Boost Your Immune Response
Four Natural Flu Fighters
Q: Like clock work, every year around the end of October I come down with a sore throat and a bad cold that turns into a cough. What can I do to try and keep from getting sick or at the very least, speed up the healing process? – Alan 30, Scarborough
A: The warm sunny months are sadly behind us, and it’s time to beef up our defense system against cold and flu season. Here are some key players in boosting your immune response and fighting off viruses and bacteria.
Those who read my column know I’m a fan of medical mushrooms and have spoken about them many times. Mushrooms provide building blocks for the body on a cellular level: polysaccharides to increase the activity & effectiveness of natural killer cells and macrophages in our immune system; antioxidants to neutralize free radicals; they support stress management and reduce fatigue; improve general fortitude and augment the body’s immune defenses. Strengthen your whole system in preparation for cold and flu season by investing in a mushroom blend supplement with ingredients such as Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Maitake, Agaricus etc.
In the colder months with less sun exposure, it’s important to be mindful of supplementing with Vitamin D. The sunshine vitmain has been found to play an important role in the immune response and enables the body to produce antimicrobial peptides to help fight off infections. More and more research is being done to further explore the postive effects of Vitamin D on immune function. Ask your doctor to check your vitamin D blood levels to help determine what dose you should be supplementing with.
One of the most beneficial forms of honey hails from New Zealand, and it’s called Manuka honey. While most regular raw honey contains amino acids, B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc, Manuka honey is said to be 4x more concentrated in these nutrients. However, its most distinguishable features are its very potent and stable antibacterial properties. Its amazing antimicrobial benefits have helped solidify Manuka honey’s place in the natural health world. Traditionally used both topically and internally, it has been found to help SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), improve wound healing, burns, and ulcers, decrease inflammation, stimulate immune cells, and soothe and heal sore throats and sinus infections.
Elderberry & Echinacea
Elderberry has been a part of traditional medicine in Europe for centuries. These berries are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, vitamin C and A, potassium, and iron. They have a history of being used to treat cold and flu sysmptoms, as well as sinus and chest congestion. Elderberry syrup is surprisingly tasty and easy to take and can be found on its own or in natural cough syrup formulas.
Echinacea is widely known for its antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been found clinicially significant in both preventing and shortening the duration and severity of a common cold.