Aubree Steen, FNTP
With COVID-19 increasing exponentially at the same time we’re moving into cold and flu season, mindfulness about boosting the immune system should be at the forefront of our brain.
Cordyceps Mushrooms are incredible for immunity. They’re one of the multiple food-based immune supplements that we recommend this season. They improve ATP mitochondrial function and the oxygen outtake to the cells. Studies have shown that VO2 max testing and fatigue resistance has been improved. VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise. It’s commonly used to test the aerobic endurance or cardiovascular fitness of athletes before and at the end of a training cycle. Maybe it’s the boost you need to finally take first place. Regardless, this is extremely important during this cold and flu season.
Beta glucans are also found in medical mushrooms and have an immune modulatory effect. I love immune modulation. It involves bringing immune cells back into balance, to let the immune system function correctly. This is very different from stimulating the immune system.
Stress during the holidays? We all know tensions can run high when you’re surrounded by the people you love most. Cordyceps are excellent for cortisol management, helping reduce the constant effects of the “fight or flight” response our adrenals are undertaking during high times of chaos and stress. *Cough* Those certain family members who know how to rub you juuuust the right way.
Here are the other foods we highly recommend:
Ashwagandha and Schizandra
These are helpful for supporting the adrenals, which are responsible for stress hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol.
Foods high in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. HIgh doses of Vitamin-C have been shown to mitigate massive inflammation with respiratory failure seen in patients infected with Covid-19. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and shortens the frequency of viral illnesses. VItamin C can help protect our body from oxidative stress, which exacerbates inflammation.
- Citrus fruits – rich in Vitamin C, Quercetin (powerful antioxidants), bioflavonoids.
- Oranges, lemons, limes.
- Bell peppers
- Mustard greens
Foods High in Zinc
Zinc maintains the integrity of the skin and mucosal membranes, acting as a powerful antioxidant and helping. Zinc can also impair viral replications.
- Sprouted pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Oysters and wild-caught seafood
- Grass-fed and pasture-raised meats/eggs
- Legumes, seeds, and nuts. Sprouted and soaked, if possible.
Foods High in B-Vitamins
B-Vitamins directly impact energy levels, brain function, cellular metabolism, and the growth of red blood cells. They are required for methylation and bodily process needed to support your immune system. Eat up!
- Leafy greens (the more, the better.)
- Kale, swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, cabbage, beet greens, watercress, romaine.
- Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, etc.
- Soaked and sprouted if possible.
- Sprouted if possible.
- WIld-caught and sustainable fish
- Pasture-raised, organic eggs.
Foods High in Quercetin
Quercetin is our body’s natural support for helping the body cope with allergens and other breathing/lung/respiratory problems.
- The shape allows it to sit on the cell wall surfaces.
- Quercetin is anti-inflammatory and can quench the cytokine type of fire if it starts to build.
- They can block surface active proteins that are active by the virus.
- Quercetin can surprise heat-shock proteins and act as antioxidants.
- It has inhibition of influenza and other coronaviruses.
- Couldn’t suppress lung vitamin E. Use in combo with tocotrienols.
Can be found in supplementation and in foods such as:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Red onions
- Black tea
- Green tea or Matcha
Other Foods/Herbs to Strengthen the Immune System:
- Anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory
- Manuka Honey
- Anti-microbial, extremely powerful for the immune system.
- Rich in Vitamin C and Quercetin
- Bone Broth
- Has an abundance of amino acids, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
- High in Quercetin, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antihistamine.
- Anti-inflammatory with EPA/DHA fats
- Brazil Nuts
- Selenium for immune regulation
- Fermented vegetables
- Sauerkraut, kimchi, and probióticos from sunchokes and jicama all support your microbiome, feeding beneficial bacteria to fight infections.