Don’t wait to get sick- Our top tips for beating the cold and flu season.
Uh-oh, the weather is getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and the pesky cold and flu season is well on its way. The situation is looking bad. You’ve got a raspy, sore throat, congested sinuses, the dreaded body aches, and what is starting to feel like the mother of all headaches. Unfortunately, you have a huge workload with crazy deadlines, long days dropping the kids off at school and sports, and can’t afford any time off. Don’t wait until you get sick before deciding your immune system needs support. Get started on your immune boosting action plan now, and call in the troops to help ward off colds and flus this season.
Prevention is better than cure.
The first recruits to help you fight the battle against the common cold are zinc and vitamin C. If you or your family pick everything up, and are susceptible to catching the latest cold or flu on the circuit, zinc and vitamin C might be for you! Zinc and vitamin C have both been shown to reduce the duration and severity of colds by an average of 23%. Long term supplementation of zinc of up to five months has been shown to reduce infection rates, sickness-related absenteeism from work and the need for antibiotic prescriptions. Zinc and vitamin C enhance natural killer (NK) cell activity – as their name suggests, they target and kill virally infected cells, exactly what you need to fend off invading infections.
Here at Des Lardner’s Organic, our second recruit and ‘go-to’ immune tonic when we are sick is ‘EAT drops’. EAT is an abbreviation for a specialized herbal liquid formula containing the herbal medicines: Echinacea, Astragalus and Thyme. Echinacea boosts and regulates the immune system and helps upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). It is especially useful for nose and throat symptoms including runny noses, sore throats, tickly coughs, and sinus congestion. Studies have shown Echinacea to enhance white blood cell count and activity. This meanins it can support the number and efficiency of immune cell soldiers within the body, which improves their ability to identify both bacterial (colds) and viral (flu) infections, and fight them off. Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to support immune function and to help maintain healthy levels of stress longer term. Thyme has been traditionally used for conditions such as laryngitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis and cold-related coughs. It can help to breakdown upper respiratory phlegm and mucous production and therefore help to clear runny, snotty noses. Collectively these herbs are able to provide symptomatic relief from the common cold, enhance immune strength and function, and reduce upper respiratory tract symptoms such as sore throats, runny noses, and sinus congestion. From clinical experience we find our patients feel clearer in the head, less fatigued and report fewer sick days when they take our EAT drops.
Did you know 70% of your immune system is found in your gut?
It may be a surprise to hear that good gut health and certain probiotics can help influence your immunity. Eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and proteins will support long term gut and digestive health and protect you against illness. It is also important not to just grab any probiotic; there are a number of different strains that help to support different areas of health. Ask your healthcare practitioner or Naturopath about what strains can enhance your immunity. We recommend Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 and Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9. These two specific strains stimulate white blood cells called ‘macrophages’ to secrete important chemical signals that alert your immune system to mount an antiviral immune response and have been shown to reduce duration of colds and flus.
A combination of nutritional and herbal medicines can help to reduce the frequency and severity of cold and flu in your household and workplace this Winter. There are also a number of dietary suggestions we advise to adopt over Winter to keep your immune soldiers in check, including: chicken bone broths, manuka/medicinal honey tea, raw crushed garlic and fermented foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut and kombucha, just to name a few. You can also help support yourself by managing your stress levels (stress depletes your immune system) and exercising regularly. Come visit our staff at Des Lardner’s Organic or book an appointment for more information on practical steps to reduce the likelihood of you getting sick this Winter and enjoy the colder months by staying healthy and well.
Ebony Jordan- Naturopath
Des Lardner’s Organic