Beat the Bug: 5 natural ways to stay healthy this winter
Kate Rhéaume-Bleue is a doctor of naturopathic medicine, a writer, and an educator. A graduate and former faculty member of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Rhéaume-Bleue is an Expert® in natural medicine and lectures across Canada on topics related to health and wellness. She is the author of the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life.
Our first line of defense against colds and the flu is a group of white blood cells that make up our “innate” immune system. Simple actions can help or hinder their work. Here’s a list of tips that will reduce your exposure to winter bugs and enourage your immune system to do its job better.
Hand washing. The hand is quicker than the sneeze in the spread of seasonal illness. Frequent hand washing reduces your exposure to cold and flu viruses.
Do the D. It’s no coincidence that incidence of colds and the flu peak in the dark winter months. Supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to reduce the number of days lost to winter illness.
Take probiotics. Studies show that people who supplement with probiotics have fewer, shorter and less severe colds and flu. A recent trial showed that preschoolers who took probiotics missed less school and had fewer visits to the doctor for colds.
Reach for zinc. Got a tickle in your throat? It’s a good time for zinc lozenges. People who take zinc supplements recover from cold symptoms days faster compared to placebo. Our intestines limit the amount of zinc we absorb, but you can achieve a short-tem zinc load with sublingual lozenges.
Try tongue-tingling Echinacea. Echinacea must be extracted from fresh, not dried, plants for maximum efficacy. However few companies have ability to do this. Echinamide is a patented extract of Echinacea, grown in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, extracted fresh and standardized to three active ingredients. The actives are blended in a specific ratio that has been clinically proven to help combat winter illness. It is available in a wide range of products, including Natural Factors Anti-Viral Formula, a natural medicine cabinet must-have.