Posts Tagged ‘Common Cold’

Top Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity

May 28, 2017

how-to-boost-your-immune-system
If you are one of those unlucky people who seem to catch every cold going around the office, or everything your kids bring home from school, here are some effective natural ways you can give you immune health a boost to fight off any infections.

A strong immune system is dependent on you having a healthy nutritious diet containing important immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamins A, C and D, minerals zinc and selenium and antioxidants. There are also certain herbs and foods that have immune-stimulating properties, which help enhance immune function and protect the body against disease.

Garlic contains ‘allicin’ that has powerful, immune-enhancing actions. Garlic is also a good source of vitamins A, C, and the minerals selenium, sulphur and zinc, all of which play pivotal roles in immune function. Eating garlic regularly will help protect you against infections, colds and flu, as it has anti-bacterial and anti-viral action. Make sure you cut or crush your garlic first to release the allicin. Cooking can destroy some of garlics beneficial compounds so eating it raw in dips and dressings, or lightly cooked in dishes is the best way to have it.

Echinacea is best known for its ability to act on our immune system to prevent or treat colds and flu. Echinacea contains phenolic compounds, which have the ability to stimulate the immune system, increasing the activity and number of immune cells such as T-cells and macrophages. Echinacea stimulates the overall activity of immune cells making them more efficient in attacking bacteria and viruses. Echinacea can be drank as a tea, found in Bodhi Organic ImmuniTEA, or taken as a liquid extract or in tablet form.

Seaweed is touted as a super food because it is not only extremely nutritious but also contains extraordinary health-promoting compounds that are not found in any other plant. Seaweed helps boost immune system function, reducing the risk of cold and flu.

There are many different types of seaweed including kelp, nori, and akrame, which you can purchase from health food stores and supermarkets. Try adding small strips of seaweed to soups, salads and stir-fries, or make nori rolls or sushi.

Shiitake mushrooms have been extensively studied for their many healing and immune boosting properties. A compound found in this mushroom, called lentinan, has been found to be a most powerful immune strengthener and ‘restorative’. Lentinan enhances the immune system’s ability to combat infections and disease.

These white blood cells destroy cells infected by viruses.

Ginger root is a lovely warming spice that has been used by Chinese herbalists for over 2,500 years to treat colds. Ginger has the ability to stimulate the immune system. Ginger can activate T-cells, which are a critical part of our immune defenses. These white blood cells destroy cells infected by viruses. The impressive anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are well known and have been extensively studied. Ginger can be drunk as a tea, found in Bodhi Organic ZesTEA, or added to veggie juices, stir-fries, salads, smoothies, or sauces.

Miso is a highly nutritious food and contains numerous health-promoting benefits.  Unpasteurised organic miso contains active lactobacillus, a bacteria beneficial for improving digestion and strengthening the immune system.  Beneficial bacteria like that found in miso help promote the proliferation of ‘friendly’ bacteria in the bowel which plays a big role in our immune health, digestion, and production of certain vitamins such as B12 and K (needed for healthy blood clotting). Miso is also a good source of zinc, needed for strong immune function.

The beneficial bacteria present in unpasteurized miso are killed by prolonged cooking at high temperatures, so add miso to preparations just before removing them from the heat. Keep miso paste in the fridge and use 1 tsp to add flavour and nutrients to soups, stir-fry’s, casseroles, sauces, salad dressings, and mashed potato.

Yoghurt: There is strong scientific evidence demonstrating yoghurt’s action to enhance and promote healthy immune function. Researchers attribute yoghurt’s health-promoting effects to its live bacteria content, namely acidophilus and bifidus. These beneficial bacteria help promote the health and growth of ‘friendly’ bowel bacteria, which play a major role in our immune function, proper digestion and production of certain vitamins.

