where green living, parenthood, and interiors intersect

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Immunity Now!

I'm starting to hear a lot of people mentioning a tickle in their throat, which means the weather is turning and cold season is upon us. The big pharmaceuticals would like us to line up for flu shots as a way to fend off the season's viral attacks (see image above), but there are equally effective natural immune-boosting foods and supplements that can keep you well all Winter long, no injections required.

For prevention, my #1 choice is Garlic. It might make me less kissable, but a diet rich in fresh anti-viral and anti-bacterial garlic has powerful combative powers against colds and flus. Chew up a whole garlic glove, steep it in boiling water and drink it like tea, or dice up a fresh clove over any dish. The allicin compound found in garlic is only potent for a short time after chopping, so eat it while it's fresh for the most beneficial affects.

If chomping on a whole garlic clove isn't your thing, consider getting a Winter's worth of this bug-fighter with Shaklee's Garlic Complex which combines the health benefits of garlic with the antioxidant properties of spearmint and rosemary.

Other trusted immune-boosting standbys are drinking 2-3 cups of Green Tea every day, increasing your water intake to flush out toxins, plenty of sleep (yeah, right!), and reducing dairy intake to combat the overproduction of mucus in the respiratory that it can cause, allowing a happy place for bacteria and viruses to grow.

And as many of us know by know, 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive system, so proper gut function is paramount in fending off colds and flus. If you don't already take a Probiotic daily, then consider adding one to your regimen throughout the Winter.

If a cold does start to set in, the lauric acid in coconut oil weakens the coating around many viruses and will shorten the duration of your cold. The body also converts the laurie acid to monolaurin which helps you fight a wide range of viruses and bacteria. It also has similar antibacterial and antioxidant properties to garlic, and is an incredibly beneficial oil if you are trying to reduce pounds or cholesterol. You can eat spoonfuls of straight coconut oil or use it to prepare numerous foods.

When you feel the first tickle, there are also a number of immune-boosting herbs to ingest right away that will increase your chances of beating that cold. Shaklee's Defend & Resist contains some key players: "Echinacea Purpurea to stimulate the body’s natural resistance, Black Elderberry to help maintain a healthy immune response, and Larch Tree to enhance immune support."