Prevent colds and flu in winter with these top immune-boosting tips.
(Q) I haven’t had a cold or flu this winter yet (thank goodness) but on the train everyday commuters are coughing all over the place and my colleagues are coming into work sick. I really don’t want to get a cold and can’t afford to take any time off if I do. What would you suggest I do to boost my immune system as my Echinacea vitamins were ineffective last year?
(A) The best thing you can do to protect yourself from colds and flu this winter is to strengthen your immune system naturally with immune-boosting foods and nutritional supplements.
Raw garlic in the diet is very beneficial, however cooking garlic can destroy some of its health-promoting compounds. One way to get around this problem is to take Kyolic aged garlic extract. The natural ageing process increases antioxidant levels and enhances garlic’s immune boosting powers. It also has the added benefit of being odourless.
Vitamin C is an extremely important nutrient for boosting immunity. Include plenty of foods high in vitamin C in the diet, including fresh fruits and vegies, especially citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage and parsley. A vitamin C supplement is also recommended to ward off colds and flu, take around 2-3 g a day.
Zinc is another important mineral needed for healthy immune function. Zinc is found in foods such as red meat, chicken, fish, dairy foods, eggs, legumes and sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Taking a zinc supplement is also beneficial, around 45mg a day.
Spirulina is a type of sea algae that is considered a superfood due to its extraordinary health-promoting elements. Spirulina can stimulate immune function; it’s anti-cancerous and rich in nutrients such as iron and selenium which act as powerful antioxidants in the body. Spirulina can be taken in capsule or tablet form (around 5g day, or add a teaspoon of powder to smoothies or juice).
More great immune-boosting foods that should be included in the diet include miso, ginger, garlic, onion, yoghurt, green tea and seaweed.
There are some key herbs that naturopaths and herbalists commonly use to strengthen the immune system and offer protection against colds and flu, including astragalus, andrographis, Echinacea and olive leaf.
A good healthy diet is fundamental to good health and a strong immune system. A majority of your diet should be made up of unprocessed, natural foods such as fresh fruits, vegies, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
Having a well-balanced diet will supply you with all the essential nutrients your body needs for a healthy immune system such as zinc, vitamin A and C, selenium and iron.