There are so many of us who have been struck down by colds and flus since the start of this winter season. It seems to be a matter of when, not if we get sick. If you’re someone who gets more than 3 colds or flus per year, there might be more contributing to it than just bad luck.
First and foremost, cold and flu prevention is best carried out all year round with basics for wellbeing – eating a variety a fresh and seasonal produce, good sources of protein, healthy fats, avoiding processed foods, overconsumption of alcohol and caffeine, hydration, stress management and rest. If you’re like most people though, when life gets busy, our healthier habits are the first to go which is why it’s important to have a few things on hand for emergencies.
What’s in a Naturopath’s cabinent for Colds and Flu?
I like to keep the following supplements and of course my trusty herbs on hand:
- Zinc and Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Medicinal Mushrooms
But instead of just taking supplements for the sake of it, it helps to understand why.
Zinc and Vitamin C
Zinc has been shown to help regulate the immune response and reduce
inflammation ensuring your immune system will react appropriately. Your immune
system is meant to create inflammation to fight bugs but we don’t want it to over-
react leaving you with lingering unresolved inflammation afterwards. Vitamin C is
known to be a good source of antioxidants which helps to prevent damage after the immune response. It also helps to increase absorption of Zinc so that your body can use it better.
Much like Zinc, Vitamin D is a key nutrient for regulating the immune system. We have multiple ways our bodies can fight infections and depending on what bugs we come into contact with, it can skew our defences one way or the other causing an imbalanced response – meaning you might not have the troupes ready when you need them. Vitamin D helps to organise and balance the immune system so that the troupes are ready and waiting when they’re needed.
Quercetin is one of our other key antioxidant nutrients. It plays a key role in regulating Mast Cell Activation which is involved in histamine (think hayfever). It’s another part of the immune response and again, we don’t want to be over-reacting to anything. Quercetin helps to keep this in check which helps to reduce inflammation and prevent any tissue damage as a result.
Eyebright is a special herb that is specific for reducing severity of upper respiratory tract infections. It’s great for typical head-cold symptoms including sinusitis, rhinitis and even hayfever. It helps the immune system to fight infections but also has anti-inflammatory properties specific for the sinuses.
Medicinal mushrooms are becoming a bit of a buzz lately and rightly so! Mushrooms are rich in a substance called beta-glucans. Specific types of mushrooms play different roles in supporting our health. Some target the nervous system, others are for improving cognition but most of them have anti-inflammatory, immune-enhancing properties. Multiple studies can validate the use of medicinal mushrooms in helping to fight infections of all kinds, well beyond your average colds and flus.
If you’d like to find out if these nutrients and herbs might be appropriate and safe for you, it’s important to seek advice from a qualified Naturopath. Book a discovery call with Nicola to find out how you can protect yourself this winter!Book a consult with Nicola