By Dr. Gayle Maguire ND
It’s cold and flu season and many of you may have already experienced the nasty bugs and viruses already this year. Each year we are warned to brace ourselves and here are a few ways that you can help to make sure your defences are up and ready when sickness comes your way.*
Fermented Foods and Probiotics
Try adding a few fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha or sauerkraut to your regular diet to add some probiotic power to your body. Probiotics are basically ‘friendly bacteria that support your general gut health. . Gut health is immediately connected to immune health but also to the importance of eating a diet that suits you: ie doesn’t cause heartburn, bowel issues, or bloating.
Protein and Zinc
Be sure to get a decent amount of both protein and zinc in your diet. Both are needed by your immune system to create immune cells to fight infections. Choose healthy protein sources and if you’re looking for zinc rich foods turn to spinach, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, dark chocolate, beans, and mushrooms to name a few.
Know Your Herbs
Echinacea can be effective for reducing the frequency and duration of a cold once you have it, but not as effective as Astragalus, or medicinal mushrooms like Reishi to build immunity between colds. If you are purchasing Echinacea, be sure to get Echinacea Root, as the above-ground parts of the plant do not contain the immune boosting qualities.
Vitamin D is essential for everyday functioning, and it does play a regulation role in the immune system. It can boost an underactive system, or calm an overactive system. As well, it can help us with our energy levels and mood. Studies show that people with low vitamin D levels are more likely to contract colds and flus than those with sufficient levels.
Use a Humidifier
There are studies that show that the influenza virus is more likely to thrive in conditions where humidity is low. An easy solution here is the use cool-mist humidifiers in your home and bedroom as a measure to help with this especially if you are living in a dry climate.
*Please always consult your doctor for official advice and seek medical attention as needed.