5 immunity boosters to keep you well this winter
When you’re gearing up for some exciting winter escapades, getting laid up with a cold or flu can put the brakes on winter fun, fast.
Our bodies are amazing at healing themselves through a positive lifestyle and good nutrition, but supporting the immune system is the best way to avoid illness and stay energized. Plan ahead. A good foundation for strong immunity begins with the fundamentals: hydration, sleep, stress management, good hygiene, and a well-balanced diet. According to naturopathic physician Stephanie Peltz, “If you’re not scoring well on the basics, a cocktail of amazing herbs won’t make you well.” Taking care of an illness before it takes over will get you on your feet and out the door. So boost your immunity before winter arrives, and your body will thank you with great health and stamina all season long. Immunity enhancement can mean the difference between winter wellness and winter blues. “You can tell when you’re about to get sick, and that’s when natural therapies shine the most, so that’s when it’s best to get on top of it,” says Peltz. Consider these five natural immunity boosters to strengthen your system and prepare it to fight back.
Vitamins A, C, and D are natural immune boosters and antioxidants. Supplement your diet with these warrior vitamins so viruses can’t attack. Zinc is a natural antiviral, and taken as a lozenge, it will help relieve a sore throat.
Probiotics restore the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. They occur naturally in cultured foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt and in certain fermented drinks such as kefir and kombucha.
Start with garlic, thyme, and oregano. These are naturally antimicrobial, which means they’ll kill the bad micro-organisms trying to attack. They’re great to cook with, have in tea, or ingest through oil or supplements. Include goldenseal, a power herb, for additional support.
Research shows that echinacea increases the number of white blood cells to fight infection. The active ingredient alkyl amide should produce a tingling sensation on the tongue, meaning you have a reliable product, according to Peltz.
Clear broth, tea, and water carry nutrients throughout your body, clear waste, aid digestion, and regulate body temperature. Seeking out good advice and trusting your body will do wonders for your immune-boosting efforts. Stay active and learn to get in tune with your body—balance is the key to maximizing immune response and effectiveness. As you prepare for outdoor adventures this winter, remember that prevention is the best medicine. When your immune system is firing on all cylinders, you will be too.
Consuming 75 to 100 g of refined sugar (the equivalent amount in 2 - 12 oz/355 mL sodas) reduces your body’s ability to fight off bacteria and lowers your immune efficiency.
The polysaccharides in reishi play an important role in regulating the immune system, enhancing tumour response, and lowering blood pressure. Triterpenes inhibit histamine release, improving seasonal allergies as well as liver function. Reishi is often referred to as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stressful environments. A wide range of health conditions have been shown to benefit from reishi supplements. These include cancer, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and many viruses.