Woman cutting garlic in kitchen

Although things are now starting to slowly return to normality after the unprecedented times of Covid-19, many experts are predicting a second wave of the virus.

While social distancing, hand washing, and following other recommendations is key to preventing the spread of Coronavirus, strengthening your immune system is another great way to protect yourself.

There may be many pills and promising products out there designed to do this, but they are often accompanied with an extortionate price tag. Fortunately, this doesn’t need to be – there are several immune system boosters that you can make yourself at home, and these can sometimes be even more powerful than anything you could buy.

Elderberry Syrup

Jar of elderberry syrup

Elderberry is one of the oldest medicinal plants in the world, having been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of different ailments. The antioxidants and vitamins within the berries have been proven to be effective at:

Not only is elderberry syrup easy to make, but it tastes amazing too!

How to Make Elderberry Syrup

There are numerous elderberry syrups out there, but the basics of each one consist of combining elderberries and water in a pan and bringing this to the boil. Then, simmer until the mixture reduces by about a half.

What sets each recipe apart is that they incorporate the use of other ingredients too, each one also a fantastic immune booster. Some of the ingredients you could try mixing in with the elderberries and water include a combination of the following:

  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves

Can’t find any elderberries?

Although elderberries aren’t commonly available in many grocery stores, elderberry season is soon coming up, meaning that it’s time to practice those foraging skills! The best time to pick these dark-colored berries is in August and September, and, once you know what to look for, you will likely see them everywhere you go.

One tip to note – don’t be tempted to eat the raw berries, as they can be poisonous. Cooking them removes those toxins.

Garlic Soup

Bowl of garlic soup

If you’ve never tried it before, garlic soup may sound like too much garlic, but its flavor is actually pretty mild, lending itself perfectly to soup. It’s also a good way for those who don’t enjoy eating raw garlic to make the most of this ingredient’s benefits.

There is so much research out there backing up the immune-boosting properties of garlic. It contains a number of biologically active compounds that give it antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal effects.

In fact, studies have shown that those who take garlic supplements are much less likely to catch a  cold than those who do. On the rare occasion that they did catch a cold, they were able to recover so much faster.

While garlic supplements are great, there’s nothing quite like the benefits of the ingredient in its whole and fresh form, which is where garlic soup comes in.

How to Make Garlic Soup

Here’s an easy recipe for garlic soup:

  • Roast 5-6 whole heads of garlic, unpeeled but halved, for an hour
  • Melt 4 tbl butter in a large pot and add 2 large, sliced onions, sautéing until onions have softened
  • Season with salt and pepper, and add in some herbs of your choice. Oregano, parsley, and thyme work especially well
  • Once the garlic has slightly cooled, peel and add to the pot, simmering for 15 minutes
  • Reduce the heat and add in 2 cups of milk. Both dairy and plant-based milks work well
  • Blend until smooth and then serve

Green Juices

Green juice

While the green juice fad seems to be dying down, nothing changes the fact that green juices are packed with dense amounts of nutrients, making them great for boosting the immune system.

There are recipes out there incorporating such a wide range of ingredients, making it convenient to whip one up with whatever you may have in your kitchen. This also means that you enjoy varying benefits with each juice, since different ingredients will have their own unique properties.

How to Make a Green Juice

Green juices couldn’t be easier to make – simply add the ingredients into a juicer, whizz them up, and enjoy!

Now, you might be thinking…

Every time I’ve tried that, my juice just tastes like weeds!

The key is getting the ingredient balance right. You need a sweet element in there, along with something to give it a kick.

Green apple always works well for the sweet element, as does pineapple. You could add in any fruit that you wanted, as the other ingredients in your juice will likely still add enough “green”.

To add in a spicy kick, try some ginger, or squeeze in some fresh lemon for a fresh twang.

Wondering which greens to use?

Try some of the following:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Romaine
  • Parsley
  • Cucumber
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli

Golden Milk

Glass of golden milk

If you’ve been looking into ways in which you can strengthen your immune system, then turmeric is an ingredient that you have probably already come across multiple times.

This superstar herb not only acts as an immune booster, but its high curcumin content enables it to:

  • Fight inflammation
  • Reduce the risk of cancer
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Improve symptoms of arthritis and depression
  • Prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Turmeric is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but, unless you’re cooking it into your meals on a daily basis, you should be looking into other ways to increase your consumption of it.

This is where golden milk comes in…

How to Make Golden Milk

Golden milk couldn’t be easier to make – it literally only requires a handful of ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (both dairy and plant-based work well, with coconut milk being the best vegan option)
  • 4 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons water

Simply mix the ingredients together over a medium until they heat up. Don’t let them boil – this will reduce the turmeric’s curcumin content.

Wondering if you can skip out the black pepper?

