7 Immune Boosters in Light of the Swine Flu

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As of right now, I don’t think we need to panic about the swine flu. I think it’s important to remember that many people (companies) profit by creating panic, but I truthfully don’t think panic is necessary yet. And this comes from a worrywart!

I spent a lot of yesterday finding out as much as I could about the swine flu, and though I would like to have a plan of action in place for my family, I didn’t find any huge reason for fear. I especially appreciated Dr. Mercola’s article on the topic. I highly recommend you read it.

But since it’s always good to research, to improve your immune system and know of ways to fight infection, I thought I would share a few resources for you to consider. If we were to ever come down with a serious flu, I would try to fight against it from as many angles as I could. Meanwhile, I think it’s wise to work on really trying to boost my family’s immune system, because I truthfully feel like all three of us are a little run down right now. Hopefully some of the things we find helpful will be of use to you as well.

And please feel free to share your thoughts too!

1)Coconut oil

Coconut oil is traditionally used to fight against the flu (and it does seem to have anti-viral properties).

“One of the most amazing benefits of coconut oil is its ability to kill disease-causing viruses. Antibiotics are useless against viruses, and anti-viral drugs have only limited effectiveness. Medications used to treat viral infections are often accompanied by undesirable side effects. Coconut oil is a natural, harmless product that is gaining notice as a means to help prevent and even treat viral infections. ” The Coconut Oil Miracle, Bruce Fife

Many people claim that when they started eating a high coconut and coconut oil diet that they stopped catching colds and flues for years! (Though I truthfully can’t claim the same for my family). Coconut oil is a traditional food that at the very least will help give your body support in many ways, and at the very best will prevent you from becoming ill. Read about it’s benefits here, and how I include it in my diet here. The easiest way is to simply take a spoonful of it and eat it, or to put some in a cup of tea. By the way, Bruce Fife also shared how traditionally in the tropics when someone was coming down with something they would actually drink glassfuls for coconut oil. You are probably not going to overdose! Just beware that since this is a strong, anti-yeast and anti-bacterial oil it could make you detox. I recommend getting your body used to it before you are ill. I also have a few fun recipes that are very high in coconut oil on this site, such as my “Mounds” bar recipe.

You can now find high quality virgin coconut oil at most if not all health food stores.

2)Oil of Oregano

First, there is only one brand of oil of oregano that I can recommend, which is North American Herb and Spice’s Oreganol (there are many places online that sell it). Many brands of oil of oregano don’t even contain a true oregano oil and they will not have the anti-viral effect you are looking for. We have used this oil for a couple of years now and have been very impressed with how well it works in fighting against the flue and colds. Once again, it seems that true, high quality oil of oregano has anti-viral properties, which is why it is effective against colds and the flu. We staved off numerous colds/flu with this product, as did other family and friends.

It’s very important that you start taking it as soon as you start coming down with your illness as it’s much more effective at that point. The only draw back is that it’s strong taste is hard for some to handle, though most of us got used to it. In the book, The Cure is in the Cupboard, the author recommends taking two drops every hour when sick.

3) Vitamin D

The flu runs wild when we aren’t getting enough vitamin D from the sun (such as in the winter). Getting vitamin D can be as simple as sunbathing. Dr. Mercola believes that if we can “optimize” our Vitamin D levels, we have taken a big step forward in preventing us from getting sick. He discusses this issue here. While he does recommend taking a good supplement if your levels are tested as low, he makes the strong disclaimer that supplementing too high of a dose is toxic. In his article about the Swine Flu, he also gives a protocol for taking vitamin D when ill. Check it out, if interested. I am going to try to soak up as much sun as I can with my daughter right now, and we also get vitamin D from our high vitamin cod liver oil.

4) Fish Oil and Cod Liver Oil

Dr. Mercola also recommended increasing your intake of omega 3’s. Once again, this is something that we always try to do. It’s just a common sense step to take for everyday health.

“Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.”

We personally use fermented cod liver oil (cinnamon flavored), which also gives us vitamin A and D, which are very important for your immune system.

5) Vitamin C

It seems that the swine flu isn’t what kills you, it’s the secondary infections, like pneumonia. Many naturopaths use a method of giving high amounts of vitamin C to fight infections with good success.

