As the weather begins to get a bit cooler, there is always an increase in the number of allergens, colds and flus. The immune system is weakened by poor nutrition and too much stress. Fatigue, recurrent infections, slow wound healing, allergens, thrush, cold sores, fungal infections, recurrent colds and flu are all signs of an impaired immune system.
In winter, I protect myself from colds and flu by strengthening my immune system naturally, with immune-boosting foods and herbal medicine.
Supporting the immune system
A diet rich in nutrient rich foods such as vegetables and fruit; healthy fats and good quality protein is essential. Consuming too much processed, packaged and sugar rich foods can deplete your immune function.
Antioxidants help fight free radicals and contribute to maintaining an effective immune response. Eating a wide range of different vegetables and fruit, of varying colour (fresh and in season) will help fight free radicals. Eat a rainbow everyday. Vitamins A, C and E are particularly beneficial in building immunity.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy immune function. Good food sources of vitamin A include carrots, dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C is necessary for a healthy immune system. It also possesses antibacterial and antiviral effects.
Good sources of vitamin C include watermelon, papaya, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, mango, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and tomato juice. The most concentrated food sources of vitamin C are found in blackcurrants, sweet green and red peppers, hot red peppers, green chilli peppers, oranges and strawberries.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds and spinach.
Zinc is one of my favourite minerals. It is an essential co factor in in over 100 enzymatic reactions. It is necessary for growth and repair, as well as for wound healing, immune modulation and neurological function. Good sources include grass fed beef, lamb, eggs, seafood, oysters, spinach, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Traditional herbal medicine can help strengthen the body's resistance to illness. Some of my favourite immune enhancing herbs are:
Echinacea - everyone is probably quite familiar with Echinacea. It is immune enhancing, as well as helping to prevent infection.
Andrographis is an immune stimulant with particular application for acute hot conditions.
Astragalus restores, strengthens and balances the body’s immune responses and increases vitality. In traditional Chinese medicine it tonifies the Qi (energy) and blood (nutrition).
Remember to always speak to a health care practitioner before supplementing with any herbal medicine.
Getting enough sleep is so important to all aspects of your life, including your immune system. It is important to get at least 7 hours sleep each night.
Sore throat relief
If you start to get a tingle in your throat, make a tea of fresh lemon, ginger and honey and sip throughout the day. Ginger has anti inflammatory properties and is rich in zinc.
If you are wanting any further information, please contact myself at Casuarina Holistic Health.
Have a great day.