Though colds and flu are rarely life-threatening, many working days are lost and many appointments spoiled due to runny noses, sore throats and hacking coughs. In any year, it is thought approximately 70 per cent of people suffer with colds, 29 per cent with flu, 57 per cent with coughs and sore throats and 46 per cent with stuffy noses - quite a catalogue of discomfort.
Immune health is dependent upon many factors, including a low sugar diet, adequate sleep and a good balanced diet including a broad mix of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. There are times however, when your immune system may need a helping hand, such as during a cold or infection.
Many medicines have very powerful effects and can halt the symptoms of a cold very quickly, but natural practitioners would advocate a more holistic approach to infections, allowing the body to heal itself. In fact, some of the symptoms, such as a runny nose, are nature’s way of expelling the virus and bacteria and as such should be allowed to run their course. However, there are a few steps everyone can take to support their own body’s immune defenses, including:
- Add more whole grains and vegetables to your diet.
- Reduce the intake of sugar and alcohol.
- Increase intake of anti-stress nutrients, such as foods and/or supplements high in B-vitamins, Vitamin C and magnesium.
- Drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of pure water a day.
- Increase intake of carotenoid rich foods, plus those abundant in Zinc and Vitamin C
- Feed your own immune defenses with foods rich in elderberries (fruit) and Beta Glucans (porridge) or supplement with high dose extracts.
- Keep warm with herbs such as ginger and ginkgo