In fact, a personal friend of mine used the “bowel intolerance method” (taking as much vitamin C as your bowels will tolerate) to cure herself of repeated bouts of pneumonia. It’s something worth looking into and having on hand. This article explains how to do the method and also gives other recommendations. I don’t personally think that taking an isolated vitamin is the greatest thing on a everyday basis, but it can really prove life saving in a crisis.

One thing that has seemed to really help me overcome common colds before was drinking huge amounts of lemonade made with fresh lemons and sweetened with stevia. It gave me plenty of liquids and vitamin C from the lemons, without giving me a sugar overdose since I was using stevia. It tastes good too!

6)Garlic

Garlic is strong stuff! Eating a lot of fresh garlic will certainly give your immune system a boost and help you fight against infection. Try to get as fresh of garlic as possible.  One cold remedy that can be effective (if your body is new to garlic you will probably want to cut back on the garlic, even just using a few cloves may be effective) is garlic, honey, lemon tea. To keep the garlic uncooked, some people simply mince the garlic, leave for 15 minutes to allow the healing properties to rise, and then swallow with a sip of water. If you do this, I definitely recommend taking a little oil with it to buffer it’s harshness on your stomach.

I thought it was helpful that Dr. Mercola makes the disclaimer that garlic may not suite everyone. I also believe people can react differently to garlic or other foods, so definitely try to watch how you personally respond do any recommendation.

7) Water Therapy

It’s simple, cheap and an effective boost to the immune system. I truthfully don’t enjoy the process, but whenever I’ve done it, I always feel better afterwards. Here are the directions I use for water therapy.

Other things to keep in mind or look into:

  • Homemade Chicken broth is extremely good for anyone fighting a cold or flu. It keeps their electrolytes up, hydrates them, and keeps them nourished. Same for coconut water from young coconuts. I want to make a big pot of chicken broth to freeze so it’s always on hand.
  • One item that is also supposed to be very effective in fighting against illness is the “silver” health products. We have not personally used it, but have heard good things about it from friends. It’s something for us to look into.
  • Stay away from processed foods, refined foods (white flour and white sugar), trans fats, and GMO’s.
  • Exercise is a great way to boost your immune system. Take a walk on a sunny day for vitamin D.
  • Stay well rested. Sleep is very important for your immune system.
  • Reduce stress in your life. It hampers your immune system.
  • We will personally also continue to take probiotics and eat fermented foods which play a big part in keeping you healthy.
  • Stay well hydrated drinking from a pure source.
  • I have a trusted Naturopath that I would quickly ask advice from if there was a high risk in my area or if my family was sick.

A quick disclaimer, I am not a doctor in any shape or form and am not offering medical advice or selling products to you. I am only sharing what I am considering for my own family and invite you to research what would serve you and yours. Please talk to a qualified health care provider about your choices.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. says

    Indeed, this is a great list of things that really work to help keep healthy. I have a list of things from my web site – it’s from last November, but the principles are as applicable now – especially in light of the recent flu epidemic going on. http://agriculturesociety.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/staying-healthy-during-cold-and-flu-season/

    A couple of weeks ago, my husband and son both came down with some terrible flu which lasted over two weeks in duration. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it could easily have been the Swine Flu. Now, keep in mind that no one else in our area was diagnosed with it and neither my husband nor son were exposed to anything unusual; we eat extremely healthy in our home – all grass-fed meats and poultry, pasture-raised eggs, raw milk, organic produce, grapeseed, coconut, and olive oils, butter, fish oil, home-made yogurt, etc. But, all I know is that I typically stick to a healthy diet more consistently than my boys do (maybe it’s that stubborn male gene :)), and I never came down with anything while they were sick.

  2. spencer says

    You are so right on about prevention being the key, and I’m sure the flu vaccine sales have been down with the low economy so what better time for a pandemic. I was getting sick every month for like a year and was literally wasting away but after sticking to a mostly raw food diet I’ve killed most of my parasites and have started to purge heavy metals from my system. I think sickness enters through the intestines after breeding in undigested acidic food building its forces for an all out overwhelming invasion.
    Getting rid of acidic heavy metals and toxic chemicals from your tissue is the first step in my opinoin, it has been said that good organisms can’t breed in an acidic environment so if you want them to be happy purge your toxins with some zeolites, clean up your intestines by eating wholesome mostly raw foods and make your body a cozy place for friendly bacteria.
    I recommend waiora’s web site to anyone who wants to enhance there immune system faster than correct diet can alone. I think there 3 best products are cellulare defense, agrigold and edn. Hopefully this sparked someones intrest, there are so many pieces to the puzzel so good luck everyone!

