With the combination of poor weather, extra germs floating around and increased holiday stress, it seems if you get run down, you get sick. There are ways to boost your immunity to help your body fight winter colds – you may still get knocked down but you won’t be out for the count.
What is our immune system?
Our immune system is a series of organs, cells and proteins – kind of like a network that protects our body from anything foreign – like bacteria and viruses. It recognizes foreign pathogens and works to neutralize them to prevent harm to our bodies. Pretty amazing.
When all things are working smoothly we don’t notice our immune system – it begins in the cells of our bone marrow, moves through our blood and to our outer tissues. If the system is too active this leads to autoimmune disease and allergic reactions. It the system is under functioning we get sick and can face tumours.
The big picture
Since our immunity is based on an intricate system we need to take care of ensuring it’s balance. Research into our immune response is still ongoing and it is definitely something scientists will be working on for decades to come.
Research has show than micronutrient deficiencies in animals alter immune response – this a promising area with more results to come. One way to top off those micronutrients is with a comprehensive multi vitamin.
Sleep is also essential to immune function, as is regular exercise. Without the respite of sleep our immune system becomes suppressed and doesn’t function optimally. Likewise for exercise – without it our bodies aren’t at their best. Ensuring enough sleep and exercise will set a strong foundation to build health upon.
Immune system supports
Elderberry and Echinacea
Both elderberry and echinacea are excellent general immune system boosters.
Research shows the berries and parts of the echinacea plant growing above ground have immunostimulant effects. Pukka have combined the two in a delightful tea – perfect for this dreary weather. Metagenics Echinacea Synergy can be used to help fight off infections and to help relieve cold symptoms. It also helps to relieve the symptoms and shorten the duration of upper respiratory tract infections.
Garlic is a good choice all around. It boosts the production of immune system cells and on its own has been show to fight parasites. Its combination of calcium, potassium and sulphuric compounds can kill bacteria and fight viruses. If popping cloves isn’t something you are up for try Metagenics’ Super Garlic 6000 tablets.
Ginger is the great balancer. Research shows ginger helps restore optimum immune function. It can also help boost the immune system by stimulating T-cell production. Add it to your diet or pop some in a cup of tea or try Organika Ginger Root Extract.
If you are happy with your multivitamin but find it needs a bit of a boost in some areas consider topping it up with Vitamin C, omega oil blends, and of course because we can’t get enough in the winter: Vitamin D. Vitamin C is a foundational antioxidant necessary for good health. Our diets change a bit in the winter season and it’s a good time to consider a top up. Vitamin D is essential for bone and mental health – if you feel better your body will follow. Research shows Omega-3 fatty acids – like DHA – support our immune systems by enhancing the functioning of our immune cells and enhances activity of white blood cells.
Studies show that astragalus supplementation has a beneficial effect on endothelial cells, and other cell types within the body injured by pathogens and/or distress, exhibiting an overall protective effect on immune health