Guest Post by Stephen Eddey, Naturopath and Nutritional consultant with Australis Natural Health College
Winter is coming soon bringing with it sniffles and coughs. Now is the time to consider strengthening your immune system in order to heal yourself naturally. The following seven ingredients boost your immunity and protect against winter illness.
- Fresh-picked olive leaf extract
Fresh-picked olive leaf extract has been traditionally used to support the immune system and relieve symptoms of colds, flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections. Fresh-picked olive leaf extract is a natural powerful antioxidant. It is advisable to choose olive leaf extract which is ‘fresh picked’ to ensure the olive leaves are processed at its freshest resulting in the highest quality and potency.
- Manuka honey
Published data suggests this healing honey stimulates immune cells[i] and stops the growth of Strep bacteria.[ii] It’s hardly surprising then that many people benefit from a spoonful of honey to help soothe a sore throat!
Research suggests that zinc helps control infections by slowing on the immune response in a way that prevents damaging, out-of-control inflammation. Researchers believe this may be why taking zinc tablets at the start of a common cold appears to help stem the effects of the illness.[iii]
Ginger has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It helps to boost immune function and combat cellular damage.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil in your diet may help to boost your immune system, as a Spanish research review found diets rich in olive oil are beneficial for the immune system.[iv]
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important part of the immune system. In the winter months the sun is at its lowest and our immune system is depleted. Our vitamin D levels fall and immune systems tend to weaken. Some studies have shown that people who have low vitamin D levels may have a higher chance of developing influenza.[v]
This herb can help kill bacteria and soothe an aching body. It also contains menthol, which acts as a decongestant. Sip on peppermint tea when you’re suffering from a cold, and you’ll reap the benefits!
Remember: supplementing your diet with immune boosters can be beneficial, but make sure you also cut out the processed foods that can work against you- yes, that’s right, a spoonful of Manuka Honey won’t be enough to counteract that entire block of chocolate (*sob*).
[v] Laaski I, Ruohola JP, Tuohimaa P, et al. An association of serum vitamin D concentrations <40 nmol/L with acute respiratory tract infection in young Finnish men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007;86:714-717.