As the days get shorter and the air gets crisper, the sounds of sneezing and sniffling abound as the cold and flu season gets underway. While there is no cure, there are several simple ways to prevent catching these viruses and boost your immune system, and help you feel better faster if you come down with the common cold or flu.
- Wash your hands! It’s one of the simplest tips, but also one of the most effective to prevent infecting yourself with the viruses that love to live with us. Along with this, remember to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat foods low in sugar, and actively manage your stress levels.
- Know your Vitamin D level. Vitamin D modulates the innate and adaptive immune responses and a deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity and an increased susceptibility to infection. It becomes even more important to supplement as our exposure to the sun diminishes come November.
- Stop a cold in its tracks using anti-viral herbs. Goldenseal contains berberine, which has been found to stimulate the activity of macrophages, which are white blood cells that are an important part of the immune system. Licorice is a potent antiviral herb that contains eight anti-viral compounds that all inhibit as well as block viruses from penetrating the body’s cells. Other herbs to look for in a formula include Lomatium, Astragalus, and Reishi mushroom.
- Support the immune system. Echinacea is one of the most researched herbs shown to support the immune system. Studies have concluded that Echinacea can cut the chances of catching a cold by more than half, and shorten the duration of a cold by an average of 1.4 days. Choose Echinacea purpurea with high levels of its active ingredients: alkylamides, polysaccharides & cichoric acid.
- Chew away that sore throat. An important mineral that ensures your immune system is functioning properly, is zinc. It can be found in foods such as animal meats and oysters, but can also be taken in lozenge form, which not only helps boost white blood cells, but also has a topical anti-viral effect.
We all hate the constant tickle in our throats, the runny nose, the never-ending sneezing, and the miserable feeling that comes along with colds and flus. With appropriate nutrition, supplementation, and a healthy lifestyle, we can get ourselves back on our feet again, and prevent the cold and flu from interfering with our lives.
The information in this article is not a substitute for medical advice. Please seek the care of your health care practitioner when starting a supplement regimen. Dr. Jennifer Brix, ND has a special interest in digestive health, hormone balancing, brain support, and natural pain relief. More information about Dr. Jen can be found at http://www.DrJenniferND.com