Diet and health are intrinsically linked. The vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and more that we consume provide our bodies the nourishment it needs to function properly and keep us healthy. Hydration, of course, is vital as well. Water is the best option, but it’s nice to have some variety with other health-conscious beverages as well. With cold and flu season on our doorstep, I decided to put together a list of 9 immune system supporting drinks for when you want more than just water.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes of apples. As a vinegar, it has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. ACV also stimulates the lymphatic system which removes toxins from the body and improves immune system response.
If you want to take ACV on a regular basis for maintenance, drink 2 teaspoons of ACV in one cup of water a couple times a day. If you feel a cold coming on and you want to kick it up a notch, try up to 1/3 cup ACV in one cup water and add a couple teaspoons of honey.
2. Low-Sugar Smoothie
Depending on your ingredients, smoothies are typically packed with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. All of these will support your immune system and keep you in good health.
Choosing low-sugar fruits is ideal because a glucose spike supresses immunity. Omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seeds and chia seeds nourish immune cells, so consider including those as well.
Kombucha is a probiotic drink, and probiotics have been found to support gut health and in turn, support immune function. It is also high in antioxidants from the tea with which it was made. It contains vitamin C as well which is necessary for the immune system to function (more on that later).
Kombucha is becoming more widespread in stores or you can learn to make your own at home.
4. Warm Honey Water
Honey is full of interesting health benefits. A study recently found that there are probiotics present in raw honey which stimulate the immune system in humans. Honey also contains immunity-stimulating phytochemicals. Another study showed that honey raises levels of disease-fighting antioxdants in the blood.
Mix one tablespoon of honey (raw is best) into one cup of warm (not hot) water.
5. Green Tea and Matcha
Green tea is known for its huge antioxidant content. As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, antioxidants strengthen the immune system and allow it to function properly. Matcha is a powered form of green tea. Nutritionally, 1 cup of matcha is the equivalent of 10 cups of green tea.
6. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
When you think of vitamin C, what source do you think of? I’m betting it’s oranges. Just one cup of raw orange juice contains 207% of your daily value for vitamin C, and much more than storebought. Vitamin C is important to your immune system because it increases your production of white blood cells and antibodies which are what fight off illness. Granted, you do pee off excess vitamin C, but at least you know you will be getting all your body needs.
7. Black Tea
In a study by Harvard, partipants who drank 5 cups of black tea a day for 2 weeks had 10 times the virus-fighting cells in their blood than those who drank a placebo hot drink. This is thanks to the amino acid L-theanine. Oh, and decaf has it too.
8. Lemon Juice in Water
Lemons are another fruit high in vitamin C, so you can gain those benefits listed above this way as well. Lemon juice also helps flush toxins out of your body by aiding in digestion, acting as a gentle diuretic, and supporting the lymphatic system.
Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into one cup warm water. It’s a great way to start your day before breakfast.
9. Chai Tea
When you drink chai tea, you get all of the above benefits of black tea with the addition of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper, clove, and fennel. These herbs and spices contain compounds that enhance immune cells and fight off bacteria and viruses.
And if you want to multiply your efforts, here are a bunch of ideas for boosting your immune system with essential oils.
What are your favourite immune system supporting drinks?
PS – For my American friends, don’t forget about the printable Thanksgiving Cards for this week.