Come October, it seems everyone is looking for ways to protect themselves against sore throats, runny noses, and upset tummies. Unlike spiced coffees and oversized sweaters, however, boosting our immunity is one thing that shouldn’t be seasonal. We teamed up Kathy Chavez of the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine to find out what three simple and natural steps we can take to give our immune system a boost to protect us year round.
- Chicken Soup: Turns out it’s good for the soul and your immune system. Carnitine, an amino acid found in chicken breast, can increase your immune response to viruses and reduce replication. When you prepare homemade chicken noodle soup, the carnitine is released into the broth for an added immune boost. Chavez suggests adding garlic to your soup. It’s not only tasty but also has antimacrobial properties. Translation: it reduces your risk of viral and bacterial infection.
- Tea: “It’s another folk recipe but studies show that the component EGCG, which green tea is rich in, can reduce viral and bacterial infections,” Chavez says. Add honey to boost antimacrobial effects … and sweetness, of course.
- Supplements: “I always say food first, supplements last,” Chavez says. While it’s always better to get your nutrients from real food, supplements can give you the little boost you might need to fight infection. Zinc and elderberry have been shown to prevent sickness and reduce the time and severity of sickness if you’ve already come down with a bug.