Louise Hallinan is the international award-winning author of Smart Brain Healthy Brain and a Natural Health Practitioner. She founded the Smart Brain Health Centre in Sydney which specialises in mood and memory problems.
Winter is here which for many people can mean getting a cold or flu again this year. If this is you, then you don’t have to put up with getting sick again this winter. The best way to avoid getting colds and flu this season is to boost your immune system naturally.
Eating the right foods and supplementing with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients is the natural way to boost your immune system this winter to make sure that you can avoid the coughs, colds and flu this season.
There are quite a few vitamin and minerals that will help to support our immune system, but I have found that vitamin C, zinc, garlic and vitamin D are some of the best and most effective.
Vitamin C is really a powerhouse when it comes to boosting your immune system. It is a water-soluble vitamin and the dosage taken for Vitamin C powder that would be beneficial is 1,500mg daily. A deficiency in vitamin C has been related to an increase in the frequency and length of time you have the cold.
Food sources of Vitamin C
It is important to obtain vitamin C from the foods you eat. Some suggestions are: Berries, citrus fruits and green vegetables. Asparagus, avocados, broccoli, brussels sprouts, capsicums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, pineapple, kiwifruit, strawberries, papayas, spinach, kale, onions, parsley, green peas, tomatoes, red chilli and radishes.
Zinc is an important mineral needed to boost your immune system. Zinc is needed in small amounts every day in order to maintain health and perform important functions each day. Zinc benefits the body in many ways, helps with hormone production, growth and repair, improves immunity and helps with digestion. Zinc acts as an anti-inflammatory agent therefore zinc may have significant therapeutic benefits for several common chronic diseases.
Food sources of Zinc
We can obtain zinc from foods such as pumpkin seeds, cashews, chickpeas, mushrooms, grass fed beef, lamb, chicken and spinach.
Garlic has anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that can really help to prevent and relieve the common cold and other infections. The compound found in garlic, Allicin, is highly effective at killing countless micro-organisms responsible for some of the most common and rarest infections including the common cold.
Make sure that you include garlic in your diet, either raw or cooked. Another way of obtaining the beneficial effect of raw garlic (as cooking reduces some its health promoting compounds) is to supplement with Kyolic aged garlic extract.
Our modern lifestyle does not always allow for lots of time outdoors and as a result we don’t get the levels of Vitamin D that are required to keep our immune system strong.
Vitamin D enhances our immune system. Our immune cells contain receptors for Vitamin D and it has been shown that it seems to prevent prolonged or excessive inflammatory responses.
Two types of Vitamin D
It is important to know that there are two types of Vitamin D – Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is the synthetic form of Vitamin D and is not suitable as a supplement.
Vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D that occurs naturally in the human body and is also nine times more effective than vitamin D2.
The dosage of Vitamin D3 supplement is 1,000 IU daily.
Food sources of Vitamin D
We can also obtain vitamin D from foods such as cod liver oil, butter, egg yolk, oatmeal, salmon, sardines, sweet potatoes and tuna.