Reduce Sugar and Increase Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Your immune system is a collection of white blood cells, organs and special chemical reactions that require specific nutrients to function optimally. Create a healthy foundation with a diet that is high in antioxidants and low in refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. Studies have shown that too much sugar can reduce the activity of your white blood cells. Antioxidants include vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and zinc. Increase the intake of antioxidants by consuming fruits and vegetables such as greens, red peppers, oranges and blueberries.

Boost your Vitamin D Level
A low vitamin D level in the blood is associated with a higher incidence of viral and bacterial infections.

Many Canadians are deficient in this essential nutrient and since your body makes less vitamin D during the fall and winter months, supplementation is key. 

Consider Adaptogenic Herbs
Stress from a hectic lifestyle, poor diet and decreased sleep quality can increase your risk of contracting a cold or flu and for this reason l often recommend adding adaptogenic herbs to the daily supplement regimen of my patients. Adaptogens are herbs that strengthen your immune response and build up your resilience to stress which can result in less upper respiratory infections. Herbs such as Astragalus, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Liquorice have been used in traditional medicine around the world, for centuries and can be found in over-the-counter botanical formulas.

References:
1. Zinka M et al. Efficacy and Safety of Astragalus membranaceus in the Treatment of Patients with Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. Phytotherapy Research. 2010; 24: 175–181. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19504468. Accessed: June 13, 2018
2. Aranow, C. Vitamin D and the Immune System. Journal of Investigative Medicine. 2011; 59 (6): 881-886. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/. Accessed: June 13, 2018
3. Myles, I. Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. Nutrition Journal. 2014; 13:61. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074336/. Accessed: June 13, 2018
4. Knight, J.Review: Free Radicals, Antioxidants, and the Immune System. Annals of Clinical & Laboratory Science. 2000; 30 (2): 145-158 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030293776171. Accessed: June 13, 201
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About the Author: Dr. Olivia Rose, ND

“Dr.

Dr. Olivia Rose ND is a naturopathic doctor with a thriving practice in Toronto, Ontario. She is also the director of Fertility Acupuncture Services and enjoys working with men, women and children of all ages.