When you think about it, your immune system has one hell of a job. Day in day out, it's protecting you against undesirable micro-organisms. Sometimes though, whether it's down to a change in the weather or the fact that you've been running on empty for too long, your immunity is lowered and you wind up stuck in bed (and for this here writer, that tends to happen just before Christmas, and last right through to New Year's, it's fantastic really).
As we begin to feel the nip in the air, we've been sharing tips between ourselves here at IMAGE Publications on how we keep ourselves fighting fit when it seems like everyone else around us is dropping like flies. Here's 5 natural goodies that will help towards keeping your immune system in tip top condition. Of course there are many many more, but alas, we can only fit so much on one page!
Our go to herb for the treatment of colds and flus, echinacea actually works best as a preventative measure, if you take about 8 drops in a glass of water per day, to make sure you keep those nasties at bay and strengthen your resistance. This perennial plant encourages the immune system along, particularly your upper respiratory system while reducing your chance of obtaining cold or flu symptoms.
IMAGE Magazine editor Rosie McMeel says this is the bees knees of immunity boosters. Even more so than echinacea. And speaking of bees knees, this stuff actually comes from bees too! Propolis is a resin-like material obtained from beehives after the bees themselves have gathered it from certain trees and vegetables. While our furry little friends gather it for the sole purpose of disinfecting their beehives, it's been highly regarded in human use for its therapeutic properties, principally for its action on our defense system. It also boasts anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties.
3. Oregano Oil
A lot of why we suffer with our immune system comes down to what's happening in our gut. Keeping your gut healthy with the right balance of bacteria will be key to your overall health and well being. Oregano oil has been touted as a great cleanser for your gut, which, as per Dr. Oz, acts a sort of weed killer for your immune system that washes away any unwanted bad bacteria that's been hiding in your digestive system. A healthy digestive system is your doorway to whole body wellness.
4. Cruciferous vegetables
Yes, we are that mother that points and warns that you really ought to be eating more greens, especially the cruciferous ones (kale, broccoli, cabbage etc). Why? Because these keep your liver ticking over, which is essential in terms of detoxifying all that comes into your body, so that your immune system doesn't suffer. If your liver is struggling to flush out toxins, you'll notice it in the form of nasty colds and flus.
One of our favourite ingredients, whether we're slicing it up for a stir fry or blitzing it as part of our juicing, ginger is your best friend when it comes to strengthened immunity. Where this will help you is in its ability to break down the toxins that can accumulate in your lungs and sinuses, where most of us suffer at this time of year. As per the wonderful world of Ayurveda, ginger keeps your airways and your lymphatic system cleansed and open, reducing your chance of obtaining an infection.
The best thing to do, is find a herbal supplement that works for you, be it propolis or echinacea, and take it preventatively as we go through the winter. On top of that, when it comes to getting those immunity boosting superfoods into your daily routine, the best thing to do is juice. Whether you invest in a decent juicer at home or a Nutri Bullet (which breaks down nuts too and makes the most amazing smoothies), starting your day with a cocktail of superfoods is your one way ticket to improved well being. Be sure to pack in the leafy greens, those anti-oxidant berries, ginger, avocado and more. They make for a really easy breakfast that you can have with you on the go, happy in the knowledge you won't have to sit down to a whole plate full of boring vegetables.
Other supplements to keep in mind that you can add to juices or smoothies:
Have you got immunity boosting tips of your own to share?