Stay back! Yes, that’s right you pesky viruses and bacteria. This winter, your immune system will be armed and ready to fight and keep you well.

  1. Food – Fuel your immune system. Be ready to battle any pesky viruses or bacteria you encounter this winter with a balanced diet. Consider this: many Canadians do not eat enough fruits and vegetables daily. It is even more difficult to achieve when fresh food is scarce in the winter. You can also recruit help! Probiotics are helpful microbes that support and enhance your immune system. Helpful recruits can be found in fermented foods and probiotic supplements.
  1. Vitamins – Stock up on supplies. The immune system is strongly influenced by the nutrients you ingest. Some immune cells stockpile vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed by immune cells to perform tasks, such as preventing and treating the common cold. Rich sources of vitamin C include kiwis, raspberries and bell peppers. Vitamin D acts as an important stimulant to the immune system when a virus is present. This is concerning as most Canadians are at risk of being vitamin D deficient, particularly in winter months when we experience less sun exposure.
  1. Herbs – Have a few secret weapons. Some herbal medicines can help you fight off infections. When researchers from the University of British Columbia tested 5 commercial oil of oregano products with high carvacrol concentrations, they prevented influenza viruses from flourishing in human cells. Echinacea purpurea also showed anti-viral ability in the infected cells.
  1. Essential Oils – Attack from all fronts. Essential oils may help in the battle for wellness this winter. Eucalyptus oil appears to give a boost to immune cells responsible for engulfing and destroying pathogens. Tea tree oil has antiseptic abilities.
  1. Mushrooms – Enhance your defenses. Edible mushrooms, like shiitake, give a boost to your cells’ natural antioxidant defenses and improve immunity. This was proven in a group study of fifty-two healthy males and females, aged 21-41 years, participated in a 4-week parallel group study in which they consumed dried shiitake mushrooms daily. Reishi is also well known for its immune supporting benefits.

Armed and ready? This winter battle and destroy viruses and bacteria with the help from this handful of immune boosting natural products.

Colostrum: J Complement Integr Med. 2015 Sep;12(3):175-85.
Eucalyptus Oil: BMC Immunol 2008;9:17.
Mushroom Antioxidant Powers: Molecules. 2015 Oct 27;20(10):19489-525.
Oil of Oregano: J Applied Pharma Sci 2012; 02(07):214-218.
Reishi Mushrooms: Biogerontology 2009 Oct;10(5):627-36.
Shiitake Mushrooms: J Am Coll Nutr 2015;34(6):478-87
Vitamin C: Med Monatsschr Pharm 2009 Feb;32(2):49-54.
Vitamin D Nutrients: