Another 6 more weeks of winter...Cold and flu viruses love this time of year as the dry weather allows them to float in the air and hit unsuspecting victims. Making matters worse - we’re finding ourselves in doors more and in close proximity to each other allowing these nasty colds and flus to hit everyone in our family and in the office. But good news! There are ways to boost your immune system to fend off attacking viruses and some tricks to getting-well faster if you are unlucky enough to be hit by one of these viruses.
Innate immunity is the cells and proteins that are always present in the body and ready to fight microbes. While our adaptive immune system comes into play once the pathogen has overcome our innate immunity and we’re officially sick.
Here are three ways to boost your innate immune system:
1. Probiotics are the friendly-bacteria in our gut that strengthen the intestinal lining and increase the activity of key immune cells. Did you know that 80% of our immune system is in our digestive system? This just emphasizes the importance of a healthy gut with probiotics being the key player! We’ll talk more about probiotics in the next post but for now try adding kefir to yogurt, smoothies or on its own as a snack. Kefir is a great source of probiotics as it typically contains 3x the probiotic content of yogurt
2. Antioxidants such as vitamin A and selenium. Antioxidants are substances found naturally in food that can protect our body’s cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. In other words antioxidants act as a protective coating for our cells. But get your antioxidants from food as supplements can he harmful because they tend to have higher amounts of vitamins or minerals than you need. Try making yourself a colourful dinner plate full of roasted pumpkin (vitamin A), leafy vegetables (vitamin C) and fish (selenium)
3. Garlic increases the production and activity of many immune cells, including white blood cells, antibodies and other natural killer cells. It also has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Grab fresh bulbs over the convenient pre-peeled ones and store the garlic in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard.
Now that your innate immunity is in tiptop shape here are three ways to boost your adaptive immune system:
1. Zinc may block the replication of cold viruses. Lozenges are a popular treatment but do not take more than 50 milligrams of zinc a day as too much zinc can actually depress immune function. Food sources of zinc include: black beans, chickpeas or lentils
2. Oil of Oregano. Chinese medicine and Mediterranean cultures have used this pizza tasting antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial oil for centuries! Due to the powerful antibacterial components of the oil only use for the first few days of your cold as the oil will kill all your good bacteria as well. And lastly…
3. Rest, rest and rest some more! And drink lots of fluid to flush out your system.
Stay warm and healthy! Spring is just around the corner...just another 6 more weeks of winter according to the groundhog's prediction for 2017!