Boost your Immunity this Cold & Flu Season
With winter quickly approaching and a busy holiday season around the corner, now is the perfect time to focus on boosting your immune system. Ensuring a strong foundation of health and introducing a few new tips and tricks will go a long way in decreasing your risk of getting the flu.
Here are a variety of ways you can help your body stay healthy during the cold and flu season.
Boosting Immunity Through Lifestyle & Everyday Items
1) Warming socks (see instructions at the end of this article)
Warming socks are a wonderful and effective treatment for any condition where there is congestion and heat in the head and upper body. The treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.
2) Eating foods rich in vitamin C & eating a whole foods diet.
Vitamin C concentrations in the plasma and leukocytes decline rapidly during infections and times of stress. Taking a vitamin C supplement and eating vitamin C rich foods improves components of the human immune system such as antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities, lymphocyte proliferation, chemotaxis, and delayed-type hypersensitivity. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of foods such as, red peppers, oranges, mangoes and kale.
Eating a whole foods diet will help ward off infection as processed foods can compromise our immune system. When you are sick your body searches for Vitamin C, but refined sugar can make it difficult to find. Sugar is broken down into glucose, and this glucose is similar in its chemical structure to Vitamin C. This means when your body tries to use the Vitamin C, it often grabs the glucose instead of the vitamin. This decreases your body’s immune system’s ability to fight which causes infection to spread. If you have already caught the flu and are not able to easily digest foods, bone broth is a good way to get protein and amino acids. It is nutrient dense and also effective as a flu prevention method.
3) Managing Stress
The holidays can be a stressful time for people and learning how to effectively manage this stress is an important part of boosting your immunity. There are a number of different methods individuals can introduce to their daily routine to manage stress including meditation, yoga, journaling, getting organized (managing time) and getting regular exercise.
Make sure to aim for 8hrs of sleep per night, as lack of sleep will impair cytokine and antibody production, which are both necessary to help your body fight illness. A 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed the sleeping habits of 153 volunteers for 14 days straight. Researchers found that people who got less than seven hours of sleep were nearly three times as likely to develop a cold than those who got eight hours or more rest a night.
Boosting Immunity with Supplements & Natural Products
Chaga is considered a ‘medicinal’ mushroom with strong benefits for the immune system. It has been shown to increase natural kill (NK) cells’ activity by up to 300% and contains large amounts of SOD (superoxide dismutase) – a potent antioxidant.
JHS Natural Products Chaga Capsules, $64.75
Giddy YoYo Wild Chaga Tea, $23.99
Research shows that zinc can interfere with the molecular process that causes mucus and bacteria to build within the nasal passages. Ionic zinc, based on its electrical charge, has the ability to exert an antiviral effect by attaching to receptors in nasal epithelial cells and blocking their effects.
A 2015 analysis of clinical trials found that oral zinc helps to reduce the length of colds when taken within 24 hours after symptoms start. (Zinc can interact with certain medications, so talk to your pharmacist or healthcare professional first!) Ref: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/flucold.htm
CanPrev Zinc Bis-Glycinate Capsules, $16.99
3) Vitamin D
Many Canadians are prone to Vitamin D deficiency as our time outside is limited in the colder months. A strong connection has been made between people with low levels of Vitamin D and being more susceptible to colds or flu. Vitamin D can also increase energy levels and lower blood pressure.
A large meta-analysis done by the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of respiratory infections such as the cold and flu. Ref: http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6583
CanPrev D3 in Organic Coconut Oil Softgels, $14.99
CanPrev D3 Drops, $12.99
Specific strains of probiotics (L. paracassei, L.plantarum) have been shown to reduce the number outbreaks and symptoms associated with the common cold. When it comes to probiotics, it’s not always “more is better”. Look for a strain that has been proven for the indication you are looking for – in this case, protection from cold & flu!
Metagenics UltraFlora Cold Support Capsules, $36.30
5) Vitamin C
Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system and reduces the risk for chronic degenerative diseases. It is also a powerful “antioxidant in the blood and cellular tissues throughout the body which is vital for the maintenance of good health.
LivOn Lipo-Spheric Vitamin C, $49.95
6) Bone Broth
Bone broth is a highly nutrient-dense food. It is rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium, in forms the body can easily absorb. Drinking a cup of hearty bone broth every day also may help improve digestion, fight infection, build muscle, reduce joint pain and inflammation throughout the body
Broya Bone Broth, Chicken or Beef flavour, $9.99
Boosting Immunity at Wellth
1) IV Drip Therapy
Start the winter season off right with I.V. vitamin & mineral therapy. When you don’t have time to look after your body with nutritious food and rest IV Therapy helps to defend and strengthen your immune system. IV Therapy can ward off or shorten the duration of those nasty cold and flu viruses to keep you thriving not just surviving through the winter ahead (Book Here)
2) Flu Shot
Vaccination is the best protection from the flu! Visit us at Wellth and get your flu shot, quickly and easily. Best of all, it’s available at no cost to you, covered by the Ontario Government – Be sure to bring your OHIP card!! The flu shot is especially important for older people (65+), pregnant women, and people with chronic disease, who are more susceptible to severe effects (hospitalization, death) from the influenza.
Warming Socks Instructions
Warming socks are best done before going to bed, leaving them on while sleeping. It’s an especially effective and easy treatment for children during naptime too. This treatment works best if repeated for three nights in a row, or as instructed specifically for you.
Pair of medium weight 100% cotton socks
Pair of thick 100% wool socks
Make sure your feet are warm before applying treatment. If they are not, warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5- 10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 5- 10 minutes. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.
Soak cotton socks in icy cold water, wring out well and put on feet.
Put heavy wool socks over the wet socks, being sure that the dry wool socks cover all of the wet cotton socks.
Leave on overnight (or remove when cotton socks are dry).
Effects of the Warming Sock Treatment
This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.
What conditions are warming socks used for?
- sprains, strains, pain, inflammation of feet/ankles
- ear infections
- sore throats
- nasal congestion
- upper respiratory infection
- sinus infections