The cold season is upon us again, and with it the frequent occurrence of sniffles & colds.
Before we dive into how to prime your immune system to keep those colds at bay, I want to remind you that colds are caused by viruses rather than bacteria, so taking antibiotics won’t work. According to the World Health Organisation antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats we currently face as a society, so they should be used with caution.
For more information go to: http://www.who.int/medicines/news/2017/world-running-out-antibiotics-WHO-report/en/
Did you know that about 70% of our immunity is housed in our digestive system? Keeping it as healthy as possible is, therefore, of paramount importance! The microbial community that lives in our digestive system plays an important role in immune system modulation. To ensure that the good 'gut bugs' are flourishing consume regularly prebiotic (e.g. onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke) and probiotic foods (e.g. raw sauerkraut, natto, tempeh, coconut kefir, natural yoghurt). To learn more about the microbial community, visit:
A robust immune system can generally handle those ‘cold invaders’ with ease. And we can keep it strong by doing the following:
· Optimizing our diet
· Getting enough sleep
· Staying away from sugar
· Exercising regularly
· Managing stress
· Practising good hand washing
· Maintaining good Vitamin D levels
Most cold viruses spread from hand to hand contact, rather than sneezing or coughing, so a good hand washing practice is essential.
Several studies have shown that Vitamin D is an important player in fending off colds, so if you haven’t done so already, get your Vitamin D levels checked. A Vitamin D test is inexpensive and most GPs should be able to assist you with that.
I have several trusted and tested foods, herbs and spices I use liberally all year round but comes autumn I ensure I have some of them daily.
My cold defence buddies:
* Garlic - a potent antimicrobial that tackles viruses, bacteria and fungi (ideally eaten raw; crush or finely chop it and let it sit for about 10 minutes before consuming it).
* Ginger (used to make fresh ginger tea or added to stews, soups and freshly made juices)
* Sage, oregano, rosemary (used liberally in soups & stews)
* Manuka honey UMF15+ (taken neat as heat damages its goodness)
Here is to a cold-free winter season!