Top 10 natural ways to support your immune system during cold and flu season

1. Pump up the zinc

Stress, poor diet and gut issues will decrease your zinc. It doesn’t hurt to supplement with 25mg of zinc bis-glycinate, zinc citrate or zinc piccolinate each night with meals throughout this season (never on an empty stomach or it will give you nausea).

The immuno-compromised or those with Pyrroluria may require much higher doses. Always seek professional advice before taking.

Foods highest in zinc include oysters, meats, organ meats, and shit-loads of pumpkin seeds.

2. Make sure your vitamin D levels are over 100.

Vitamin D is an immune-modulator. Those low in Vitamin D are more prone to the cold and flu, asthma, pneumonia, fatigue and more.

If you’re not getting full body sun-exposure every day (which let’s face it, none of us are once it’s getting cold), you can try supplementing 2000IU per day. Therapeutically, I may supplement this dose much higher depending on your latest blood test results.

I use a Nanocelle Vitamin D3 spray with my clients for increased bio-availability.

3. Eat stacks of vitamin C-containing foods.

Now you could supplement with Vitamin C… And sometimes you need to.

But vitamin C is SO abundant in foods that you really should be looking to food first. Think all your dark leafy greens, parsley, citrus, berries and capsicum.

TIP: NEVER boil these veggies as you will lose all the vitamin C in your water. And make sure your fruit and vege is as fresh as possible as vitamin C declines rapidly once picked.

If you have to supplement vitamin C, separate the dose into 3x 1000mg per dose as your body can only absorb a certain amount at once.

4. Look after your gut!

If your gut has been compromised, you’ve had anti-biotics, or you’re prone to IBS and bloating, your immune system is compromised.

Eat a diverse range of coloured plant foods each week, and include lots of garlic, onion, legumes, and artichokes as these feed our beneficial bacteria that will strengthen the immune system!

Also consider fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria such as sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefir, tempeh, miso etc.

We also have specific probiotic strains made into immune-specific probiotic supplements available.

Oh and might I add, antibiotics are never appropriate for viruses as they 1) don’t target viruses (they target bacteria) and 2) will leave your gut prone to becoming more susceptible to being sick.

5. Take immune herbs

Herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years. We have some terrific herbs for modulating the immune system (meaning it either stimulates it, or decreases it when required), such as echinacea.

For a stronger hit, Echinacea purpurea has been found to be superior to Echinacea angustifolia (although still effective). You can find E. purpurea in my Immune Boost tea.

Naturopathically, we have loads of symptomatic herbs that can be easily consumed in teas for coughs, sore throat, fatigue and malaise. Just some of these herbs include licorice root, siberian ginseng, elderflower and astragalus.

For acute viral infections, your naturopath can make you up a stronger tincture containing herbal extracts. Often the bitter the better (soz about that… you’ll love me later, promise). I love to dose my sick clients with a good dose of andrographis which is a potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Along with a few other applicable herbs, many of my clients find they feel better within 24 hours.

6. Cut the sugar

We all know it’s not great for us. But are you still ignoring this advice? Soft drinks, lollies, chocolate and baked goods (including their savoury counterparts) feed bad bacteria in our gut. It also causes inflammation and lowers our immune system.

If you find you’re prone to sugar cravings then you may have bacterial overgrowth, candida overgrowth, or blood sugar dysregulation. A great place to start is by using blood sugar regulating herbs such as true cinnamon and gymnema which you can find in the Metabolise Tea.

7. Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night

If you’re getting anything less, your body doesn’t have a chance to heal, clear out excess glucose, and clean up debris in the brain (this is why sleep-dep is also linked with Alzheimer’s).

Tips to get more restful sleep include avoiding screens 1 hour before bed, use an eye mask, try self-guided meditations, use magnesium bis-glycinate, and drink herbs like passionflower. The Calm Me Tea is a great one to help you drift off.

8. Reduce stress

In case you needed another bloody excuse to stress less, here’s another one. Stress uses up B vitamins, zinc and magnesium at the rate of knots. Stress, which is the fight or flight response (the sympathetic nervous system) also shuts down important digestive processes which will therefore effect your microbiome.

Adopting regular mindfulness breathing techniques, meditation and/or yoga is a brilliant way to do this. The Calm Me Tea will also help you get into this restful state.

You can also download my free Meditation Guide here.

9. Eat more medicinal mushrooms!

Did you know that an active constituent found in reishi mushroom is already being used against COVID-19 in hospitals in the Wuhan region of China? (Source: Metagenics).

The extract called “active hexose correlated compound”, AHCC, has already been found to be effective against influenza B virus in the elderly in 20 human clinical trials, as well as being affective against several other viruses. Studies are still underway for AHCC against COVID-19 as it’s still so new, however it looks promising.

As well as reishi (which is found in my new chocolate latte Adaptamine), we also have cordyceps, which is a potent immune-modulating herb, anti-inflammatory and so much more. You can find Cordyceps and the nootropic mushroom ‘Lions Mane’ in my new Golden Hour turmeric latte.

Also consider adding shiitake mushrooms to your dinner!

10. Use shit-loads of garlic

Do not underestimate the power of garlic. I feel like when something becomes common, it may loses it’s power in terms of the way people think about it. But time and time again, garlic comes up as one of the strongest anti-bacterials and anti-fungals in human, in-vitro, and in-vivo studies against a variety of strains.

Pack in garlic, ginger, turmeric and onion wherever you see fit, as all of these pungent foods are incredible for supporting the body’s immune system, gut health and reducing inflammation.

Better still, make a good old slow-cooked chicken soup (include the bones) with all of these ingredients plus shiitake mushrooms, oregano and thyme with a squeeze of lemon and you’ve got yourself a full spectrum multi-vitamin and flu-fighting medicine in one delicious bowl!

Oh, and obvs drink plenty of water. Around 2L per day.

If you’re already dreading the cold and flu system because you know you’re prone to getting sick, then let me help you strengthen your immune system before it’s too late! And if you are already sick, I can prescribe the right herbs and nutrients to knock it on its head.

Click here to book a consult.


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