You could, but it actually plays an important role in this recipe by increasing the bioavailability of the turmeric’s active compounds, meaning that your body gets more benefits from the milk.

Wondering how to sweeten your golden milk?

Try adding in some raw honey, maple syrup, or stevia.

If you want a more complex flavor to your milk, you could also try adding in some ground nutmeg or clove.

Ginger Shots

Shot glass with ginger shot

Ginger is another humble kitchen ingredient that provides some extraordinary immune-boosting properties. In addition to this, ginger helps to detox the body, cleansing it of impurities while replacing those with its multiple antioxidants. Its anti-inflammatory effects help with a range of issues too.

If you love the taste of ginger, then ginger shots are something you will soon end up drinking each day. For those who find ginger too pungent, the shots can be chased down with some water or juice.

How to Make Ginger Shots

Making ginger shots is easy. All you need to do is peel and chop some fresh ginger, until you have about a quarter of a cup full. Put this into your blender, and then squeeze in about half a cup of fresh lemon juice.

Blend the mixture until it turns cloudy, and then sieve it to separate the juice from the pulp.

How many ginger shots should you drink each day?

For maximum immune-boosting benefits, try to drink 1-2 ounces worth of your ginger shot each day. Ideally, do this in the morning, before you have had anything else to eat or drink, and consume the whole amount at once, just like you would with any other shot!

Wondering if there’s anything you can use the leftover pulp for?

If you keep it in the fridge, it will last for about 24 hours. You can try adding it to smoothies and cakes for a zingy touch.

Roasted Almonds

Bowl of roasted almonds

If you’re looking for a fuss-free way to strengthen your immune system, all you need to do is snack on some almonds.

Think that sounds too good to be true?

Studies have found that certain compounds within the skin of almonds are able to fight off viral infections by boosting the way in which the immune system responds to these. Almonds are also a fantastic source of vitamin E, iron, and protein, all of which promote immune system function.

How to Make Roasted Almonds

While raw almonds are always best when it comes to making the most of the nut’s health benefits, many find them more palatable when roasted. This also means that you will be able to add in extra flavors, whether this may be a sprinkling of salt, some paprika, or other herbs.

Simply spread your almonds out on a baking tray in a single layer, and then add in your seasonings of choice. Then, roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they have turned golden brown, which usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

Wondering how to get your almonds to be even crunchier?

Try soaking them in salted water before roasting them, for between four and twelve hours. During this time, they will swell up, and, once roasted, they will be much crunchier.

Carrot Juice

Glass of carrot juice

Carrots are packed with carotenes, and these are vital when it comes to nourishing the thymus gland.

What does the thymus gland do?

It is responsible for the majority of immune system functions, meaning that supporting the thymus gland will therefore strengthen your immune system.

The vitamin C and antioxidants within carrots also provide an extra boost, keeping your health in great shape.

How to Make Carrot Juice

While carrots can be juiced on their own, the end result will be so much more appetizing if you add in a sweeter fruit too. Oranges work especially well, and you could also add in a touch of ginger for a kick.

Simply add your ingredients to a juicer or a blender, along with some water, and blitz until your juice is ready.

Planning on storing your carrot juice in the fridge?

Don’t, because this will cause the juice to oxidize, which will degrade all of those precious nutrients. Instead, freeze or refrigerate the ingredients you plan on using before juicing them, and you will soon be enjoying a refreshingly chilled beverage.

Cinnamon and Honey Water

Glass of cinnamon and honey water with lemon

Both cinnamon and honey are fantastic for the immune system. Cinnamon contains all of the antioxidants your immune system needs in order to thrive, while also providing anti-inflammatory effects and regulating your body’s blood sugar levels.

Honey is also packed with antioxidants, and boasts antibacterial properties too that not only help with immunity, but also digestion.

Combining the two will give you a powerful immune booster that also tastes delicious.

How to Make Cinnamon and Honey Water

To begin with, you will need some cinnamon-infused water. This may sound complicated, but all it involves is steeping a few cinnamon sticks in lukewarm water, until the water has taken on the flavor (and active compounds) of the cinnamon.

Then, add in a teaspoon of raw honey and mix well before drinking.

While cinnamon and honey water can be enjoyed at any time of the day, drinking this first thing in the morning will also promote your body’s natural detoxification process.

Wondering if there are any other ingredients you could add in?

If you would like the cinnamon taste to be stronger, feel free to mix in some cinnamon powder too.

Raw apple cider vinegar is also a great addition – it contains a variety of good bacteria strains that will help to keep your gut healthy. Since a large portion of your immune system is located in your gut, maintaining gut health is crucial for immunity.

For most people, life has been pretty strange lately, with everyone focused on keeping themselves as healthy as possible. Whipping up a few DIY immune boosters at home is a great way to do this, and the fact that many of them taste incredible too is an added benefit!