The best thing you can do to protect yourself from colds and flu year-around is to focus on strengthening your immune system naturally. Whilst the immune system is a complex and dynamic process, many factors can impact on optimal function. This may include poor dietary or lifestyle choices, inadequate sleep, stress, lack of exercise, or environmental toxins. Once the immune system is overburdened it is unable to mount efficient immune defence responses, rendering you more susceptible to colds and flus.
Natural Immune Boosters
A naturopath will identify and address your unique health challenges with a holistic approach. The primary strategy is to optimise immunological protection:
1. Healthy Diet
A diet that emphasises fresh wholefoods, nutrient dense foods, antioxidants and adequate water consumption, in combination with the avoidance of caffeine, sugar and refined products is essential to increase your body’s production of compounds necessary for strong immunity. My personal favourite is adding raw crushed garlic to foods, and consuming soups and bone broths.
Regular exercise will improve immunity and aid the elimination of wastes through the circulatory and lymphatic systems.
3. Stress Management
Stress can have a devastating impact on immune function, thus implementing stress management techniques such as meditation or relaxation acts to alleviate immune suppression.
4. Quality Sleep
Inadequate sleep impairs your body’s ability to produce immune cells. Sleep is vital for the body’s ability to regenerate and recover from infection.
5. Good Hygiene
Keeping good hygiene practices such as regular hand washing is necessary to prevent reinfection and infection of others.
6. Herbs and Supplements
There are many herbal and nutritional supplements that enhance immunity to prevent or reduce severity of infection. Some major players include vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, fish oils and probiotics. Immune stimulating herbs that act to reduce inflammation and eradicate infection include Echinacea, Astragalus, Andrographis, Olive leaf and Thyme.
Finally be quick to act, speak to your naturopathic practitioner at the very earliest signs of an infection. If you immediately commence appropriately selected herbs and nutrients you may prevent the infection from taking hold. Your naturopath will prescribe good quality ‘practitioner only’ medicines that are best suited to your individual needs.
Article by Emma Berry ND