Your immune system is your biggest defence against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders. Although sore throats, runny noses and coughs can be bothersome, they are important signs that your immune system needs some support. If you are looking for ways to care for your immune system during the cold and flu season, consider these important health tips.
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Immune System
A healthy, balanced diet that provides a steady intake of nutrients is key to a healthy immune system. High intake of sugar and processed foods can weaken immune function and deplete important nutrients. Fill your daily diet with real foods including in-season fruits and vegetables, non-refined grains, and healthy fats and proteins. Immune system function can also be supported with superfoods such as garlic, mushrooms, raw honey and ginger. If you find your diet is inconsistent, supplementation with key immune nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc may be warranted.
Support Your Microbiota
It’s estimated that 70 percent of your immune system is located in your gut. So it makes sense that an imbalance of your gut bacteria (microbiota) can impact the function of your immune system. Support your microbiota by incorporating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso and kimchi to your diet as they provide a high amount of good bacteria.
It’s Time for Sleep
Did you know that having less than 7 hours of sleep can increase your risk of developing a cold by 3-fold?1 In case of sleep difficulties, either problems with falling or staying asleep, incorporate sleep promoting tips such as going to bed at an earlier time, sleeping in a cool, dark and quiet room, and avoiding all electronic devices before bedtime.
Support Immunity with Supplements
Oil of oregano, medicinal mushrooms and echinacea are important ingredients that may support immune system function.
- Oil of Oregano contains key active compounds such as carvacrol and thymol that work synergistically together to maintain overall health. Oil of Oregano is an effective antioxidant and is used by those needing support for stomach and respiratory infections, and to help support immune function.2
- Medicinal Mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and other minerals. Reishi, shiitake and maitake are the most potent and notable for their ability to modulate the immune system.3
- Echinacea is a well-known herbal medicine used to relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of upper respiratory tract infections. The immunomodulating and virus-fighting abilities of echinacea are due to the synergistic activity of active ingredients such as alkylamides, polysaccharides and cichoric acid.4,5
Immune system function is impacted by a number of factors such as age, genetics and stress. You can experience a healthy cold and flu season, if you also rest when unwell, wash your hands, drink lots of water, manage stress levels and incorporate regular physical activity. Stay healthy!
*References available on request