For anyone who gets colds and flu easily, now is the time I get my clients to start supporting their immune health before the change of season.
The best approach to help support a healthy immune system is a holistic approach. That involves lifestyle, stress management, exercise, diet, nutritional supplementation and the use of herbal medicine.
Have you heard the quote from Hippocrates ‘All disease begins in the gut?’
Our gut health is so important as 70% of the immune system is in our gut.
Immune balance is influenced by the gut microbiome and in turn, the gut microbiome is influenced by the immune system.
If there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, probiotics can help restore the balance. Specific strains of probiotics are more beneficial for enhancing immunity. It's a good idea to ask a health professional when choosing the best probiotic for your family.
Prebiotics are necessary to help the good gut bugs flourish and diversify. Prebiotics are non-digestible dietary fibre found in certain high fibre plants foods such as garlic, onions, asparagus, leeks, bananas, apples, oats and legumes.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that your body doesn't store it. We must get what we need from food.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which can help strengthen your body’s natural defences.
Aspirin and NSAIDS can impair the absorption of Vitamin C and people who smoke have lower amounts of Vitamin C in their body.
Good sources of Vitamin C include oranges, green peppers, watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, mango, broccoli, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and citrus juices.
Zinc is an essential cofactor in over 100 enzymatic reactions It is essential in many cellular processes especially in the normal performance and functioning of the immune system. A zinc deficiency can cause a significant decline in immune response and promotes systemic inflammation. (2)
Good sources of zinc include beef, lamb, seafood, oysters, spinach, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
The healing benefits and immune-stimulating properties of mushrooms have been known for thousands of years in Eastern countries. These mushrooms contain polysaccharides, beta-glucans that can increase the body’s immune defence (1).
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is referred to as the ‘King of mushrooms’ and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, longevity and improved immunity.
Some of my favourite immune herbs include:
Echinacea (Angustifolia / purpurea)
A great herb for promoting immune function and to increase resistance to infection. It acts mainly on innate immunity (immune defences that are activated immediately). Its main actions include - anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and wound healing.
Andrographis (Andrographis paniculate)
An immune stimulant, perfect for acute hot conditions. It is also known as the 'King of Bitters', so it is beneficial in strengthening digestion and improving poor appetite. It is anti-inflammatory, analgesic and may be beneficial for pain associated with infection.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous)
It restores, strengthens and balances the body's immune response, as well as strengthening vitality.
Stress is a contributing factor to suppressing immunity. Have you noticed when you are under stress or have more stress in your life you get sick more frequently?
Stress not only disrupts the immune system’s ability to fight infections, but it can also lead to the development of allergens and autoimmune condition s (4).
Take time out to nourish yourself. Go for a walk, attend a yoga class, meditate or practise mindfulness.
Getting enough sleep is so important to all aspects of your life, including your immune system. Aim for 7-8 hours per night. Opt for no screens an hour before going to bed. If you can, go for a walk or do some exercise within the first hour of waking, in natural light. This helps balance your circadian rhythms.
A diet high in whole, natural foods such as vegetables and fruit; healthy fats and good quality protein is essential to the immune system. Consuming too much processed, packaged and sugar-rich foods can deplete your immunity.
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 every day.
Please get in touch if you require any further information. I have included an Immune Special below for both adults and children. If you would like to take advantage of this special please get in touch.
Kids immune pack (suitable for Primary School age) includes probiotics (50g) and Immune care powder (100g) $60
Adult immune pack includes High strength bioavailable zinc powder with Vitamin C 114g, Super mushrooms complex with Astragalus to help regulate immune system function (30 tablets) and high potency immune support (60 tablets) to be taken at the first sign of cold or flu-like symptoms.
Natural hand sanitiser recipe
Combine 3 parts vodka to 1 part of the following essential oils: tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender.
Put in a spritzer bottle. Shake well before use.
Akramienė, D., Kondrotas, A., Didžiapetrienė, J., & Kėvelaitis, E. (2007). Effects of ß-glucans on the immune system. Medicina, 43(8), 597. doi: 10.3390/medicina43080076
Cabrera, Á. (2015). Zinc, aging, and immunosenescence: an overview. Pathobiology Of Aging & Age-Related Diseases, 5(1), 25592. doi: 10.3402/pba.v5.25592
Jayachandran, M., Xiao, J., & Xu, B. (2017). A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. International Journal Of Molecular Sciences, 18(9), 1934. doi: 10.3390/ijms18091934
Murray, M. (2012) Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine Third Edition, Artia Books.