mother and daughter on holiday standing on winter beach

Healthy ways to strengthen your immune system

As you know most colds are viral so the best way to deal with them is to let your immune system do what it does best, with a bit of extra support from you.

Ways to support your immune system

  • Get plenty of rest, fighting germs require lots of energy, get regular sleep and if you are extra tired, relax have a lie down. Listen to your body
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water, as this helps keep the mucus membranes of your respiratory track moist, and prevents thickening of secretions
  • Get some fresh air – getting outside in natural light and clean air helps improve our immunity, mood and overall vitality. If you do not have a fever or deep infection then some gentle exercise as this helps with blood flow and removal of waste.
  • Vitamin C – everyone knows the benefits of this wonderful vitamin in helping prevent and treat infectious diseases. It is effective in most forms and I take as much as the body will allow (bowel tolerance is a good indicator of when enough is enough)
  • Vitamin D – I have spoken on vitamin D before and through the winter many of us can be deficient. Low vitamin D levels can make you more susceptible to respiratory infections. “The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu. Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency.” Ginde, A. (2009). Supplementation with D3 is the only form to take, dosage will be dependent on your unique needs so please contact your health practitioner before putting yourself on a supplement. Alternatively increase your intake of high vitamin d foods such as oily fish, liver, egg yolks, and shiitake mushrooms.
  • Manuka Honey (UMF 15+)- a wonderful antimicrobial, and very soothing to the throat
  • Garlic – A wonderful antimicrobial, containing allistatin, allicin, garlicin and ajoine, which are all potent antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and immune-enhancing compounds. Eat raw, add to salad dressing or make a pesto with basil and pine nuts.
  • Zinc – If you are low in zinc your likely to suffer from immune system deficiencies and be more susceptible to infection from bacteria and viruses. Good food sources include eggs, liver, oysters and shellfish, nuts, legumes, whole grains and seeds.
  • Eat well – Feed your cold, eat whole foods, lots of winter fruits such as lemons, oranges, and apples. Make bone broth, and chicken soup with lots of herbs. Try to eliminate foods that congest, like dairy, grains, potatoes and pasta.
  • Warm your self with spices such as ginger, cinnamon and turmeric, try a yummy turmeric latte
  • Breathe – deep mindful belly breaths, help calm and reduce stress, clear the nasal passages and improve blood and oxygen flow
  • Infrared Sauna – Through the heating of the core body temperature and through the penetration of infrared energy, infrared Sauna helps boost your immune system, increasing your white blood cells and natural killer cells

Have a wonderful week, I am off to make some chicken soup 😉
your Naturopath Denise

References

Ginde, A.A., Mansbach, J.M., & Camargo CA (2009). Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(4):384-390. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005) The encylopidea of healing foods. New York: Atria books.

Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs and Natural Supplements.