1. Prevention is far better than cure. A healthy, balanced body has a strong, effective immune system. Getting monthly acupuncture sessions support and strengthen immunity. Scientific research shows that acupuncture increases the white blood cells in the body and moderates the immune system, allowing it to react swiftly and strongly to threats.
2. Diet – Increasing foods high in vitamin C and Zinc give your immune system that extra boost. These include; Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Citrus Fruits, Kiwi, Strawberries, Cantaloupe Melon, Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, hemp), Chickpeas, Lentils, Spinach and Almonds.
Zinc activates lymphocytes or T Cells which are necessary to initiate an immune response.
Adding Garlic into your daily winter diet can boost your body’s immunity – A study found that colds were on average 61% shorter for subjects who ate 2.5 grams of aged garlic extract per day, compared to a placebo group. Their colds were also less severe.
3. Supplementation for prevention. Here at The Clonmel Acupuncture & Therapy Centre we are often front line when it comes to colds & viruses. I personally swear by using A. Vogel Echinacea & Sage Throat Spray as a preventative rather than cure. I spray it in the throat am & pm and also if I am flying, visiting a hospital etc.
Remember our Gut wall houses 70 % of the cells that make up our immune system. Gut health literally affects your entire body. Taking a probiotic during the autumn, winter months can be a really positive immune boost for the body. There are so many wonderful probiotics on the market, I personally take Alforex. Probiotic yogurts may also help. Cider Vinegar is a Pre-biotic (a special form of dietary fibre acting as a fertiliser for the good bacteria) try adding a spoonful a day into your diet.
Black Elderberry (sambucus) is suitable for all the family, and a powerful source of Vitamin C.
L-theanine an amino acid found in both Black and Green tea has very interesting clinical trails on its efficacy in the bodies immune response.
Olive Leaf Extract can help provide amazing immune system support thanks to its antiviral properties.
4. Essential Oils – At the CAC we use essential oils in each therapy room. We do this for their therapeutic effect. Oils such as Rosemary, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Thyme, Oregano are all wonder oils in my opinion. Adding 4-6 drops in an oil burner or vaporiser in an area of work, play and rest can help prevent airborne bugs spreading.
5. Fresh Air – According to several studies and experts a little ( or a lot) of time spent outside in the cold fresh air can be highly beneficial to your health. Although I do recommend wearing a scarf and hat but that is just the Chinese Medicine Woman creeping out in me!
Sleeping in a room that is between 15.5-19c helps your brain wind down to sleep. Good sleep is key to a strong immune system.
In the winter months we tend to increase our room temperatures so high that it creates a wonderful haven for germs and viruses’ to spread.
6. We are what we eat. In Traditional Chinese Medicine foods that are beneficial for us during the winter months are foods that warm the body. Soups with hearty vegetables and rich stocks made with animal bones. Foods that nourish and warm what we call our Kidney Qi are black beans, kidney beans, broths, lamb (organic), chicken (organic), walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds and dark leafy greens. We recommend avoiding cold foods that cause the digestive system to slow down, foods such as ice cream, ice cold drinks etc.
I hope these tips help. Remember to keep hydrated and the best remedy for everything is of course lots of laughter!
Katie Murphy Lic Ac MTCMCI