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How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally – 7 Steps

Learn how to boost your immune system naturally with these seven simple steps. Having a healthy immune system is the first line of defense against fighting off infection and other illnesses.

A jar of elderberry syrup with fresh picked elderberries around it.

Many of us know what to do once we start to feel sick, things like taking Elderberry Syrup or Elderberry gummies, drinking a throat soothing tea or medicinal hop tea, having cough and congestion remedies on hand like homemade mustard plaster, growing and using medicinal herbs from our cottage garden, and drinking homemade bone broth.

But what can we do to BUILD our immune systems?

7 Steps to a Healthy Immune System

These seven steps can help boost and build your immune system to strengthen it up before the coming illnesses of the fall and wintertime.

  1. Eat Lacto-Fermented Foods
  2. Drink Bone Broth
  3. Use Immune Boosting Herbal Remedies
  4. Avoid Unhealthy Drinks
  5. Eat Bright Colorful Foods
  6. Lessen Stress
  7. Get Your Circulation Moving

You can watch the video in full below, to leave a comment or ask a question on this video, head on over to the video on YouTube.

These seven things mentioned above are what you should be following right now to build up a strong immune system through Spring and Summer, so that come Fall, you’re immune system is good and strong to handle any viruses that come your way. (Source)

These are the exact methods that I use in our home for my own family to make sure we have a really resillient immune system.

As always, we also follow good hygiene practices such as washing our hands, getting regular exercise, and making sure we’re doing everything else to prevent disease or the common cold.

It’s important to note that I am not a certified medical practitioner. This post is not intended to diagnose or treat but is for informational purposes only. Please contact your healthcare professional before introducing new herbal and natural remedies into your wellness routine.

A white plate with a pile of sauerkraut with peppers and carrots mixed into it.

1. Eat Lacto-Fermented Foods

Start eating lacto-fermented veggies every single day. It’s absolutely ideal if you can get up to three servings of fermented veggies (or other fermented raw foods such as preserved lemons, fermented garlic, curtido, lacto-fermented mayo, or this delicious dream cheese) each day.

The reason fermented foods are important to our immune system is that they really workout your gut health.

If you remember, the vast majority of our immune system is in our gut. So it’s super important to get your digestion working really well. Fermented foods also add good gut bacteria to your gut. (Source)

If this was the only thing you add in on a daily basis to help support your immune system, you’d see a lot of benefits.

Fermented foods have enzymes. That means your body will work more efficiently without depleting your own enzymes. You may even find you’re more energetic after eating because you’re not using your own stores.

Fermented foods also contain vitamins. Surprisingly, fermented veggies can actually have a higher vitamin and nutrient content than their raw state because of how lacto-fermentation changes the makeup of the veggie. (Source)

A pot filled with bone broth and carrots and a hand stirring a wooden spoon.

2. Consume Bone Broth Daily

Getting our digestive system in order is one of the top things we can do to increase our immune system. When we don’t digest our food well, it’s a sign that your body is struggling with its everyday normal functions of digesting.

When you’re struggling with digestion, you can’t put your resources into fighting off foreign invaders in your body. Bone broth is rich in amino acids and has anti-inflammatory properties that aid the gastrointestinal tract. This is why consuming bone broth is so good for you. (Source)

Ideally, you should drink 1-2 cups per day. Not everyone loves drinking bone broth straight out of a cup, but you can also consume it in soups, sauces, and gravy.

I think it’s delicious in a cup, just like you would drink tea, sprinkled with a little grated nutmeg right on top.

Not only will your immune system benefit by drinking bone broth, but your skin, hair, and nails will benefit as well. This will bring in many minerals into your body which helps your immune system function normally.

One tip that I like to do is make a big crockpot full of bone broth once a week and just keep it on low all week long. Anytime the broth runs low I just add more water to it.

Once a week I’ll empty it out, and start over by replenishing the bones and veggie scraps and starting again with a fresh batch.

Lemon balm plants

3. Immune Boosting Herbal Remedies

If you’ve been around here long, you know how passionate I am about herbal remedies (for our farm animals too). If you haven’t taken my free four-video series on how to use herbs and learned how to use herb medicine safely at home you really should!

Adding specific herbal remedies into your everyday program will help improve your DEEP immune system. What I mean by “deep” is your whole-body response to an immune issue.

These herbal remedies don’t use the type of herbs you’d grab when you know something is going around and you feel a sickness coming on. But rather herbs that have an immuno-modulating effect (that means immune BUILDING effect).

Your deep immune system is what protects you from getting sick in the first place. We all know those people who seem to miss out on every cold or flu that goes around, they likely have a strong deep immune system.

Check out our favorite resource, Farmhouse Teas, for sourcing all the herbs we can’t grow ourselves.

Wooden box with fresh horseradish root inside.

Astragalus Root

The first herb to help build a strong immune system is astragalus. This is a root that modulates (or moderates) the immune system. (Source)

This herb keeps the immune system in balance and working when it starts to get a little bit weak. It won’t cause a quick immune system response (like echinacea), but instead, it will slowly build up your body’s resources under you so you can buffet back anything that comes at you.

