The dreaded winter cold/flu that inevitably strikes when the seasons switch. Try these top 5 immunity tips to boost your health and dodge the bugs this winter.
1. Reduce your stress externally and emotionally. When we are feeling stressed our immune system is also compromised. Try to add in 5-10 minutes of daily breathing or meditation into your daily routine.
2. Eat warming foods. Over the winter months we tend to want to eat more comfort foods. Instead of eating rich creamy foods switch to healthy nutritious vegetable soups and slow cooked foods. To build internal fire increase warming foods such as cloves, ginger, chilli, horseradish and pepper. Try to use fruit and vegetables that are seasonal and local so they are packed full of nutrients.
3. Reduce sugar intake. The negative effects of sugar starts within 30 minutes and last for over 5 hours!! Sugar typically reduces the ability of the white blood cells to destroy and engulf bugs by about 50%. Try to have less than 50g of sugar per day (12.5 teaspoons). The more sugar you consume the greater the negative impact on the immune system.
4. Take Vitamin C daily. Vitamin C is antiviral and antibacterial. It helps to enhance the response of white blood cells to fight infections and reduce the severity of a common cold. Take a maintenance dose over the winter of 1000mg per day and then when you are feeling like you are getting sick take small doses (250mg) every 2 hours. Increases interferon (chemical factor that fights viral infection and cancer). Vitamin C has a direct biochemical effect on white blood cells as interferon.
5. Boost your immunity with herbal medicine
- Echinacea root: Maintains upper respiratory tract health and supports the body's own natural immune system to bring effective relief from the symptoms of colds, flu and minor infection.
- Astragalus: A traditional Chinese herb to enhance immune function and has a mild antiviral activity to help prevent colds.
- Andrographis: Supports the body's immune system when dealing with cold symptoms.
- Withania (Ashwaganda): Enhances immune function and is a natural antioxidant.
- Goldenseal: It is anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory and astringent. So it can help fight bacterial infections, and fungal disorders.
By Erin O'Hara