The flu season should be almost over, right? Unfortunately I’m still seeing patients coming to the clinic in droves sicker than ever. Boosting your immune system can be as simple as focusing on some great food choices!

Eating locally and seasonal– dinner twist already has this covered! It’s amazing that the foods naturally most abundant in winter also have huge immune protective properties like citrus fruits that are naturally high in vitamin C and root vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin!

Raw Honey is a potent antioxidant and aids in supporting immune function. It’s a great alternative to sugar or sweeteners and is also a brilliant natural cough remedy that has actually been shown to be just as effective as over the counter cough syrups (ref. 1).

Selenium is found in brazil nuts and eggs and is another powerful immune-boosting, nutritional antioxidant that helps to ensure the body has optimal immune responses to pathogens via both innate and adaptive immune responses. Studies have also shown that animals low in selenium have rates of viral infections and allergies (ref. 2).

Garlic is your cold/flu fighting superstar! It’s been used for centuries to heal all sorts of ailments and was even used historically to treat gangrene! Hopefully you don’t require it for such things as gangrene but adding this to your meals and consuming raw or cooked can reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms, and hopefully keep them at bay altogether (ref. 3).

Oregano contains vitamins A and C and B6, all-important for a strong immune system but it also contains anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial AND anti-fungal properties and it’s oil is commonly used for and may be beneficial in respiratory tract infections (ref. 4).

Ginger I personally love adding ginger to absolutely everything and the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. Not everyone loves ginger as much as me but there’s certainly a lot of evidence that shows how protective it is for the immune system. For example, gingers aids to activate T-cells (part of the white blood cells) that are capable of clearing infections, it’s also a hardworking antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties (ref. 5).

Seafood especially oysters and lean red meat contains high levels of zinc, which is essential for the normal development, and function of the immune system. A deficiency of zinc will increase the risk of infections and will make you a much more willing, susceptible host for pathogens (ref. 6).

These are some very simple food principles that will aid to keep you healthy year round!

For more information on Dr Andrea and her top-rated, award winning podcast go to www.thewellnesswomen.com.au or find her at her at her practice: The Wellness Studio Fremantle www.thewellnesstudio.info.

References:
1. Honey for acute cough in children.
2.The influence of selenium on immune responses
3. Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention.
4. Treatment of upper respiratory tract infections in primary care: a randomized study using aromatic herbs.
5. Ginger extract inhibits LPS induced macrophage activation and function
6. Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells