How to Boost Your Immunity This Winter
When our immune system is challenged, our whole body goes into fight mode. Whether the invader is a virus, bacteria or a parasite, most people’s immune systems will respond efficiently, by producing antibodies capable of attacking & neutralising it. But for others, their immune system may be weakened & not strong enough to respond as it should, making them more susceptible to colds, viruses, flus & other more serious illnesses.
Many people are offered the flu vaccine each year. For some this may be an option, but for others there are many ways you can build up your immune system, so when an invader does enter your body, your own natural defence system will be ready & prepared to fight.
In this article, we are going to reveal our tips to kick your immune system into high-gear this cold and flu season.
As 70% of our immune system is situated in the gut lining, it makes sense to complete a bowel detox to help rid your intestinal tract of parasites or yeast overgrowths. There are many well-structured programs available, such as Total Body Detox or Para-Cleanse. This is an important 1st step to a stronger immunity. Once completed, ensure you take a probiotic supplement, such as Inner Health Plus, to repopulate your bowel with good bacteria. A lot of people also take Colostrum, said to help strengthen the immune system, while also helping maintain a healthy bowel.
Eating a varied diet is important for making our immune system stronger, as this keeps it exposed to a greater variety of antigens or invaders. Each time it’s challenged, an antibody is made, which fights this specific invader. You can imagine how many antibodies we end up with in a lifetime, all ready to respond again, should the same antigen enter our system. A balanced diet consisting of highly coloured fresh fruits & vegetables, lean meat, fatty fish & whole grains (preferably organic) will provide your body with an assortment of highly absorbable antioxidants, nutrients & essential fatty acids – all vital for a healthy immune system.
The main nutrients which help keep our immune system strong are Zinc, Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids & Vitamin D. An assortment of all nutrients is vital; however these ones are essential for immunity. Because Zinc is deficient in New Zealand soils, it is vital to regularly check you zinc levels to ensure these are adequate.
Taking an antioxidant is a good way to help to get these nutrients on a daily basis and most antioxidants can be taken in conjunction with a multivitamin formulation.
Many herbs have been shown to help strengthen the immune system. Astragalus, Cat’s Claw & Olive Leaf, as well as the deep immune mushrooms, Reishi & Shiitake, are all good choices. These help with debilitated immune function, post-infection recovery & repetitive colds & flus. They could be taken individually or in a combination. A lot of people start these in autumn, to help prevent winter illness & take these throughout the colder months.
There are many wonderful immune building formulations available at healthy.co.nz such as Superior Immune Boost, Elderberry D3fence and System Well. All of these products contain a combination of many herbs and nutrients to support and build up many aspects of your immune system.
Burning essential oils can help to keep the atmosphere fresh & choices such as Pine, Eucalyptus, Lemon & Tea Tree are ideal to put in a burner & vaporiser. Orange, Cedarwood or Grapefruit all create a soothing effect, while being uplifting & very refreshing. You can view our range of essential oils here.
Regular exercise is essential, as this helps stimulate our lymphatic system. The lymphatic system has many functions in our body, such as making lymphocytes, which help the body fight infection. Walking is one of the best overall exercises for helping your whole body function at its best, however cardiovascular & resistance exercises are also vital.
Rebounding or bouncing on a trampoline is excellent for the lymphatic system too. Remember that for each 1-hour of exercise you do, you need to sip on at least 750ml of water. This is on top of your usual 2-litre minimum.
Adequate sleep is essential for keeping a healthy immune system, with the amount of sleep needed varying from person to person & from age to age. Deficiencies of the minerals magnesium & calcium will interfere with a person’s ability to unwind properly to be able to fall & stay asleep. We have some great supplements for topping up a mineral deficiency like the Superior Magnesium and Full Spectrum Mineral Caps. Drinks containing caffeine are the main robbers of these nutrients & if consumed for up to 1 hour after having food or taking nutritional supplements, it will interfere with the absorption of nutrients such as iron, calcium & the B vitamins. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant & affects people differently. Keep its consumption to a minimum – no more than 1 or 2 a day & not past 2 o'clock. Try drinks such as Dandelion or Chicory coffee, both delicious alternatives to coffee, yet similar in taste. Rooibos or Red Bush tea makes a pleasant change & is naturally tannin & caffeine free. We also stock Madura tea, which is naturally grown with no Tannin and very low caffeine, and a great variety of loose herb teas.We have many excellent alternatives available to help treat colds and flus this year that are suitable for both adults and children. You can view our range of immune boosting and wellbeing supplements here.