9 Natural Infection Fighters That Knock Out Sickness
The growing numbers of people becoming dissatisfied with pharmaceutical drug treatments has generated an ever-increasing desire for more benign alternatives and remedies to fight infection naturally and stay healthy in general.
What many don’t realize, aside from the fact that the human immune system is nearly impenetrable when functioning optimally, is that nature provides an impressive array of foods, herbs, and spices which possess antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
The following are my top natural infection fighters (in no particular order) which have been shown to be powerful allies in fighting human sickness and disease.
*Because of political and legal influences around the world, it’s important to be fully informed before substituting pharmaceutical drugs and therapies with natural methods. All health decisions should be made in conjunction with, and under the guidance of, a licensed health professional.
Top Natural Infection Fighters
Regardless of what foods or other natural compounds have been shown to fight infection, the best infection fighter is your own immune system. Healthy people don’t get sick, so if you’re constantly fighting infections, something is wrong.
Note: These natural antibiotics should not be used as a treatment for infection, but rather as a means of strengthening immune function before infection occurs.
1. Manuka Honey
When I first began researching honey as a natural sweetener, I was shocked at the impressive quantities of antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals it contained. I’m not talking about honey in the cute little plastic bears at the supermarket, however. That’s just refined junk and is no better than sugar. Raw, unprocessed honey, on the other hand, is packed with health-promoting nutrients, has been shown to heal ulcers, and has an antimicrobial effect against bacteria and fungi.
Honey does contain a good amount of fructose, and it can also spike insulin levels, so I wouldn’t eat more than a teaspoon per day.
Raw Manuka honey is your best option for use as a natural infection fighter.
I am consistently impressed with the ever-growing pile of research revealing the benefits of turmeric. There seems to be no end to its health value.
Aside from a powerful ability to boost immune function, turmeric has been shown in scientific studies to reduce inflammation more effectively than NSAIDS, halt the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, help control blood sugar and insulin balance, as well as protect against Alzheimer’s disease, arterial plaques, and some forms of cancer.
The effects of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is currently the subject of ongoing cancer research.
Garlic is another totally amazing herb/vegetable (it really isn’t definitively classified). It contains dozens of useful compounds that improve human health, from potent antioxidants that destroy free radicals to antimicrobial properties which kill bacteria that have even become resistant to pharmaceutical antibiotics.
In scientific studies, garlic had a positive outcome against 153 human illnesses. It protects against cancer, optimizes intestinal flora, kills pathogenic organisms, and protects heart function.
Garlic needs to be eaten fresh for full potency, but it’s definitely something you should eat every day.
Oregano contains oils which have remarkable bacteria-fighting power. This member of the mint family boasts 4 times the antioxidant power of blueberries and 40 times that of an apple. It’s also high in iron and a good source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids.
As a natural infection fighter, oregano works best when fresh rather than dried.
5. Vitamin D
This is something every person should supplement with every day, regardless of your diet or where you live.
Vitamin D directly influences about 10% of our genes, is intricately involved in driving immune effectiveness, and controls inflammation. There is no way to cover the full spectrum of Vitamin D’s importance to the body here, but read this article for the science behind Vitamin D and immune function. It was written with the flu virus in mind, but you’ll get an idea of all that Vitamin D does for immune health.
I was asked by a patient today, “What do you think is the most important supplement for everyone to take?”
My answer – Vitamin D.
80% of our immune system lives in our intestines as health-promoting bacteria. Those bacteria are destroyed when we take antibiotics, drink alcohol, eat refined sugar, and consume processed grains and other processed foods. To make matters worse, modern-day food sources (aside from some very specific forms of dairy), lack the strains of probiotics we need. I typically steer people away from dairy anyway as it is known to trigger an inflammatory response in most humans.
We’re generally born with a probiotic deficiency and it just gets worse from there. This is another nutrient with which I supplement on a daily basis.
Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron, so they go around trying to steal electrons from healthy cells, damaging them in the process. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of our cells doing work, but they increase in numbers dramatically from unhealthy lifestyle practices like ingesting food chemicals and pesticides, smoking, and many environmental stressors, .
Free radicals (the result of a process called oxidation) make us sick and age more quickly, so nature created magical little things called ANTI-OXIDANTS in fruits and vegetables which counteract and destroy them.
Antioxidants slow the aging process and help prevent cancer, among a host of other things.
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are wonderful sources of antioxidants. Blueberries are among the best antioxidant providers, but pretty much all berries (especially the dark-colored varieties like blackberries and raspberries) carry impressive amounts. Other foods high up on the list are cherries, cranberries, mango, watermelon, carrots, all dark-green vegetables, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, grapes, figs, bell peppers, and almonds.
Ginger is well-known for its ability to counteract nausea, but this recent study showed ginger to be effective against respiratory infections, and this study showed the antioxidant effect of ginger to benefit subjects with prostate cancer.
9. Coconut Oil
There are hundreds of uses for coconut oil, from cooking to skin care to a powerful natural infection fighter. This article lists 101 applications for coconut oil, and there are probably many more.
Coconut oil contains “lauric acid,” a medium-chain fatty acid which is transformed into an antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agent when ingested.
The best coconut oil is cold pressed, virgin, and organic. I sometimes eat it by the spoonful or use it as a spread.
Just to be clear, these natural infection fighters are best utilized BEFORE you get sick. They will prove to be powerful immune boosters if you use them regularly.