It seems we’re in that time of year again – everyone seems to be coming down with a bug of some sort.
Instead of writing about how to boost your immune system, I thought you might find it useful to know how to boost your recovery when you’re poorly.
Good quality food is the most effective ‘medicine’ available to you when you’re suffering with a bug, or if you think you’ve got one brewing.
The first thing is to listen to your body. If you’re hungry, eat, if not – don’t.
Gut health is always at the heart of good health, and when you’re feeling under the weather is no exception. Over 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so keeping it happy is your best bet to staying healthy, and getting better as quickly as possible when you are poorly.
The best ways to keep your gut bacteria happy, healthy, strong and able to fight viruses are to eat plenty of fibre-rich vegetables (make sure to include plenty of garlic and onions (ideally raw) which have both antiviral and antibacterial properties), and to include fermented foods in your diet like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi.
Bone broth is hugely helpful for keeping you hydrated and full of nutrients when you don’t feel like eating. Every time you cook meat on the bone, its worth making a batch of stock from the bones (the simplest recipe is to cover the bones 3/4 of the way up with water then simmer for as long as possible – 12-24 hours) and freeze it if you don’t need to use it immediately. That way, you’ve always got some nutrient-rich broth ready to turn into soup when you need it.
Honey is pretty antibacterial, and especially helpful to relieve a cough.
Elderberries have antiviral properties and are well worth searching out (they’re often found as a syrup)
Beyond food, remember how crucial sleep is. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your immune system won’t be working at its full capacity, and so is less effective at fighting off bugs. Prioritise sleep and you’ll likely speed your recovery.
Its also worth postponing hard workouts in favour of a gentle walk, swim, cycle or yoga session. Remember now is the time to restore your body and not the time to add stress – its best to get to 100% sooner than to push ahead regardless and feel sub-optimal for weeks.