For invincible immunity this Winter

Wouldn’t you love to say “I haven’t had a cold in years”?The truth is a strong immune system is your best defence against disease. Your immune army inoculates you against invaders. Try these daily drills to strengthen your immune soldiers!

Your body can be compared to a car. Drive it too much and it wears out, not enough and it seizes up, drive badly and it breaks down. Similarly if you do anything too much, too little or incorrectly then your immune system suffers.

Immunity thrives on moderate and regular activities – rest, exercise, eating and working. Listen to your body by practising healthy habits and addressing imbalances immediately. As Benjamin Franklin noted, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Exercise waste away

A moving body flushes toxins through the lymphatics, pumping immune cells to needy areas. Consistent, correct exercise reduces colds by 50 per cent according to one study. Activity also stimulates the respiratory system to expel mucus and bowels to excrete waste.

Defence downers

When your body’s busy battling toxins like alcohol, cigarettes, chemicals and sugar it has less energy to eliminate infections. Toxins breed bugs like maggots on festering garbage. Banish bugs by eating pure unprocessed foods, drinking filtered water, regular cleansing and washing hands.

Immune armoury

Astragalus is a Chinese adaptogen increasing disease resistance by raising interferon, T-cells and red blood cells. It’s a herb to consider with hayfever, flu, colds and coughs related to stress.  Dr Mauligit of Texas University found it helped restore immune function in cancer patients. Those with a fever, autoimmune conditions or on lithium should seek medical advice before taking.

Elderberry comes from the sambucus tree which Hippocrates called his “medicine chest”. Its antioxidant flavonoids enhance immune function and reduce mucus.Several studies have shown its effectiveness against flu strains, reducing the duration and severity. It also combats sinusitis, sore throats, tonsillitis and bronchitis. Excess dosage can cause diarrhoea.

Echinacea. America’s top selling herb is a popular preventative against colds, flu and skin infections. Liquid Echinacea angustifolia at the onset stops a virus from spreading and Echinacea pallida heals skin infections. Echinacea is an effective lymphatic cleanser reducing tonsillitis and glandular fever.  It’s safe to take as a daily immune enhancer as a review of 14 clinical trials found it reduced colds by 58 per cent  and their duration by 1-4 days. Very rarely rashes and stomach upsets are an echinacea side effect.

Garlic cloves contain antibiotic allicin which is antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Some people prefer a supplement containing garlic’s infection fighting compounds rather than the eating the cloves whole and dealing with garlicky after breath! Research reveals garlic prevents and treats colds, coughs, candida and septic wounds. Garlic also reduces cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Garlic does increase the effect of blood thinning medications and can aggravate acidic reflux.

Iron is essential for energy and immunity. Anaemia, suffered by 70 per cent of Australian women, leaves us tired and low in infection fighting cells. Excess iron however breeds disease by feeding pathogens. The recommended dose for iron is for 8mg/day for men and 18 mg/day for women. The least constipating forms are ferrous fumerate and chelate. Vitamin C, B12, and Folic acid also aid iron’s absorption.

Vitamin C, lysine, olive leaf and zinc are excellent antivirals to prevent and treat conditions such as the flu, cold sores and fevers. A review of six studies found vitamin C reduced cold incidence by 50 per cent. High doses from 2-3g a day get reliable results. Research reveals zinc can cut down cold time by about 24 hours.

Vitamin D3 produces around 300 antimicrobial peptides that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Vitamin D deficiency makes us susceptible to infections with a study of 19,000 people showing those with low levels suffered more colds and flu. The best sources for vitamin D are sun, egg yolks, salmon and mushrooms.

Probiotics are good guys overruling bad bacteria. Harvard Medical School found that intestinal bacteria bolster the immune system by feeding T-cells.With 70 per cent of our immune system in our gut flora it flourishes with supplements such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. They also replenish your defence force after antibiotics annihilate it. Probiotics before bed increase immunity overnight.

Ginger winter warmer tea

Ginger has been known to help combat colds and flu. If you are suffering a cold, serve up a piping hot ginger tea or toddy to refresh and revive. In a cup of piping hot water add 50ml Rochester Ginger or Rochester Lemon Lime Ginger and stir. Garnish with slices of lemon. For a hot toddy pour into a saucepan and heat until piping hot, sip neat or add a tot of your favourite tipple! (rum, brandy or whisky).

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*Disclaimer: Some information as mentioned above has been extracted from the Go Mag.

Pictured is Pete & Lee Teusner of Go Vita Tanunda