Coming into the colder months, many of us are prone to catching the cold and Flu. This doesn’t need to be the norm, nor do you have to suffer through winter with a box of tissues and cold and Flu tablets in hand. People with a depressed immune system or nutrient deficiencies may be more prone to catching the flu or a cold. Stress, lack of sleep and exposure to toxins can also worsen flu symptoms. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. These viruses spread through the air from person to person. There are numerous ways to protect ourselves and boost our immune system to prevent and lessen the duration of cold and Flus. Here are some handy tips:
As 70% of the immunity cells are found in the Gut it stands to reason that if you take regular daily probiotics and fermented foods to sustain and repopulate the good bacteria in your gut that you’ll keep your immune system strong and healthy. You can take a good quality probiotic capsule or consume daily ferments such as Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Kim Chi etc. Bone Broth soups, Aloe Vera juice and slippery Elm will soothe inflammation and repair the digestive system which is also beneficial.
Vitamin C and Zinc:
Vitamin C is well researched and well known to boost and improve the immune system. It helps with immune system function and boosts white blood cells.
Zinc lessens the duration and severity of the illness as it helps with the repair of cells. You can get great Vitamin C and zinc powders and tablets to have on hand during the winter months, the recommended dose of Vitamin C is 3000mgs a day. Bright Red and orange foods and berries are full of Vitamin C.
Zinc supports immune function and has an antiviral effect. It works best when taken at the first sign of illness to lessen the symptoms of the cold virus.
Vitamin D as been hailed as a preventative for the Flu. Vitamin D keeps the winter Blues at bay, strengthens bones and immune cells. Just 2000 International units of Vitamin D a day can prevent the risk of catching the Flu by 40%. You can get Vitamin D from 20 minutes of daily exposure to the sun. Also Sardines, salmon, egg yolks and Cod liver oil. (2,000 IU daily)
Honey: is antibacterial and antifungal and also soothes a cough and sore throat. It is effective at night to reduce a nocturnal cough and promote a more restful sleep. Honey can be a powerful immune system booster. It's antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve the digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight disease.
Apple Cider vinegar:
Soothes a sore throat. It has a strong antimicrobial effect. It contains several antioxidants, which are great for you because they boost your body’s immune system and help you fight off illness. it can help to regulate your pH levels, which is the ratio of acid to alkaline in the body. We want a mildly alkaline environment to stave off disease and illness.
Cinnamon: Has an antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory effect in the body. It’s great for upper respiratory tract infections and cold and flu.
It is believed that this herb can deactivate the flu virus and naturally boost immunity. The flowers and berries of elderberry are said to boost the immune system, treat flu and relieve sinus pain. Elderberry attacks the flu viruses and reduces bronchial inflammation. It greatly reduces the severity and length of flu symptoms when given at the first signs of symptoms.
This herb can help your body fight off infections, but it is best to take it at the first sign of illness. Echinacea effectively treats respiratory tract infections. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of cold and flu. Echinacea directly attacks yeast and other kinds of fungus.
Foods for Flu Recovery:
Try to consume light, easy to digest foods: Include soups with bone broth, cooked vegetables or herbal teas to help with digestion.
Adequate hydration is the key to flushing out the toxins from your system. Fluid helps your body to flush bacteria and viruses from your body. Green and black teas are potent immune system-boosters and antioxidants. Try to drink a cup every two hours. You should aim to consume at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Ginger: Make a ginger tea and add raw honey.
Garlic and onions: Both of these vegetables help boost immune function.
Taking some of these remedies regularly and having some on hand if you do happen to get sick will ensure that you recover much quicker. These remedies will help you to enjoy the winter months and stay healthy.
Here is one of my favourite recipes to keep my immune system healthy throughout the winter months. I drink it every night to keep the colds and flu’s away.
In a Mug of freshly boiled water add
1 teaspoon of ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Honey
Stir the mixture well and Enjoy!!
Please consult your Naturopath for a more tailored immunity plan.