Immune Supportive Foods

It’s here. The time of year we’ve been dreading all summer and fall is finally here. Yup, it’s cold and flu season. Why does it seem so scary? We all tend to live a busy, hectic life and we don’t have time to lie in bed feeling like we’ve been run over by a truck. So we try to prepare; we have immune boosters on hand at all times, we stay far FAR away anyone that’s sniffling, and hope for the best.

What are we missing?

Our immune system is a miraculous body system. All day is scours the body looking for viruses, bacteria, and rogue cells that shouldn’t be there and gets rid of them. A balanced immune system is the key to health.

But, our immune system works within the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which is our relaxation mode. When we’re stressed our immune system is depressed.

Have you ever wondered why you tend to get sick AFTER a busy and stressful time? While you’re stressed viruses take up residence in your body. They replicate and have a good ‘ol time while your immune system is depressed by your Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight). Once relaxed, your immune system finds the virus party and attacks…and these are the cold symptoms you feel. Always keep in mind; symptoms of a cold or flu are symptoms of your immune system FIGHTING it, not of the cold or flu itself.

Immune Modulators vs Immune Boosters

We can help our immune system out, even when we’re under stress. We can support the immune system and help it out with its very difficult job.

Immune Modulators

It has become very common in North America to have an over-active immune system. Think of your immune system as having WAY too much coffee. It’s over-stimulated and is unable to make good decisions. These confused decisions happen when the immune system mistakes a part of your body or a non-virus for an invader. It usually starts with a simple misunderstanding, like with seasonal allergies. Pollen and dust look similar to a virus, but a balanced immune system can tell the difference. An overwhelmed immune system doesn’t have time to decide if this spec of pollen is “good” or “bad” and strikes an attack. This is why allergy symptoms feel so cold-like.

A very overwhelmed immune system may even start to mistake our own tissue for an invader, like we see in auto-immune conditions. Do not “boost” your immune system if you have an auto-immune condition. You need an immune modulator. Immune modulators are supplements and foods that help the immune system find balance. If your immune system is low, it will raise it. If it’s over-stimulated, it will help find balance. These are the safest immune supplements to take.

Examples are: medicinal mushrooms, Vitamin D, turmeric, and probiotics

Immune Boosters

These foods and supplements do exactly what they say they’re going to do, they boost the immune system. It’s best to take these when you’re already feeling a cold or flu coming on. At first I tend to feel SO much worse when I take an immune booster but then I wake up the next day feeling fantastic. It’s key to allow your immune system the space to fight off this virus by taking some downtime on the couch and resting. A bit of rest at the beginning of a cold may shave days off your suffering.

Examples are: high dose Vitamin C, Echinacea, and elderberry


These help the immune system by killing off the virus, bacteria, or parasites before they take over and start to party. I always have my favourite anti-viral in my medicine cabinet and I take it anytime I feel the beginnings of a cold.

Examples are: Oil of oregano, raw garlic, and olive leaf extract

This is a great time of year to give your immune system some extra help. A nice relaxing hot bath, meditation, and any stress-relieving activity will allow your immune system some time to do it’s everyday clean up and inspection. A bit of downtime today may save you days or weeks of bed rest when that dreaded cold starts to go around your work or child’s school.