What’s the easiest way to increase your health on every level? The one thing that can make a huge difference yet is still ignored by most people every day: Hydration — drinking enough of the right fluids to keep your immune system, circulation, digestion, metabolism and brain in top form.
By now we all know the importance of pure, filtered water. And even though experts may disagree on how much we actually need every day, most health proponents will agree that the majority of our health problems relate to dehydration. A chronically dry state leads to inflammation, impaired circulation, immune suppression, digestive troubles and brain fog. And did you know that cold weather can actually be more dehydrating than hot summer heat?
Proper hydration supports the immune system by boosting communication between immune cells while flushing out bacteria and viruses. Drinking filtered water is a great foundation for healthy immunity and you can significantly increase these benefits by adding in nutritious, immune-boosting ingredients such as herbs, mushrooms and certain food ingredients. These supercharged and soothing beverages hydrate and warm you while increasing your defenses against seasonal illnesses and even holiday stress.
Here are some excellent ways to drink to your health:
Chai tea is an excellent immune booster and overall health tonic. While recipes vary by region and tradition, chai generally contains a mix of some of the most treasured herbs in Asian and Ayurvedic medicine. These include cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper and fennel.
These spices work in a number of ways to fight germs, boost the immune system, soothe digestion, balance metabolism, and even fight aging and cognitive decline. Chai is very warming and soothing, and is usually combined with black or green tea, both of which are also shown to boost immune function.
Rooibos (African red tea) is a non-caffeinated herbal tea from South Africa that is gaining in popularity here in the West. That’s because rooibos is a potent source of antioxidants and rare health-promoting compounds. Studies shows that rooibos directly benefits the immune system, offers powerful antioxidant support and may help fight cancer.
Holy basil (tulsi) is another cherished Ayurvedic plant used in tea, meals and herbal formulas. Tulsi is considered one of the most sacred herbs in India, with annual festivals celebrating its remarkable healing properties. This herb offers powerful benefits for immunity, anti-viral support, stress relief and anti-cancer activity. It is available as a tea and in herbal supplements.
Matcha is a concentrated powdered green tea that has been used traditionally in Japanese tea ceremonies. While green tea is one of the most powerful protective herbs, matcha concentrates this power tenfold. Matcha does contain caffeine, but also theanine, which has a calming effect and provides balance for the caffeine.
Medicinal Mushroom Drink
With all their remarkable benefits, it’s no wonder that medicinal mushrooms have played a key role in herbal healing systems for thousands of years. Varieties such as coriolus, cordyceps, shiitake, maitake and others work to train immune cells to function optimally and tune the immune system up or down as needed. Drinking mushrooms as a hot tea is an excellent way to maximize their benefits, particularly during cold and flu season.
Adding mushrooms or mushroom formula powders to immune-boosting soups such as chicken soup or miso, further maximizes their benefits. In my clinic, I recommend a comprehensive formula containing six species of medicinal mushrooms that are grown on a blend of immune-enhancing herbs for greater support. This formula also contains extra beta glucans for optimal immunity and overall health.
Though most people don’t drink them hot, powdered green drinks are a great way to boost immunity year-round. Commercial green juices and juice powders provide a good dose of nutrient-dense greens. These greens include cereal grasses (wheat and barley grass), vegetables such as kale and broccoli, sprouts, and micro-algae such as spirulina and chlorella. There are numerous brands available. You should choose one with a diverse selection of organic ingredients and added probiotics.
You can also make your own green smoothie using fresh green vegetables instead of fruits. Choose your liquid base, such as coconut water, almond milk or even just filtered water, and add some green vegetables like parsley, kale, cucumber and avocado. Greens help to alkalize your system, which creates an inhospitable environment for germs and abnormal cells. Greens also provide antioxidants and an abundance of nutrients shown to nourish and boost immune cells, even on a genetic level. They also help detoxify the body.
The Age-Old Remedy
One of my top recommendations for immunity and overall health is also the simplest. Start your morning with a cup of hot water with fresh lemon and ginger. This is an excellent immune-boosting, hydrating and energizing morning beverage with antioxidants, vitamin C and other healthful compounds provided by the ginger and lemon. This drink warms your body, activates immunity and cleanses your entire system.
With cold and flu season fast approaching, now is the best time to warm and nourish your body with hydrating, health-promoting beverages. By obtaining powerful therapeutic ingredients in the form of nutritive drinks, you can support optimal absorption and give your digestive system a little break, an essential safeguard during the holiday smorgasbord.
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