TOP TIPS TO KEEP YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY THIS WINTER.
Scientists have failed to find the cure for the common cold because it is you, the host, and your defences – not the invader – which is important.
The best way to minimise your chances of getting an infection and recovering rapidly is to boost your immune system. The immune system is our body’s natural defence system against disease. It is made up of a complex network of tissues, organs, cells and chemicals that protect the body from infection and fight illness.
LET FOOD BE YOUR MEDICINE
An inadequate diet compromises the immune system by depleting the body of the essential nutrients that play an important role in maintaining this intricate system. A healthy, balanced diet will improve your health and protect you from infection.
1. PROTECT YOURSELF WITH VITAMINS
A good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement can provide extra insurance against getting colds and flu during the winter months. Rich sources of vitamin C include berries, citrus fruits and peppers. Vitamin D is important for immune function; increase the intake of oily fish, eggs and green leafy vegetables.
2. BOOST YOUR INTAKE OF FOODS CONTAINING ZINC
Zinc is integral to good immune function and found in lean meats, seeds, whole grains and legumes. Both zinc and vitamin C have anti-viral activity, especially against several of the viruses that cause the common cold.
3. CHOOSE GLUTAMINE- RICH FOODS
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Glutamine is used as a fuel by the cells of the immune system. Adequate levels of healthy proteins are needed for the immune system when we are ill or under stress. Glutamine – rich foods include poultry, fish and legumes.
4. EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Select colourful fruits and vegetables which will be packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Antioxidants protect our body from excess free radical damage, which is associated with illness and compromised immunity. Aim for at least 5 portions a day and select a rainbow of colours to ensure a good range of nutrients.
5. EAT THE RIGHT FATS
The types of fat you consume have a significant impact on your health and immunity. The essential fats are found in nuts, seeds and oily fish. Saturated animal fats from red meat and full fat dairy produce should be minimised.
6. INCLUDE FOODS WITH MEDICINAL QUALITIES
Use garlic and ginger in your cooking. Garlic contains sulphur compounds which have powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial agents. Add ginger, cinnamon and lemon to a mug of hot water for soothing drink.
7. REDUCE YOUR SUGAR INTAKE
Eating too much sugar is detrimental to the immune system and depletes levels of vitamin C. Excess sugar in the diet also puts a great deal of stress on the body.
8. AVOID ACIDIC FOODS IF YOU HAVE A COLD
Mucus forms the first line of defence against airborne infections. It contains leukocytes, which are the primary cells that fight infection and tissue damage. An excess of acid – forming foods will supress the immune system and promote increased mucus production. The excess mucus creates congestion, which acts as a conductor for the growth of bacteria and viruses.
9. KEEP YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALTHY
Your GI tract houses two-thirds of your immune system and is the biggest interface with the outside world. Each day you eat hundreds of germs, most of which die in the saliva or stomach acid. Healthy bacteria in the gut are killed off by antibiotics, so a course of probiotics is especially useful when you are taking antibiotics.
10. MINIMISE STRESS
Shor –term stress can actually boost the immune system. However, chronic longer term stress has a negative impact because excess adrenaline and cortisone will lower immune system function.
11. REST, RELAX & SLEEP
It’s easy to forget the importance of rest for good health and wellbeing, but getting sufficient sleep and finding time for relaxation will keep your immune system strong. When we sleep, our immune system is replenished improving our resistance to infection. A lack of sleep also depletes our body of many nutrients, especially magnesium and vitamin C.
BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY TEA RECIPE
1tsp green tea
1 tsp dandelion
1 tsp barley
The pips from 1 lemon – cut open
These herbs are all known for supporting the immune system. Add the ingredients to some boiling water.
ADVICE REGARDING HERBAL TINCTURES AND NUTRI-SUPPLEMENTS CAN BE GIVEN BY MAKING APPOINTMENT WITH THE NUTRITIONIST DR ZEEBA SHARIF WHO TREATS PATIENTS AT THE OSTEOPATHIC CLINIC.