3 Immune Boosting Tips from a Naturopathic Doctor
By Stephanie Rubino BSc, ND
Your immune system is your biggest defence against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders! Although sore throats, runny noses and coughs can be bothersome, they are important signs that your immune system needs some support. If you are looking for ways to care for your immune system during the cold and flu season, consider these important health tips.
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Immune System
A healthy, balanced diet that provides a steady intake of nutrients is key to a healthy immune system. High intake of sugar and processed foods can weaken immune function and deplete important nutrients. Fill your daily diet with real foods including in-season fruits and vegetables, non-refined grains, and healthy fats and proteins. Immune system function can also be supported with superfoods such as garlic, mushrooms, raw honey and ginger. If you find your diet is inconsistent, supplementation with key immune nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc may be warranted.
It is Time for Sleep
Did you know that having less than 7 hours of sleep can increase your risk of developing a cold by 3-fold1? In case of sleep difficulties, either problems with falling or staying asleep, incorporate sleep-promoting tips such as going to bed at an earlier time, sleeping in a cool, dark and quiet room, and avoiding all electronic devices before bedtime.
Support Immunity with Supplements
Oil of oregano, medicinal mushrooms and Echinacea are important NHPs that may support immune system function.
- Oil of Oregano contains key active compounds such as carvacrol and thymol that work synergistically together to maintain overall health. Oil of Oregano is an effective antioxidant and is used by those needing support for stomach and respiratory infections, and to help support immune function2.
- Medicinal Mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and other minerals. Reishi, shiitake and maitake are the most potent and notable for their ability to modulate the immune system3.
- Echinacea is a well-known herbal medicine used to relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of upper respiratory tract infections. The immune-modulating and virus-fighting abilities of Echinacea are due to the synergistic activity of active ingredients such as alkylamides, polysaccharides and cichoric acid4,5. Whole Earth and Sea Echinamide® Immune Bursts contain a patented extract of hand-picked, certified organic Echinacea purpurea, called Echinamide®, which is grown and harvested at their own certified organic farm.
Immune system function is impacted by a number of factors such as age, genetics, and stress. You can experience a healthy cold and flu season, if you also rest when unwell, wash your hands, drink lots of water, manage stress levels and incorporate regular physical activity. Stay healthy!
- Prather AA, Janicki-Deverts D, Hall MH, Cohen S. Behaviorally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Sleep. 2015;38(9):1353–1359.
- Coccimiglio J, Alipour M, Jiang Z-H, et al. Antioxidant, Antibacterial, and Cytotoxic Activities of the Ethanolic Origanum vulgare Extract and Its Major Constituents. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2016;2016:1404505.
- Mallard B, Leach DN, Wohlmuth H, et al. Synergistic immuno-modulatory activity in human macrophages of a medicinal mushroom formulation consisting of Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake. PLoS One. 2019;14(11):e0224740.
- Hudson JB. Applications of the Phytomedicine Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) in Infectious Diseases. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. 2012;2012:769896.
- Sharifi‐Rad, M, Mnayer, D, Morais‐Braga, MFB, et al. Echinaceaplants as antioxidant and antibacterial agents: From traditional medicine to biotechnological applications. Phytotherapy Research. 2018; 32: 1653– 1663.