In order to avoid getting hit by cold or flu, or at least reduce the severity and speed up recovery, the body’s immune system must be strong. What can we do make our defenses impenetrable to bacteria and viruses?
- Get enough rest. Give your body a chance to recover from daily stresses and gather enough strength. A complete restful sleep in the night is ideal. Doing de-stressing activities such as getting a massage, doing yoga, reading a book, or soaking up in a warm bath with some lavender essential oil helps a lot as well.
- Include warm nutritious foods in your diet. Homemade chicken and vegetable soup, even the broth alone, can provide the vitamins and minerals needed to keep our defenses strong. They also help when one already has colds by breaking down mucus. Why? Because these soups usually have garlic, ginger, onion, and sometimes, chili infused in the warm liquid, that not only improves flavor, but also helps fight off illnesses and inflammation.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration is the key. If we’re dehydrated, our body’s immune responses drop.
- Increase intake of zinc and vitamin C. These two are famous for inhibiting the common cold and flu viruses. They are best at supporting a healthy immune system by enhancing the activity of white blood cells that fight off bad bacteria and viruses. They also reduce the duration and the severity of sickness. Good sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, papaya, and watermelon. While meat, eggs, seafood, nuts, and seeds are rich in Zinc.
- Increase vitamin D intake. Vitamin D also helps the body’s defenses by directing immune cells to the infected site. Because it’s cold outside, we tend to spend more time indoors, hence, less vitamin D we are able to acquire. Talking to a Perth Naturopath can help determine how much of vitamin D your body is missing.
- Take probiotics. They are good bacteria that live in the guts and enhance health and immunity, especially the strains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
- Take herbal medicines particularly andrographis, which is known to significantly reduce the duration of colds and stimulates the natural immune response.