Make sure you are getting the most out of yoghurt; look for the ‘live and active cultures or bacteria’ seal on the yoghurt you buy. The best way to include immune-boosting yoghurt in your diet is served on breakfast cereal, mixed into porridge or Bircher muesli, as a topping on pancakes and muffins, and in dips and smoothies.

Vitamin C is essential for health and has the reputation as a ‘master’ immune-boosting nutrient that strengthens immune function to fight off colds and infections.  Vitamin C has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-allergenic activity.

The best sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, berries, parsley, broccoli, red capsicum and cabbage. Supplementation is recommended at around 3g maintenance dose a day, or 4-5g a day if you have a cold.

Zinc is an extremely important mineral that is vital for good health and plays a major role in immunity. Zinc is needed for the production of white blood cells, which protect against colds and infections.

Zinc rich food sources include lean meat, chicken, fish, milk and other dairy foods (cheese), brewers yeast, eggs (yolks), legumes (lima beans, lentils, peas), wholegrains (bread), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pecan nuts. Zinc is lost during the refinement or processing of grains so wholegrain products should always be chosen over the refined equivalents, in order to maximize zinc intake. Supplementation is recommended at around 50mg of zinc daily (adult dosage).

Vitamin D – “the sunshine vitamin” – is heralded as being important for boosting our immunity. Without sufficient vitamin D we are more vulnerable to illness and chronic disease. Sunlight is the easiest and healthiest way to get sufficient vitamin D.

During winter you should try and get 2-3 hours of sunlight a week, on the face, arms and hands.

During winter you should try and get 2-3 hours of sunlight a week, on the face, arms and hands. It can be difficult in winter to get adequate vitamin D from sunlight so it is recommended that you increase your intake of vitamin D rich foods such as eggs (yolk), fish liver oil (cod liver oil) and oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines). Milk such as cow’s, soy and rice are also fortified with vitamin D. Supplementation is recommended for people who have low vitamin D status, take around 1000 iu of vitamin D3 daily.

Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is an Ayurvedic herb, which is also known as “Indian Echinacea”. Andrographis is used to help support immune system function, having antimicrobial properties, helping to reduce the severity of cold and flu, fever, and upper respiratory infections. Andrographis can increase the body’s resistance to infection by stimulating the production of antibodies and macrophages.

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) is commonly used by herbalists to treat respiratory problems such as colds and flu and sinus infections, helping to clear congestion (anti-catarrhal), and reduce high fevers and inflammation. Elderflower has an anti-bacterial action and helps support immune function. Elderflower contains phytochemicals and anxtioxidant that help protect the body from oxidative damage and support the immune system. Elderflower contains immune strengthening and anti-inflammatory nutrients vitamin C and A, and the flavonoid quercetin. Elder has also had a long history of being used for alleviating allergy symptoms.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used for thousands of years to help support and strengthen the immune system. Astragalus is beneficial for preventing cold and flu and upper respiratory infections.

By Lisa Guy
Lisa is a well-respected Sydney naturopath, author, mum and passionate foodie. Lisa has been practicing for 16 years out of her Rose Bay clinic called ‘Art of Healing’ (www.artofhealing.com.au). Lisa is also the founder of Bodhi Organic Tea (www.bodhiorganictea.com), an organic herbal tea company that makes beautiful unique tea blends, all naturopathically blended to help promote better health and wellbeing.

Article sourced from: https://blog.innerorigin.com/top-natural-ways-boost-immunity/
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Five Tips to Manage a Cough … after all it is the season

June 2, 2014

cough“Even a little cough can be debilitating,” says Mark Yoder, MD, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Cold and flu season brings on hacking coughs that can leave your chest aching. But colds and flu aren’t the only problems that cause coughing. Allergies, asthma, acid reflux, dry air, and smoking are common causes of coughs. Even medications such as certain drugs for high blood pressure and allergies can cause chronic cough.

Most of the time, people can manage their coughs at home by taking over-the-counter medicine and cough lozenges, removing potential allergens, or even just standing in a steamy shower, says Giselle Mosnaim, an allergist and immunologist also at Rush.

