Cold and flu season is upon us. The first line of defense is to wash your hands often, and keep your work area clean by wiping it down with an alcohol solution.
In addition, now is a great time to start boosting your immune system. A weakened immune system leaves your body susceptible to every cold and flu virus, especially during the holiday season when you are in close contact with others, often moving between time zones and changing climates.
So, how exactly do you go about boosting your immune system? There are a number of great methods. Below are ten recommendations that will boost your body’s immune system naturally.
1. Vitamin C: You are probably already aware of this reliable supplement. Your body cannot store vitamin C so it is dependent on your dietary intake. To make sure you are getting enough it is recommended to take 1,000 mg a day to fight off infection.
2. Goldenseal : You will find this remedy very effective in not only preventing infection but also reducing inflammation after you have a cough or flu symptoms.
3. Turmeric: This herb is a member of the Ginger family and also known as Curcuma. We have a good article on the UHR site on Turmeric along with a chicken recipe that uses this exotic spice. Animal research has shown this herb to be beneficial as an immune stimulant. Recommended dosage is 200 mg per day to support immune health.
4.Maitake: These mushrooms enhance immunity, and are especially effective in helping the body to inhibit cancer growth. Maitake appears to activate the immune response by stimulating the T- cells that are the body’s defense against viruses and cancer cells. Recommended dosage is 3-7 g per day.
5. Aloe Vera: Supplementation with Aloe Vera has been shown to be extremely effective in bolstering and balancing the immune system. Recommended dosage is a quarter glass of juice each morning. Take twice a day when you feel a cold or flu coming on.
6. L-Arginine: Is a non-essential amino acid that promotes wound healing and improves the immune response against bacteria, viruses and tumor cells. Levels of L-Arginine drop during periods of increased stress. Recommended dosage is 3-6 g per day.
7. Astragalus: Used for nearly 4000 years in traditional Chinese medicine. Early Chinese writings refer to it as “the superior tonic”. Astragalus is a favorite immune system builder among the natural health community. It is good for colds, immune- deficiency- related disorders, including AIDS, cancer, and tumors.
8. Black Tea: You may be able to boost your fight against the flu with black tea. In a recent study, people who gargled with a black tea extract solution twice per day showed a higher immunity to flu virus compared to the people who did not gargle with black tea. Black tea represents probably the single biggest source of flavonoids–a natural class of antioxidants that are found in many natural plant- derived foods.
9. Olive leaf: Olive leaf extract is a powerful tool in the fight to kill viruses such as the cold, herpes, and Epstein-Barr. Its power also extends to helping wipe out sinusitis and bronchitis, as well as reducing hypertension and cholesterol levels. The most important element in olive leaf extract is a compound called oleuropein. When purchasing this supplement, look for capsules standardized to 6 percent oleurpein. The recommended dose is 500 mg daily to fight an existing bacterial or viral infection.
10. Liquorice: Scientific studies have shown that liquorice stimulates immunity. Its ability to fight flu viruses and bacteria allows using it not only for treatment, but also for flu prevention during epidemics. Liquorice root should not be used in cases of high blood pressure, water retention, pregnancy or if on medication.
It is best to start thinking about immune health before you become ill with the cold or flu virus. Now is a great time to start improving your diet, learning to cope with stress and taking an inventory of the gaps in your diet to help decide which supplements will be of most benefit to you.
Here’s to your health!