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11 immune boosters to keep the flu out in the cold

Posted by Rita Texeira on 24 April 2014
11 immune boosters to keep the flu out in the cold

As lovely as it is when the fluffy doonas, woolly clothes and snuggly uggboots come out in winter, it also brings the inevitable sniffles, sore throat, aches and the endless trail of tissues.

Not in your house though! This flu season we’ve got you covered with 11 immune boosting tips to ensure those nasty colds and flu are left out in the cold.

1. Eat healthy

Healthy eating will help you get the right balance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs to boost energy, control and prevent sickness and speed up recovery.

This flu season be sure to boost your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially greens, garlic, mushrooms, ginger, yoghurt and almonds. Also drink more black and green tea, which are said to strengthen your immune system and get rid of free radicals in your body.

2. Drink more water

Water is vital for your body’s health and wellness. Itflushes out toxins, ensures your organs are functioning at their best, reduces headaches often caused from dehydration, aids in digestion, prevents constipation and raises your metabolism. So make sure you are getting 8-10 glasses a day.

3. Have extra Vitamin C

While we all know the benefits of Vitamin C, most of us don’t take it until after we are sick to aid recovery. But taking extra Vitamin C during winter months is a great way to keep colds and flus at bay.

Acting as a natural anti-histamine, anti-viral, bactericidal and detoxifier, Vitamin C also boosts the prostaglandin production in your blood platelets, which also increases T cell production.  

While you can increase your Vitamin C intake through tablets and supplements, broccoli, kiwi fruit and dark green leafy vegetables are also high in Vitamin C.

4. See the light of day

Vitamin D or “the sunshine vitamin" as it’s often called plays an important role in building our immunity. Without sufficient vitamin D (around 2-3 hours in the sun a week in winter) we increase our risk of developing a range of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

While sunlight is the easiest and healthiest way to get sufficient vitamin D, you can also eat foods rich in vitamin Dlike egg yolk, cod liver oil, oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel) and fortified milk (cow, soy or rice).

5. Make sure you are getting enough zinc

Zinc increases your production of white blood cells and helps them fight infection more effectively. It also increases cells that combat cancer, helps your immune system release more antibodies, supports wound healing and is a powerful anti-viral.

But with no way to store zinc your body depends on a daily supply through your diet with foods like seafood (oysters, crab and lobster), beef and lamb, spinach, pumpkin seeds and cashews. You need just the right amount though as too much can be just as harmful as not enough.

6. Have the right balance of copper

Copper is a powerful bactericidal that protects your immune system and helps you to maintain good defences against infectious diseases. While a balanced diet usually provides an adequate daily intake, there are cases where copper supplements are needed, particularly if suffering from celiac and crohn’s disease.

Normally copper supplements also include zinc as it is important to maintain a ratio of 1:1 zinc and copper for a healthy immune system.

7. Restore your immune system with probiotics

With the majority of your immune system located in your gut, a strong, healthy immune system depends heavily on having a well-functioning, healthy gut. For this reason it is important to support your system with probiotics that are specifically designed to heal your gut and restore your immune system to its natural function.

Restoring this balance in your body can help you cope more easily with stressors, toxins and allergens and reduce the severity of sickness.

8. Take time to rest and unwind

With such busy schedules stress is a regular occurrence in our daily lives, but too much stress and not enough rest can decrease our immune system and leave us more susceptible to infections.

So as tempting as it can be to stay up late to get through your work or to catch up on tasks around your home, it's important to build in time to unwind and get your rest as this will give your system the opportunity it needs to build up defences again and fight infections faster.

9. Get moving

While regular exercise is an area most of us struggle with, particularly on those cold winter days, it is proven to prevent many life-threatening conditions, boost oxygen and nutrient supply to all the cells in your body, increase sleep, decrease stress, strengthen your immune system, improve your muscle strength and joint function and of course help you become fitter and leaner.

10. Try herbal remedies

Herbals can also deliver fantastic immune boosting benefits and what’s more they are personalised for your own individual situation.

When it comes to avoiding colds and the flu the most beneficial herbs are Astragalus as an immune stimulatory herb, Echinacea, Five Mushroom Formulations, Andrographis Colostrum a protein-rich whey extract particularly use full to support mucous membrane health, Olive Leaf shows strong antimicrobial properties against viruses but only in high dosages and Bioeffective A (pine needle extract) is a very effective antiviral formula.

11. Watch your sugar intake

Sugar lowers your immune system and can leave you more susceptible to illness so try to minimise it in your diet as much as possible, particularly over winter. While it can give you the "pick me up" you're looking for its effects are temporary and the crash that comes when it wears off can leave you feeling worse.Instead try eating foods that are low GI as this will provide more constant energy levels as opposed to the highs then lows that come from sugar.

How do you keep colds and flus away?
Author:Rita Texeira
Tags:Immune BoostersWellbeingBuilding Your Immune SystemHealthCold and Flu

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