Try these five tips to manage your cough at home:

1. Stay Hydrated

An upper respiratory tract infection like a cold or flu causes postnasal drip. Extra secretions trickle down the back of your throat, irritating it and sometimes causing a cough, Mosnaim says.

Drinking fluids helps to thin out the mucus in postnasal drip, says Kenneth DeVault, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

Drinking liquids also helps to keep mucous membranes moist. This is particularly helpful in winter, when houses tend to be dry, another cause of cough, he says.

2. Try Lozenges and Hot Drinks

Try a menthol cough drop, Yoder suggests. “It numbs the back of the throat, and that will tend to decrease the cough reflex.”

Drinking warm tea with honey also can soothe the throat. There is some clinical evidence to support this strategy, Yoder says.

3. Take Steamy Showers, and Use a Humidifier

A hot shower can help a cough by loosening secretions in the nose. Mosnaim says this steamy strategy can help ease coughs not only from colds, but also from allergies and asthma.

Humidifiers may also help. In a dry home, nasal secretions (snot) can become dried out and uncomfortable, Mosnaim explains. Putting moisture back in the air can help your cough. But be careful not to overdo it.

“The downside is, if you don’t clean it, (humidifiers) become reservoirs for pumping out fungus and mold into the air, and bacteria,” says Robert Naclerio, MD, chief of otolaryngology at the University of Chicago.

4. Remove Irritants From the Air

Perfumes and scented bathroom sprays may seem benign. But for some people they can cause chronic sinus irritation, producing extra mucus that leads to chronic cough, says Alan Weiss, MD, a general internist at the Cleveland Clinic. Take control by avoiding such scented products.

The worst irritant in the air is, of course, smoke. Almost all smokers eventually develop “smoker’s cough.” Everyone around the smoker may suffer from some airway irritation. The best solution? Smokers need to stop smoking. (Yoder warns that severe chronic cough can be a sign of emphysema or lung cancer in smokers, so see a doctor if you’re a smoker with chronic cough.)

5. Take Medications to Treat Coughs

When steamy showers, hot teas, and cough drops don’t help, you can turn to over-the-counter medicines to ease your cough.

Decongestants: Decongestants relieve nasal congestion by shrinking swollen nasal tissue and reducing mucus production. They dry up mucus in the lungs and open up the airway passages, Weiss says.

Decongestants come in pills, liquids, and nasal sprays under many brand names. Look for phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine as the active ingredient in decongestants taken by mouth, but be careful. These medicines can raise blood pressure, so people with hypertension need to be careful with their use. Also, overuse of decongestants can lead to excessive dryness, which can trigger a dry cough.

Decongestant nasal sprays, if used for more than 3 or 4 days, can lead to rebound congestion, Mosnaim says. It’s best to use them for 2 or 3 days and then stop.

Cough suppressants and expectorants: If you’re coughing so much that your chest hurts and you’re getting a bad night’s sleep, consider a cough suppressant such as dextromethorphan, Mosnaim says. Yoder recommends using cough suppressants only at night.

When a person has a cough that is thick with phlegm, Mosnaim says it helps to take a cough expectorant such as guaifenesin. Expectorants thin out the mucus so one can more easily cough it up, she says.

Note: The FDA advises against giving cold and cough medicine to children under age 4. These common over-the-counter drugs can cause serious side effects in young children.

Find Out What’s Causing Your Cough

Coughs caused by the common cold usually go away in a few weeks. Chronic, persistent coughs may be caused by underlying medical problem such as allergies, asthma, or acid reflux — or by the medications you take. To lose those coughs, you need to treat the underlying problem.

Talk to your doctor if your cough lasts longer than 4 weeks, or if you are coughing up blood or having other symptoms such as weight loss, chills, or fatigue.

This article was sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/cough-relief-how-lose-bad-cough