1. Fermented Foods
If you are serious about
boosting your immunity, then adding traditionally fermented
foods is essential.
One of the most healthful fermented foods is kefir.
Kefir is an
ancient cultured, enzyme-rich food full of friendly
microorganisms that balance your “inner ecosystem” and
Besides kefir, other good fermented foods
Friendly bacteria have a powerful, beneficial effect on your
gut’s immune system, your first line defense against pathogens,
and aid in the production of antibodies.
2. Raw Organic Eggs From Free-Range
Before you wrinkle up your
nose, raw eggs are an inexpensive and amazing source of
high-quality nutrients that many people are deficient in,
especially high-quality protein and fat. I am a proponent of raw
eggs because they have been so helpful to my own health.
As long as you have a good source for fresh, organic raw eggs,
you need not worry about salmonella. To find free-range pasture
farms, try your local health food store, or go to
3. Coconuts and Coconut Oil
Besides being excellent for
your thyroid and your metabolism, coconut oil is rich in lauric
acid, which converts in your body to monolaurin. Monolaurin is
the actual compound found in breast milk that strengthens a
A great deal of research has been done establishing the ability
of lauric acid to enhance immunity. This medium-chain fatty acid
(MCFA) actually disrupts the lipid membranes of offending
When selecting coconuts and coconut oil, make sure you choose
organic ones that are unrefined, unbleached, made without heat
processing or chemicals, and
4. Locally Grown Organic Vegetables
When it comes to fighting off
pathogens, you simply can’t do any better than eating a variety
of fresh, organic and preferably raw vegetables for the
vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes they contain.
However, the amount and type of vegetables you should eat daily
will depend on your nutritional type.
Make sure the veggies you choose are fresh. The nutrient value
drops to practically zero once a fruit or vegetable is canned.
For example, take a look at the ORAC value of peaches.
ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, and an ORAC unit or ORAC “score” is a standardized method of
measuring the antioxidant capacity of different foods and
supplements. The higher the ORAC score, the more effective a
food is at neutralizing free radicals. The less free
radicals you have, the healthier you will be.
Back to Peaches
A raw, fresh peach has an ORAC score of 1,814. A can of
peaches in heavy syrup has an ORAC score of 436, meaning
that more than 75 percent of the antioxidants are lost in
the canning process.
You can check the ORAC score for many different things at
www.oracvalues.com. The higher the score, the better. Please
be aware, though, that the total antioxidant capacity of a
food alone does not determine its health benefit, which
depends on how it is absorbed and utilized by your body.
ORAC score is a useful guide, but it is only part of the
5. Blueberries and Raspberries
Blueberries and raspberries
rate very high in antioxidant capacity (ORAC of 6,520), compared
to other fruits and vegetables.
Wild blueberries in particular
are potent immune boosters. They contain powerful phytochemicals,
such as anthocyanin, which is the pigment that gives blueberries
their color. And they are lower in sugar than many other fruits.
Blueberry juice contains tons of fiber, and is also very high in
Vitamin C. One of the qualities of antioxidants is that they can
lower inflammation, and so there's some indication that
blueberries may have some effect on age-related cognitive
abilities. And don't forget that blueberries are very low in
Mushrooms strengthen your
immune system because they are rich in protein, fiber, vitamin
C, B vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and even vitamin D - one of the only foods that can provide you with this essential
Mushrooms make up a large part of the fabric of the earth.
According to Paul Stamets, one of the world’s leading
authorities on the health benefits of mushrooms, one cubic inch
of soil can contain eight miles of
Mushrooms also contain powerful compounds called
which have been long known for their immune enhancing
properties. The beta glucans in medicinal mushrooms (especially
Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake) are notable for their ability to
activate/modulate the immune system.
Beta glucan enhances immunity through a variety of mechanisms,
many of which are similar to those of echinacea or astragalus
root. For example, it binds to macrophages and other scavenger
white blood cells, activating their anti-infection
activities. Numerous studies support this.
As foods go, chlorella is
Chlorella is a single-cell freshwater algae that acts as an
efficient detoxification agent by binding to toxins, such as
mercury, and carries them out of your system. It is the
chlorophyll in chlorella that makes it so powerful.
helps you process more oxygen, cleanses your blood and promotes
the growth and repair of your tissues.
