The clocks have changed, the beautiful colours of autumn are all around us and the weather is getting colder. It is that time of year again when cold and flu become more widespread and we start thinking about how we can boost our immunity. So here are a few of my favourite immune supporting supplements and foods that can help at this time of the year.
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin. I am sure we have all heard about how great this vitamin is by now. Our bodies produce Vitamin D when UV rays reach our skin, something that is quite rare in this country, especially in the winter! Research has shown that Vitamin D can help to support our immune systems and those with adequate amounts are less likely to suffer with frequent colds during the winter months. I would recommend taking between 1000-4000mg of Vitamin D daily.
Vitamin C and Zinc: Vitamin C and Zinc have also shown to improve our immunity and reduce the severity of a cold. I often recommend that people can take higher amounts of Vitamin C during a cold as the body will use what it needs and excrete what it doesn’t (if you get loose stools you are probably taking too much).
Herbs: Echinacea is a commonly used herb for this time of year as well. There have been lots of studies that show how this herb can increase the productivity of our immune cells. Another herb that I recommend a lot when working in health food shops is Bronchoforce by Vogel. It contains Ivy, Thyme and liquorice and can help to break down excess mucous and catarrh in the respiratory tract. It is great for chesty coughs and I have seen great results with it. Plantago by Vogel is another great herb and can be used for sinus congestion, middle ear infections and catarrh. It is a natural antibiotic and can help to reduce ear infections.
Dietary Changes: Sugar can actually decrease the activity of the immune system so the less processed sugar during an illness the better. Focus on low GI fruits such as berries, apples and pears. Reduce all processed foods as much as possible and focus on wholegrains, green leafy vegetables, healthy proteins and a rainbow diet. Colourful foods are rich in the vitamins and minerals we need to fight infection so aim for as many colours of the rainbow as possible.
These are just a few of my favourites, there are so many great supplements that can help to support immunity. We are all very different and what works for one person may not be the right thing for someone else. Also some supplements can interfere with medications so always check with your pharmacist if you are unsure.
For an individualised programme please do get in touch.
I wish you all a happy and healthy November!