The common cold is a viral infection of your upper respiratory tract this is your nose and throat. We’ve all experienced the wrath of the common cold at some point in our lives and because any one of the more than 100 viruses can cause a common cold, signs and symptoms tend to vary greatly from a runny nose, sore throat, cough, watery eyes, sneezing and congestion.
With winter now upon us, it brings with it dry and cool conditions, conditions viruses thrive in as it allows the viruses to live longer and also the thin air accompanying these conditions allows those viruses to spread like wild fire.
The Medical Sanctuary has compiled a list of power packed foods and nutrients to help bolster up your natural defences as the cold and flu season hits its peak.
Some research has suggested that green tea is helpful in fending off the bugs that cause the flu, diarrhoea, whooping cough, pneumonia and even tooth decay. Aim for 1 to 2 cups daily for general health. If you’re sick, try to drink 3 to 4 cups a day.
Number 1 source of the immune-supporting antioxidant mineral selenium. When low on selenium, our white blood cells are slower to kill off microbes. Each brazil nut contains 30-40mcg of selenium. RDI for selenium, men 70mcg & women 60mcg, though some experts believe 200mcg a day is more beneficial.
Fights off viruses and is also an edible antibiotic. Chop or crush your garlic allowing it stand for 10mins to allow the compounds to fully release. Aim for 1 clove a day. READ MORE
Fruit & Vegetables
Brightly coloured fresh fruit and vegetables offer a wealth of antioxidants, substances our immune system need in vast quantities when we’re sick or under stress. The greater the variety of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables the more antioxidants you will consume. Try red grapes, carrots, citrus fruits, carrots and sweet potato. Aim for seven to ten servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
Probiotics enhance the natural immune system by improving digestion and nutrient absorption and thus preventing an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast in your gut. Quality counts so look for formulas that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium.
Zinc is essential for the development and activation of T cells – white bloods cells that help fight infection. Because you may not get all the zinc you need from your diet, you may want to get more from supplements. Some studies have suggested that taking zinc may reduce your risk of succumbing to a cold. RDI: men 14mg & women 8mg, however, some practitioners recommend taking up to 25mg a day.
B vitamins including folic acid
B vitamins are involved in many components of the immune system, such as antibodies and white blood cells. When we don’t get enough B vitamins, we don’t make enough of these infection fighters, leaving us vulnerable to illness. Try and find a good quality B-complex supplement and follow the label instructions for dosage.
Vitamins A, C & E
Vitamins A & C help fortify the body’s physical barriers, building collagen and strengthening the mucous membranes so germs are less able to slip through. Vitamin C also ensures the body has enough infection-fighting T cells, and vitamin E partners up with vitamin C to protect immune cells from free radical damage. RDI Vitamin E men 10mg & women 7mg, Vitamin A men 900ug & women 700ug and Vitamin C 45 mg.