As we witness the change of season and the weather takes a crisp turn, we start to see a common theme in the clinic. Sniffles, scratchy throats and seal-like coughs creeping in. We hate to see our patients falling ill, so we created a small guide with key tips to help determine if your immune system is supported this winter.
Two of the major nutrients required to keep your immune cells fighting fit are zinc and vitamin C, which are required for the correct functioning of your white blood cells. Low levels of these nutrients suppress immune function.
Food sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, capsicum, berries, tomato, broccoli. Zinc food sources include shellfish, legumes, seeds – hemp, pumpkin and sesame, nuts – cashews, pine nuts, almonds, walnuts and meat.
Additionally, correct supplementation of these nutrients has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds and flus.
Mushrooms have been shown to increase the proliferation and function of your immune cells. Mushrooms are a powerhouse for immune system support and have been acknowledged by eastern medicine for thousands of years. Other additional benefits of Mushrooms include: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and cell-regenerating properties.
Garlic, Chilli and Onion
These three ingredients all aim to support the body’s natural defence system. Allicin, a compound in garlic, is known to boost the white blood cell’s response to illness. Onions also have multiple immunity-supporting compounds, whist green chillies in particular are rich in vitamin C and aim to boost resistance to infection.
A good organic bone broth that is long simmered contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals that have slowly been leached from the bones. Bone broth includes a number of components including gelatin which helps to heal the gut – why is this important? Because your gut wall is the home of 70% of the cells that make up your immune system!
Looking for a recipe? Be sure to ask your practitioner in clinic.
Or, if you don't have time to cook there is a great Bone Broth Product called Marrow and Meadow Bone Broth. They have conveniently done all the hard work for us, and developed a fresh, Bone Broth Paste - so no cooking is necessary.
Simply add 1 teaspoon of paste into hot water, and enjoy the benefits as a soup or warm drink. Or, you can add the paste straight into cooking. Marrow and Meadow Products can be purchased on the Gold Coast from the store/cafe Brio Emporium, located at Tree Tops Shopping Plaza, Burleigh Waters.
Easily digestible protein – wild caught fish, legumes, organic poultry, slow cooked grass-fed red meat.
Protein breaks down in to amino acids within the body, which are essential for the function of our white blood cells. Protein deficiency suppresses the immune response and increases the body’s susceptibility to infection.
Warming Spices –turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, chilli, cumin, paprika.
A lot of the above spices contain immune boosting and antioxidant benefits in their own rights but in thermal terms it’s important to keep the body warm, as cold and flu conditions are considered thermally cold.
Turmeric and ginger also provide antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, all of which help relieve those unfavourable flu symptoms.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Help your body keep fighting fit by consuming at least 1 - 3L of water per day (intake varies for person). By preventing your body from becoming dehydrated, also means you're preventing mood swings, blood sugar changes, headaches and migraines.
Dairy – cheese, milk, yoghurt, cream, butter.
Dairy is a mucous forming food so when you are already suffering from phlegm you do not need to contribute to it, it will only aggravate existing phlegm caught in your throat, chesty coughs and congested nasal passageways.
Herbal medicine is a great way to keep the nasty bugs at bay. For acute presentations of colds and flus, your Naturopath can offer a duo of herbal tonics aimed at boosting your immune system. Of the two herbal liquids, one is solely focused on prevention and making sure you keep your immune system boosted to ward off anything that might be lurking. The other is for if you succumb to the throngs of illness, it will help to quicken your recovery and hopefully escape those lingering symptoms. Both tonics are available in the clinic. If you would like one or the pair, you’re welcome to contact the clinic and arrange to collect your herbal medicine.
In addition to herbal tonics, Chinese Medicine practitioners are able to prescribe certain capsule or granule herbal formulas to help assist with colds, flus, coughs, hayfever or sinus conditions.
While it is important to rest and rejuvenate during Winter, it is also important to find time for gentle exercise. This will help rid the body of excess stress hormones at the end of a long day. Gentle exercise can enhance sleep and boost your overall wellbeing due to increased oxygen and circulation throughout the body. Not to mention, gentle exercise helps our body clear waste material and makes us feel healthier and happier.
If you require any assistance with immune support please give us a call, or visit our contact page.
The team at Vyne Health wish you a warm and cosy winter.