For some people, winter is synonymous with all sorts of health problems, like flu, colds, sinusitis, laryngitis, sore throats and bronchitis. For others, it means a cold or two. It all depends on the body’s ability to fight infection.
The good news is that by strengthening the immune system and following a few simple rules, we can all do a lot to fight off seasonal viruses and bacteria. Here are a few tips and tricks to boost your body’s immune response during the cold season.
First, what is the immune system?
The immune system literally acts as a bodyguard. Its sole purpose is to protect the body against the harmful effects of its enemies, such as viruses, harmful bacteria or foreign substances. The immune system is our best ally against all sorts of diseases and premature ageing.
How to strengthen the immune system:
Diet certainly has a major impact on maintaining a healthy immune system. Obviously, a balanced diet containing fresh foods and grain products will always remain a fundamental factor in promoting optimal health. Many “super foods” such as garlic, onions, miso, small fruits and certain spices (red pepper, ginger, cinnamon) all have immune-boosting properties. Consequently, a healthy diet is the best way to prevent disease. On the other hand, foods that do not contain enough nutrients and that are rich in monosaccharides will have the opposite effect, mainly to decrease the immune response.
Hydration is another effective way to support the body in the fight against infections. Hydration helps to liquefy accumulated phlegm in the respiratory tract. Proper hydration also helps to avoid dehydration caused by fever. Obviously, water remains the favoured liquid to properly hydrate the body. Drinking several glasses (6 to 8) during the day is highly recommended. You can also use homemade broth (miso, vegetable or chicken) or fruit juices without any added sugar to increase your liquid intake. What should be avoided at all costs are caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee, sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Rest and stress management:
Never underestimate the important impact that stress and negative emotions may have on the immune system. Exhaustion, lack of sleep, stress and a negative state of mind can indeed impede the immune system’s effectiveness. Having a positive outlook on life, properly managing stress, exercising regularly and getting enough rest will have a positive impact on your ability to fight infections and also on your general wellbeing.
- Natural food supplements:
Several types of vitamins, minerals and medicinal plants can greatly help when fighting infection. Some of these nutrients help stimulate the immune system while others have bactericidal, antiviral or antiseptic qualities. Because they support the immune system, these nutrients are extremely effective tools for preventing infections or reducing the duration and severity of symptoms
Here is a list of products that we recommend as major weapons in the fight against viral infections for the winter season. For more information on any product, please click the link underneath it to view our product fact sheet.
A well-known “super food”, garlic has been valued for its many positive effects on health since ancient times. Garlic is used to fight respiratory system infections as well as fungal infections. It also helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Whether you’re fighting a cold, flu, bad cough or bronchial congestion, garlic is a powerful antiseptic and an indispensible ally to fight winter infections.
Echinacea is a native plant of North America and has been used to treat respiratory infections. It is more effective when taken at the early onset of symptoms. Echinacea helps reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms. Even with all these benefits, it should not be taken over a long period of time (no more than two to three consecutive weeks).
Probiotics, also known as “friendly” bacteria, promote immune development (by preventing the loss of beneficial bacteria in the intestines), which reduces the risk of opportunistic infections. (See complete related article on probiotics on our website’s main page.)
- Probiox 7 extra-strength
- Go Probiotics Immune system
Vitamin C :
Vitamin C may help reduce the duration of flu symptoms as well as protect cells against free radicals and other oxidants. It is one of the most popular vitamins in the Western world. Vitamin C is involved in several of the body’s metabolic processes: it is vital to the production of collagen, reduces capillary weakness, strengthens the immune system, accelerates the healing process and much more. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for maintaining good health.