Astragalus is a very mild herb (root) and I actually like to add it to my bone broth. By doing this I’m ticking off two out of the seven simple steps on my list at the same time!

You can also use powdered astragalus root in foods like green smoothies or soups without changing the flavor much at all.

For it to be highly effective you want to get 1-2 Tablespoons into your body every single day.

Brown mushrooms on a cutting board being sliced with sliced mushrooms cooking in a cast iron pan in the background.

Mushrooms

Another immune building food is mushrooms! Any mushroom (that’s safe to consume) will have some medicinal, immune-boosting properties that will help stimulate your immune system. (Source)

Yes, even those white button mushrooms from the grocery store will work for this purpose! Add them, along with astragalus root, into your soups and stews and you’ll be doing your whole body a favor.

Elderberries on a tree branch.

Elderberry

We’re all familiar with the benefits of elderberries. In fact, our family loves taking elderberry syrup throughout the cold and flu season. (Click here for our Elderberry Syrup recipe).

Elderberries can act in two different ways. First, it can work as an emergency response to fight against illness at the first signs. (Source)

And second, it also acts as an immune modulator, which means it will stimulate your immune system to help strengthen it. This is why we like to take it daily to help build up our immune systems. (Source)

Thankfully, elderberry is delicious and easy to take as a syrup, a tincture, or even as a tea.

A large glass jar filled with Kombucha and a SCOBY.

4. Swap Unhealthy Drinks for Healthy Options

Switch away from unhealthy summer drinks and swap them with healthy summer drinks instead.

Yes, I’m talking about sugar-laden sodas, juices, and even sweetened iced teas. These will drag down your health and weaken your immune system.

Try drinking a healthy, probiotic drink like Kombucha, Cherry Almond Kombucha, or Switchel instead. Switchel is made from honey and vinegar and can be flavored with all different fruits. It will act as a tonic to your body to get your immune functions and digestive system running properly.

Another delicious drink is a fruit shrub. This is similar to a switchel as it’s preserved fruit in vinegar.

Herbal iced teas are also wonderful. They can be sweetened naturally with stevia or crushed fruit. Our family loves growing peppermint, chamomile, and holy basil (tulsi); these are all wonderful when made into a tea that will boost your immune system.

Young boy holding a basket filled with fresh produce.

5. Eat Bright Colored and Flavorful Foods

During the spring and summer there are so many brightly colored fruits and veggies in season and at the peak of their nutrition.

Focus on filling your diet with the bright colors and bright flavors of summer. I’m talking about basil, berries, cherries, peppers, fresh fruits and garden veggies… all these things should be eaten regularly when in season and vine-ripened.

It’s important to be buying fruit and vegetables from local producers and farmers’ markets. Anything that’s shipped in has been picked well before it’s prime and is missing out on different vitamins and phytonutrients.

The perfect example of tasting the difference in nutrient density is with a store-bought tomato versus a home-grown tomato. If you do a side by side taste test, there is just no comparison. The nutrients are in the flavor!

A river between mountains of trees.

6. Stop Stressing!!

Right now, whether you realize it or not, there is a lot of underlying stress in your life simply due to world events.

This doesn’t even take into account if you’re feeling stressed because of job-loss, or having your kids home all day and homeschooling them.

One of the biggest killers of your immune system is stress. Do things throughout your day that will help bust this stress.

This can be activities like going for a walk, spending time in nature, listening to the gentle sound of a river, or enjoying one of the healthy drinks mentioned above. These are some ways that the homesteading lifestyle can improve your health.

Studies show that exposure to plants and green space, especially when gardening, is beneficial to mental and physical health. (Source) And did you know that bee-keeping has a therapeutic calming aspect that helps with stress?

One of my favorite de-stressors is to pick some of my lemon balm herb from the garden, crush a few leaves in my hands and inhale the aroma. It’s so calming.

Practice deep breathing daily, especially if you can sit outside in nature, it will really help your body’s ability to respond well to stress.

Man and woman walking arm in arm by a river.

7. Get Your Circulation Moving

We all know exercise boosts feel-good endorphins. But you don’t have to join a kickboxing club or go for a strenuous run to benefit from these feel-good hormones.

Going on a simple walk (especially with a spouse or friend) is also great for getting our circulatory system moving. If you’re already in a stressed state, a calm walk is actually the best form of activity.

You can also get your circulation moving by eating spicy food, sitting in a sauna, or doing hot/cold therapy.

If you have a shower or a bathtub you could do some hydro-therapy by spending a minute and a half in warm water, then dropping the temperature down to as cold as you can stand it for a minute and a half.

Just one 3-minute round of this will really kick up your circulation, but if you can do a few rounds (a minute and a half at each temperature) it’s even better.

What Do You Do To Boost Your Immune System?

These seven things are what our family does to boost our immune system, but we love hearing from you! What do you do to give your immune system a natural boost?

Head on over to the video on YouTube (link above in the post) and let us know!

A man and wife smiling.

Welcome to Homesteading Family!

Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

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