  3. says

    Hey Kimi,
    I found your post on Twitter. It’s great, especially the coconut oil, garlic, vitamin D, and fish oil. The first two are delicious and easy to work into your diet and the second two are easy supplements. I use the Now Foods version of Vitamin D…just make sure you’re taking D3 and not D2. For Cod Liver Oil, I go with Blue Ice Fermented CLO. I also work oregano into lots of my meals, though not “oil of oregano”.

    Thanks for the great read!

    Cheers
    Scott Kustes
    Life Spotlight

  4. Heather says

    Hi Kimi,
    Great summary of Dr. Mercola’s article. I am part of a yahoo group that was just talking about this very thing.

  5. Leatha says

    Thanks for the wonderful information. What brand of cod liver oil do you use and where do you purchase it. Thanks again.

  6. KimiHarris says

    Raine,

    Thanks for sharing your link!

    Michelle,

    I’ve heard good things about raw apple cider vinegar, and have used it myself. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    Spencer,

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience and thoughts! Very helpful.

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for the comment! I also use Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver oil.

    Hi Heather,

    Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out!

    Leatha,

    I use Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver oil, I’ve bought it from http://www.radiantlifecatalog.com/ mostly, though there are a few other places online too that sell it.

  7. Lea says

    Thank you so much for this!!! I am in Texas, so this has certainly been blown into crisis mode down here (school’s closed for over a week). It’s hard not to get caught up in the media. We practice most things semi-regularly, but you have certainly reminded me of the simple preventative things we can be doing to steer clear from this unknown virus! Thanks, like always, for your great research and sharing!! :)

  8. Kaylin says

    Kimi, I agree that we shouldn’t panic about these things; take precautions, yes, but not panic. Prevention is soooo important. Besides feeding my family a healthy diet, I give my family Epicor, which is a fermented yeast that balances the immune system. It was discovered when it was being produced for animal supplements and no one that worked in the plant was ever getting sick. They’ve sudied it for human use and it’s worked great for my husband and kids! If you Google “Epicor” you’ll find the story. It’s fascinating. There are a lot of companies that distribute it. You just have to make sure that the company from which you buy it sells the pure product without any fillers.

    Also, Iodine is very important for preventing illness. Every 17 minutes the blood passes through the thyroid. When the thyroid is properly saturated with iodine all the germs and bacteria in the blood get weaker every 17 minutes as they pass through the thyroid and are exposed to the iodine, until they die. Iodine is so antibacterial it is used as an antiseptic. Lugol’s and Iodoral are excellent products. I just read “Iodine: Why You Need It; Why You Can’t Live Without It” by Dr. David Brownstein. It’s excellent!

  9. Heather says

    Kimi, I just tried to click the link I posted and it went to my email. If you could delete my post with the link I would appreciate it. I could not get the document to pull up. But if you google silver sol Gordon Pedersen(the author of the document I tried to send) there is some you tube and other interesting things to read. Sorry for the trouble. Blessings, Heather

  10. KimiHarris says

    Kaylin,

    I’ve never heard about epicor, so thank you very much for sharing! I am definitely interested in reading more. And thank you also for sharing about the iodine too! I had thought about including it as an option, but didn’t feel like I had enough info about it, so I am glad you reminded me of it.

    Anyone have some good articles on iodine to point too? I would LOVE to read more about it!

  11. Angela says

    Kimi, Our natropath had us start taking Carlson’s brand cod liver oil last year b/c she said that it was the best out there. How does fermented differ? What brand do you buy and where? Thanks, Angela

  12. says

    Been reading your site for awhile, but this is my first time commenting. About the coconut oil, I’ve been wanting to try it, but I’m about 35 weeks pregnant and obviously don’t want to detox now, or while I’m breastfeeding. Any idea how much it takes to throw you into detox? Or should I just avoid it all together?

