here are some of my recommendations to support healing. Healing from a virus or even from an injury or for wound healing.
1. Protect the Brain
Inflammation is when the immune system is activated because an invader is detected. Depending on the type of virus and what white cells go to work, you will feel (or not feel) any of the symptoms. Usually, the immune system kills off the invader in less than a week’s time.
So feeling a fever, run down, inflammation is our immune response as the white cells try to fight off the invader and heal.
Studies show that mice would lose appetites with viruses but would eat again after the flu. Depending on the virus and/or bacteria, our immune cells that go to work differ and thus the inflammatory responses will differ. This is why sometimes eating supports a viral response but can also be harmful when fighting a bacterial invader.
What’s interesting is that these mice did best staying away from sugar. Their immune system was stronger and they were able to use ketones to support any bacterial inflammation.
2. Foods for Immune System Support
Stay away from sugar as it can inhibit the immune system from functioning optimally. You can read more here.
You can watch a few of my YouTube videos on sugar.
Water + Electrolytes
Flushes out the system while keeping up your energy levels.
Salmon, sardines, and herrings are all rich in omega-3s. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and can reduce inflammation and protect against viruses. (e.g., colds)
High in Zinc and other nutrients. Zinc is key for increasing the body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells.
Chicken Soup (Beef Bone Broth / Meat Stock)
Hydrates. Rich in electrolytes and essential minerals. Supports the immune system. Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties because of its carnosine compound. This is why chicken soup is touted during cold/flu season.
Foods Rich in Selenium
Selenium is an essential mineral that supports fighting infections (among other functions). Selenium will be dependent on the soil the animal grazed on (or the vegetables consumed)
Animal Foods Rich in Selenium
Yellowfin Tuna, Sardines, Oysters, Clams, Shrimp, Halibut, Salmon, Crab
Ham and Pork
Beef, including organ meat
Garlic acts like an antioxidant and can protect against a winter cold and other viruses.
Provides immune-boosting amino acids like L-Theanine that help your body stay healthy. Herbal teas also have less amounts of oxalates than green and black teas.
Can help with nausea and upset stomach. Also supports the immune system.
Warm ginger tea or grating raw ginger finely can help
We generally don’t have an appetite when we are sick. There’s a reason why. It’s a natural response to helping the body fight infections. If you aren’t hungry, don’t force yourself to eat. You have your stored energy. Your body can focus wholly on the recovery process.
Fasting forces your body to rely on stored energy. This helps speed up metabolism and helps fight infection more effectively (compared to taking medications). If you don’t put any foods or medicine in your body, your body just has one job: kill the invader.
Some of the nutrients consumed while sick can feed the invader.
Lack of appetite can encourage the body to remove infected cells through cell apoptosis (death of a cell) where cells that aren’t useful or properly functioning can be recycled or eliminated. Fasting supports cell apoptosis.
Fasting supports ketone production and one form of ketone, BHBs is beneficial for the immune system, including reducing an inflammatory response. This is why many people who are fat-adapted get over illness much quicker than people eating a SAD.
Fasting for 48-72 hours promotes the recycling of damaged immune cells. Fasting for just 72 hours can regenerate your ENTIRE immune system. You can read more here.
During flu season or a pandemic, like COVID-19, it may be best to hold off on extended fasting. There is some evidence that fasting over 48 hours can cause a cortisol spike which then would decrease the immune system functioning. it’s likely a small risk, but in a time like now, it may be better to hold off on extended fasts.
4. Lifestyle Support
Get the body, much-needed rest and get your body into a rest and relaxed state (parasympathetic state). Our body detoxes in a parasympathetic state.
Get enough sleep and take it easy. Sleep is one of the most effective ways to help your body get better.
Add drops of coconut oil or oregano oil. And draw a warm bath. Use some magnesium topical spray after (or make a salt bath). Remember, magnesium is best absorbed transdermally (through the skin).
Probiotics can help boost recovery. We need the good gut bugs to help support our gut and crowd out the bad. Choosing high-quality ones matters here. The ones I recommend have been clinically shown to support the healing of leaky gut, even when there are no dietary changes. You can read more here. The clinical study is here.
Lymph-draining massages can help with fatigue and muscle aches. Make sure to properly hydrate afterward. The lymph helps our bodies detox. We need movement for the lymph to work properly because there is no pump to move the fluid around. (Unlike blood that has a heart pump to help shuttle blood around in the body). This is why movement, like walking and even jumping is important.
Use saunas to support detox (make sure you are healthy enough to use the sauna)
Get outside, go for a walk, and get some natural vitamin D from the sun. It can help boost moods and overall health. I am torn about vitamin D supplementation. You can read more in my upcoming Carnivore Cure book. I share both ends of the story with vitamin D. We definitely need adequate amounts but it isn’t as easy as just supplementing.
Remember, our body is a bunch of chemical processes. When we add one thing, and especially when vitamin D, in its active form is a hormone, (essentially Hormonal Replacement Therapy- HRT), we don’t know what else is being affected in the body.
Take care of yourselves out there. I have intentionally been a bit more quiet lately. There’s already enough noise going on during COVID-19 and during these unprecedented times, I didn’t want to be another cook in the kitchen.
Nourish the body with nutrient-dense real foods. Support the gut and heal the body. The body will take care of the rest. No immune support supplementation is required long term.
Take care and be safe out there.
In love and health,