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A customer asked me the other day what I’d recommend as an immune booster. So this got me thinking and I put together my favourite remedies to take this time of year - before you ever get sick. The spate of colds and flu that come this time of year are only round the corner. What if, this winter, you discovered some simple ways to boost your immune system so you won't get sick?
Echinacea is a natural antibiotic and immune system enhancer from the First Nations herbal tradition. Before using conventional antibiotics for common infections, try Echinacea. It is available in tincture, tablet, and extract forms. To test that the Echinacea product is effective, put some of the tincture, extract, or crushed tablet or capsule on the tongue for a few minutes. It should have a really strong, bitter taste.
Flower and fruit extract is effective in shortening the duration and lessening the symptoms of influenza A and B. It activates the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine (a protein that triggers response to infections) production and stimulates the immune system by increasing production of disease-fighting lymphocytes. The flavonoids present in elderberry extract are among the most potent natural antioxidants available. Try the Pukka Elderberry syrup – that’s our favourite.
(Allium sativum) is one of the best antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal herbs. It’s the original superfood. Allicin is a sulphur compound in garlic with well-known, strong antibiotic effects. A traditional home remedy for colds is to eat two cloves of raw garlic at the onset of symptoms. If you swallow chopped garlic but don't chew it, it’s said the garlic odour won't stay on your breath. We prefer to use the Quest Kyolic Garlic, each tablet has 1000mg of strong garlic and it is odourless too.
Bacteria that are friendly to the human body are necessary for proper development of the immune system, protection against disease-causing agents, and for better digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. Friendly bacteria come from two main groups, lactobacillus or bifidobacterium. Probiotics are available as dietary supplements (capsules, tablets, and powders), and in foods such as yogourt and kefir. Read the ingredient list to make certain live bacterial culture is in the product and it contains no additives (such as sugar or stabilizers). Health food stores are the best source for high quality, unadulterated yoghurt.
You can also get high strength probiotics in capsule or powder form. We like the Udo’s range, especially the “Super 8” so called because it contains 8 strains of bacteria which replicates a healthy adult gut
Vitamin C promotes a healthy immune system, helps heal wounds, maintains connective tissue, and aids in the absorption of iron.
In a 2004 study from the University of Texas, Health Science Center, the white blood cells of 12 patients were examined before and after each patient took 1g of vitamin C daily for two weeks. Researchers analyzed the cells’ ability to make antiviral compounds.
The scientists found an increase in the cells’ antiviral activity after the two weeks of vitamin C supplementation. The study data suggests the usefulness of vitamin C in modulating the immune system in human subjects. The NHP Vitamin C capsules are our favourite.
Essential to the human body, zinc is especially useful to our immune systems. Zinc deficiency that causes impaired immune function can be reversed by adequate supplementation; however, this should always be done under the supervision of a health care professional as very high levels of zinc can actually impair the immune system.
A strong immune system is the foundation that good health is built and maintained upon. Our ability to resist or to quickly recover from common infections such as colds and flu can be fortified by regularly taking one of these immune-boosting supplements that our bodies need. Enjoy this Autumn by staying healthy!
You can find all these products and more at www.healthyliving.ie