    Love your site, btw!

    • KimiHarris says

      Angela,

      We use Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver oil. . You may know that there was some controversy over the amount of vitamin A in cod liver oil and what the right amount was etc. I decided through that, that I just wanted a cod liver oil that kept the vitamin A to D levels the same as they were in nature. That’s what the Blue Ice brand does, they don’t try to chance what’s there to start. Having it be fermented has many benefits, Kelly has a good post about that here (this is a traditional practice by the way).

      A bottle seems a lot more expensive until you realize that it’s more concentrated and you only need to take a tiny amount per serving. I recommend the flavored kinds (we are using cinnamon right now and like it).

      Hope that helps!

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Semi Crunchy Mom,

      Thanks for the comment. :-) The only reason I say that about the coconut oil is because a few readers and friends have noticed some detox issues after starting to consume coconut oil. It’s not something I personally noticed in my family (or extended family). This is what I recommend, just start with a very small amount, maybe 1/2 teaspoon. See if your body reacts to it, then the next day, try a teaspoon. Keep building up until you can just use it as desired in your cooking or however else you want to use it. You most likely wouldn’t have any problems with it anyways, but that’s a safe way to try to start using it (keep in mind it is a FOOD after all, lol!). Does that help answer your question?

  13. Leesie says

    Kimi,
    Just thought I’d ask –
    Do you (or anyone else who follows here) know of any herbal treatment(s) or any kind of supplement for Lyme disease? Any thoughts or help would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

  14. says

    These are great suggestions! I recently attended a lecture on Vitamin D given by a naturopath and was amazed to learn that most of the US population (and certainly most of us living in states without a lot of sun) are Vitamin D deficient. Being Vitamin D deficient puts us at risk for a host of conditions including viral infection, cancer, etc. Being tested for Vitamin D levels is a great way to start so a plan can be made to bring the levels up to an acceptable range. Of course the best way to get Vitamin D is to spend 10-30 minutes in the sun (no sunblock) every day during the middle of the day (12-1 pm is best). You don’t want to burn but you do want to allow your body the time to make Vitamin D. Other good options include taking a high quality (non-synthetic) Cod Liver Oil such as the Blue Ice brand. A naturopath can also prescribe high quality vitamin D drops. Unfortunately most of the Vitamin D supplements in the store and virtually all the Vitamin D added to many foods in the grocery store isn’t the type the body will actually absorb and process.

  15. says

    What brand of Vit D supplement does the body absorb? I have a three year old son who has a terribly weak immune system. He catches everything. So we never goto the park to play because he ALWAYS (not exaggerating here) catches something and ends up with it going to his lungs and then we end up in the dr office for breathing treatments. And he is highly allergic to grass (skin contact causes him to break out in hives), so it is difficult to just take off his shirt and let him run around and play in the sun. :( So I need to find a way to get him more sunlight (any ideas?) or a Vit D supplement that his body can absorb. Thanks for ANY help.

  16. KimiHarris says

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge from the lecture you attended! Do you know of any good brands for Vitamin D to recommend to Paula?

    Hi Paula,

    I am afraid that I do not have much knowledge to share with you. :-( I do recommend Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver oil as it does contain a lot of vitamin D and getting sun when you can. Lard is actually a good source of Vitamin D as well (ironically). As far as a supplement to take, I would check out Dr. Mercola’s recommendations. Hope that helps a little!

  17. says

    I think these are great suggestions, Kimi! I also read Mercola’s article, and thought it was a worthwhile read. Though I am somewhat on the alert concerning swine flu, I am not truly concerned about it. I am taking the same proactive approach as you- extra cod liver oil, coconut oil, fresh fruits and veggies (esp. the ones high in Vit C), sunshine and fresh air and exercise, lots of garlic and onion in my cooking. I think that a strong immune system is our best response right now!

  18. Eric Perera says

    How about corriander tea? Wash a palmful of corriander seeds under the tap and boil it over until the water reduces to half. You may like to add a few cloves garlic and some slices of fresh ginger root to this. This is the home remedy we still use in Sri Lanka. Corriander makes you sweat a lot.. with it your virus leaves you! Garlic and ginger are both good antiseptics.

    Cheers,
    Eric

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