Fight Colds and Flu this Winter

Avoid sniffles, sneezing and sore throats

Disease causing viruses or bacteria can enter your body simply by breathing or eating! Fortunately, only a few of these, particularly viral, ‘pathogens’ result in a cold or flu because you are equipped with an immune system specifically designed to fight off unwanted  invaders. That said, are you one of the many people, for whom a string of colds and flu is a way of life in winter? Perhaps getting rid of the seemingly endless sniffles, sneezing and sore throats seems like an unachievable ideal. Fortunately, it is possible to improve your immune system function and reduce the frequency and severity of those nasty winter lurgies with a bit of awareness and some simple strategies.

5 Tips to support your immune system

If you are stressed out, unfit, run down and/or have a diet that can be regarded as perhaps nutritionally poor, you may unknowingly be compromising your immune system’s defences and be more at risk of catching a winter virus. So, preparing your immune system to fight against this winter’s lurgies begins with a few simple preventative measures:

  1. Reduce stress – being stressed  reduces immune system  function,  so make sure you have regular time-out.  Meditation or ‘green’ time outdoors like taking a walk or playing with pets are wonderful unwinding activities.
  2. Enjoy regular exercise – remaining active reduces the risk of catchin a cold by up to 46%;
  3. Sleep. Aim for 7 to 8 hours each night to restore energy and improve resilience.
  4. Eat enough veggies (and fruits) – at least three cups of fresh vegetables and/or salad, plus two serves of fresh fruit every  day!  Fill  your plate with a rainbow of colour to ensure an abundance of essential nutrients and antioxidants that will help support healthy immune system  cells. 
  5. Regularly wash your hands – simple soap and warm water helps reduce cross-contamination from unwell people.

Even though being prepared is the best strategy – realistically it may be difficult to achieve everything you are ‘meant’ to do, which is where our naturopaths can  help.

Our Ringwood naturopaths use natural medicines to create an individualised prescription for your needs, making  a lasting difference to your health and vitality throughout Winter. And if  appropriate we can even use our Stress Less, Wellness and Healthy Ageing Programs to further guide you.

Marvellous  medicinal mushrooms
Now, if you are one of those people that experiences recurrent infections then your immune system could benefit from some more specific additional support. The advantage of natural medicine is that it is not just to treat illness, but improve your own natural immune defences. For example, the immune-boosting medicinal mushrooms are great. They include cordyceps, coriolus, shiitake and reishi mushrooms which are traditionally used as well as widely-studied and clinically proven. Individually, each species of mushroom has demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in immune enhancement, to help resolve chronic, and/or recurrent infectious conditions. What’s more, this combination of mushrooms provides symptomatic relief of upper respiratory tract infections, including the reduction of mucus congestion.

Healthy gut – healthy immune system!

Did you know that approximately 70% of your immune system is located in your digestive system? This emphasises how important it is to also look after your gut health. Many people are aware that certain probiotics can support digestion, but did you know there are specific probiotics that support a healthy immune system? The beneficial strains, Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9, Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG®)  all  help enhance immune system function, making this combination a valuable aid to winter wellness.

Since a healthy immune system is supported by the right microbial balance in your gut, speak to our Naturopaths about which probiotic combination is the most appropriate, to help overcome your immune system concerns.

No need to hibernate

There’s no need to experience ongoing or recurrent illness this winter, or hide away at home on the  couch.  Start  by  modifying what needs to change in your diet and lifestyle, and speak to Naturopaths at Your Wellness Centre today about specific strategies to help support a healthy and resilient immune system and avoid any winter worries.