Bug Off! Immune system tips for the upcoming cold and flu season
Author: Vanessa Gagliardi Date Posted:9 March 2020
The cooler months are approaching, as is our exposure to several bugs that can impact our immune system. Are you looking for ways to avoid being struck down by colds and flus this winter? Although complete immunity can’t be guaranteed, we have put together some tips that can help reduce your risk of getting sick this winter.
Good hygiene is one of the most important ways to help prevent colds and flu. Good hygiene practices include:
- Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially before handling food and after touching your nose or mouth. For on-the-go convenience, you may wish to carry hand sanitiser when you cannot access a sink to wash your hands
- Sneezing or coughing into tissues and throwing them away immediately, followed by washing your hands
- Regularly cleaning surfaces like computer keyboards, telephones and door handles
- Not sharing cups, plates, cutlery or water bottles
- Avoiding going into work or school when sick. Germs can be easily spread from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces such as offices and classrooms. Stay home and rest until you have recovered
What about wearing face masks?
According to the NSW Department of Health, face masks are not recommended for the general population. Those who have cold or flu symptoms may wear a surgical mask when in the same room as another person to reduce the risk of spreading germs.
We get the majority of our nutrients from our food, so it makes sense to ensure we are eating a varied and balanced diet in order to consume as many nutrients as possible to fuel our bodies and support our immune system.
Fruit and vegetables are rich in an abundance of vitamins and minerals that help support a healthy immune system, such as vitamins A and C. Enjoy plenty of salads, soups, smoothies and bakes that you can squeeze lots of fruit and veggies into.
Cooler weather calls for warmer food, like bone broths. Bone broths are a delicious, nutritious and warming food to enjoy throughout cold and flu season, thanks to their high collagen content which supports the gut and, consequently, the immune system. More often than not, broths are packed with veggies, herbs and spices for extra immunity and general health support.
Fermented foods also play a role in immune system health. Fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut and kimchi are known for their benefits on gut health, and through their supportive action on the gut, they also support the health of the immune system.
Recipe: Immunity Brew
In times when you are feeling under the weather, whip up a batch of our ‘Immunity Brew’ to sip on as you rest and recover.
- 300mL water
- 2 tsp. Meadow and Marrow ‘AM Cleanse’ bone broth concentrate
- 1 thumb-sized chunk of ginger, peeled
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tbsp. Manuka honey
- 1 small lemon, sliced (skin on)
- Add water, bone broth and honey into a sauce pan and stir over heat until honey and broth have dissolved
- Drop in cinnamon, lemon slices and ginger
- Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins
- Strain liquid into a mug and enjoy!
Supplementing with Herbs, Nutrients & Probiotics
Alongside a varied and balanced diet, you may also wish to give your immune system some extra support through herbal and nutritional supplementation, plus probiotics.
Supplementing with vitamin C helps to reduce the occurrence and symptoms of head colds as well as common colds and flu. Vitamin C helps to stimulate a healthy immune system response and maintains healthy immune system function. We recommend our Super C 1000 or Mega C 1500. Zinc supplementation also supports healthy immune system function and general health and wellbeing. We suggest taking our Zinc Plus formula.
Herbal medicines also play a role in supporting immune system function. Our Echinacea 2000 + Andrographis supports the immune system’s ability to fight off illness, as well as helping to reduce the occurrence of common colds and flu and reducing the severity of their symptoms.
Horseradish and garlic are two herbs that have been long used in Western herbal medicine for immune system support, especially for mild upper respiratory infections. Our Super Strength Horseradish Garlic A & C combines these herbs plus vitamins A and C for a healthy immune system and reduction of cold and flu symptoms.
More and more research is pointing towards the link between a healthy gut and a healthy immune system. Alongside your intake of fermented foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut, consider taking a probiotic supplement like our Probiotic SB or Probiotic 32 Billion. The beneficial strains in our probiotic supplements not only support digestive health, but also support general health and wellbeing and maintain healthy immune system function.
If cold and flu symptoms persist or worsen, talk to your doctor or health professional. Seek advice from your doctor or health professional before taking any new supplements. Supplements and honey should not be given to children under 2 years of age..
|Written by Vanessa Gagliardi|
Vanessa (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath with a passion for good food. She uses nutrition and herbal medicine to help people feel their best, from the inside out.
Vanessa enjoys nature walks and Pilates, and loves a good almond mocha.