Propolis is a bee resin and
one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the
world, if not the broadest spectrum, according to master
herbalist Donnie Yance.
Propolis is also the richest source of
caffeic acid and apigenin, two very important phenolic compounds
that aid in immune response.
Green Tea and Matcha
Matcha is the most nutrient-rich green tea and comes in the
form of a stone-ground powder, completely unfermented. The
Matcha comes from Japan and has up to seventeen times
the antioxidants of wild blueberries, and seven times more
than dark chocolate.
Green teas are rich in polyphenols, in the form of natural
chemicals called catechins. The most powerful catechin in
tea is epigallocatechin (EGCG), which was found in one study
to be 25 to 100 times more potent than antioxidant vitamins
C and E.
And Matcha is more than 100
times as potent in EGCG as regular brewed green tea.
Tulsi tea, coming from the holy basil herb, has been used
for thousands of years in the Ayurvedic medicine of India.
Not only is this tea loaded with antioxidants, but it has
multiple positive health benefits, including supporting your
immune health, memory, heart health and vision.
The anti-bacterial and anti-viral effect of
has been found to be even greater than that of green tea.
White tea extract may help inactivate bacteria, viruses and
fungi that affect humans.
10. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are at the
top of the list of high ORAC value foods on planet Earth. There
are simply too many good ones to summarize here!
So I will
simply highlight a few that deserve special mention.
Although not at the top of the ORAC chart (5,346), garlic is
incredibly beneficial to your immune system because it
offers a triple-whammy: it’s antibacterial, antiviral and
anti-fungal. You should be eating garlic every day. One of
the best things about garlic is that bacteria, viruses, and
yeast build up no resistance to it, unlike with synthetic
For optimal benefits, garlic should be fresh since the
active ingredient is destroyed within one hour of smashing
the garlic cloves. In other words, garlic capsules are
Garlic contains allicin, a chemical that is anticarcinogenic.
It also has been shown to lower LDL, lower total
cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of blood
clots and stroke, lower homocysteine, and even prevent
insect bites - including mosquitoes and ticks.
Herbs and Spice and
Immunity from common infections involves not only preventing
pathogens from taking hold, but also moderating the immune
response to invading pathogens.
Complications arise when you experience an over-response to
the infection, which is why H1N1 is taking its toll on
healthy young adults. Their bodies are over responding - something called a “cytokine storm.” It’s basically a severe
One wonderful thing about plants (and herbs especially) is
that they don’t all stimulate the immune system - some
modulate it, or act as a buffer.
Here are some of the best herbs and spices for building a
strong immune system that functions correctly:
chrysanthemum - good antivirals
Artemisia - antimalarial
Andrographis, aka “King of
Bitters” - antiviral, and helps modulate inflammatory
Licorice - buffers the
inflammatory response by increasing steroid output by
the adrenal glands; a good buffer if your immune system
is over responding to the flu.
Turmeric - ORAC score of
159,277; general immune system booster due to its high
antioxidant capacity, and an anticancer agent as well;
turmeric is 5 to 8 times stronger than vitamins C and E,
and even strong enough to scavenge the hydroxyl radical,
which is considered by some to be the most reactive of
Black Pepper - Increases the
bioavailability of just about all other foods - herbs
and other things
Oregano - ORAC 13,970; active
agent is rosmarinic acid, a strong antioxidant; one
tablespoon of oregano has the antioxidant capacity of
one medium apple
Cinnamon - ORAC 267,536;
powerful antimicrobial agent - found to kill E. coli and
many other bacteria; also has anti-inflammatory
Cloves - THE BIG ORAC GRAND
PRIZE WINNER AT 314,446, highest of all foods tested!
Contains eugenol; its mild anaesthetic benefits are
useful for toothaches and sore throats; good
Dr. Joseph Mercola cited an
interview with herbalist Donnie Yance, who shared his basic
remedy for flu, should you come down with one.
Make this special tea from a combination of herbs that
synergistically cause your body to sweat - which is very
desirable if you want to eradicate a virus from your system.
then drink it hot and often:
Elderflower (used for
hundreds of years for flu)
By incorporating some of these
fantastic foods, you’ll not only evade the circulating viruses
but improve your overall health and longevity at the same time.