How to improve immunity

A more virulent strain of the influenza virus isn't a new phenomena, and the latest Coronavirus won't be the last. Our best protection is to not come in contact with it in the first place with social isolation and good hygiene, but our best defense against the virus is a strong immune system.

Here is a summary of things I've come across when looking to strengthen my own immune system, and how to best support it when sick with a cold or flu.

Foods for cold and flu


  • Protein - contains essential amino acids, along with zinc and iron
  • Vegetables - various compounds improve immunity, eat a colourful and seasonal array
  • Fruit, especially lemons, limes and berries - just don't overdo it with the sugary fruits
  • Nuts and Seeds, especially cacao
  • Good fats and oils - avoid vegetable oils
  • Chicken soup / bone broth or gelatin
  • Ferments - yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, kefir, kombucha, apple cider vinegar
  • Vitamins - zinc, vitamin c and vitamin d are especially important for immunity
  • Honey
  • Herbs & spices - garlic, ginger, ginseng, chilli, onion, echinacea, astragalus and medicinal mushrooms (shiitake, reishi, and maitake), turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, cummin
  • Tea - green and black, chai including the above spices
  • Avoid refined sugar - it depresses the immune system
  • Avoid refined grains - they cause inflammation, decrease gut health and contain very little nutritional value
  • Limit dairy, except for yogurt if you tollerate dairy
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs including pseudoephedrine which is an amphetamine. They make you feel better temporarily, but at the expense of your immune function


Get the 7 or 8 hours sleep a night that you need to function. Period. If you're sick, sleep and rest as much as possible and you will recover much faster.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress dramatically weakens our immune system. Schedule downtime, meditate, play. Seek help and support if you're struggling.


Low to moderate amounts of exercise greatly increase immunity via strengthening of the physical body and it's systems and managing stress. Over-exercising will weaken the immune system.


A super-tool for immunity and general health - see my previous blog post about fasting. If you do get sick with a cold or flu, don't fast unless you're really not hungry (listen to your body).

Cold / Heat exposure

A cold shower will shock the body into action, ramping up immunity, but prolonged exposure to cold will be overly stressful on the body. A sauna will also spur the body into action and sweating helps detoxify the body. A sauna or hot bath is great when sick as it helps the body relax and stay warm.

Alternative Therapies

Other things like Reiki energy healing, massage, aromatherapy & naturopathy help improve immunity and reduce stress.

If you’re looking for further help, drop me a line.


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