by Kirsty Wills (BNatHerbMed) Colds, flu and upper respiratory tract infections are usually most prevalent from late autumn to early spring when winter immunity is low. Prevention is the best cure – so here’s a few tips to give your immune system a boost and keep the bugs at bay this winter.
Eat the rainbow
Eating plenty of fresh vegetables, leafy greens and fruit in a variety of colours provides you with a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants that are beneficial for your immune system – especially vitamin C.
Vitamin C is known as a potent antioxidant, but also has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral and antihistamine properties too – at high doses it can prevent viral disease and increase the rate of recovery from acute infections by enhancing the function of the immune system. Think you need a bigger boost? Liposomal vitamin C is recommended as highly effective at boosting the immune system with its superior absorption via liposomes. We stock BioBalance Liposomal Vitamin C which is a tasty liquid that offers you the option of being flexible with your dosage. Take this every 2-3 hours at the first signs of an early viral illness. LivOn Labs Lypospheric Vitamin C offers the convenience of 1000mg in a sachet, which is very travel-friendly.
Zinc is required for a healthy immune system, but it’s common for many people to be deficient in this essential mineral. Adequate levels of zinc intake have been associated with the significant reduction in the severity and duration of symptoms of the common cold and decreasing incidences of respiratory tract infections. Zinc can be found in seafood – with oysters being the highest food source – and smaller amounts in lean red meat, chicken, wholegrain cereals, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, and dairy. Contact us if you think you might benefit from extra zinc this cold and flu season.
Immune Defence Herbal Tonic
Our Immune Defence Herbal Tonic is made up of Echinacea, Elderberry, Elderflower and Olive leaf – herbs chosen for their traditional use of enhancing the immune system and relieving symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, colds and influenza. We use only practitioner-quality herbs, so you know you’re getting superior products and therapeutic doses.
Resting and getting a good night’s sleep does wonders and is essential for your overall health. Even partial sleep deprivation can negatively impact your immune system, so getting enough sleep every night is one of the best things you can do as a preventative to getting sick. If sleeping well is an issue for you, read our article on sleep here.
Boost Winter Immunity with Garlic Extract
Garlic is often referred to as nature’s antibiotic due to its wide range of antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal properties, making it an excellent ally to boost your immunity this winter. While you can add garlic into your everyday diet to enjoy its benefits, try one of these options at the first signs of a cold: Swallow a clove of garlic (whole or roughly chopped) every half hour until you either a) get a fever which signals your body fighting infection or b) your stomach says ENOUGH! Mix 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic, a thumb sized piece of ginger (grated or crushed), a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp of manuka honey and the juice of 1 lemon. Add boiling water, stir until the honey has dissolved and drink as hot as you can. Tuck yourself into bed and prepare to heat up! Make a syrup by adding 1 onion (sliced) and 4 gloves of garlic (thickly sliced or lightly crushed) to a small pot, adding enough manuka honey to cover. Heat the onions and garlic on a very low temperature for 30 mins until honey is warm and onions begin to soften. Pour into a jar, keep refrigerated once cooled (for up to 6 months), and this can be enjoyed by the tablespoon daily as often as required as a preventative, at the first signs of a cold, or to soothe symptoms such as coughs and sore throats. For the convenience of the active compound in a capsule, you can’t go past the fabulous AllicinMax – with certified pure allicin. Ask us about optimal doses.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – also known as the winter blues – is caused by a low levels of vitamin D at this time of the year due to not enough sunshine and daylight on the back of insufficient stores from sun-safe behaviours in summer. SAD may cause some people to experience a lack of energy, low mood and irritability during the autumn and winter months. General symptoms can include daytime fatigue, cravings for starchy foods and a lack of interest in socialising. Vitamin D is not only essential for mood, bone health and healthy brain function, but we need it for general health, and low levels can be associated with recurring colds and flus. A recent study found that adequate vitamin D over winter was as effective as the ‘flu shot in preventing colds & flu over winter. Our bodies need sunlight to make vitamin D, and it’s hard to get enough in winter, as the sun is low on the horizon, weakening the rays. Getting outside with skin exposed to the sun regularly over autumn and winter is still important but will not stop your D-levels from dropping over winter. We recommend boosting your vitamin D levels by eating oil fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and fresh kahawai, taking cod-liver oil or contact us if you would like to find out more about Vitamin D supplementation. Want a personalised approach to improving your health this winter? Book an appointment with one of our health consultants or pop in to our clinic in Mt Albert to get support for immunity. Contact us now.