Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Boosting Winter Immunity

Cold, Dark, Rain, Flu … these are aspects of the winter that we don’t look forward to. But there are many easy, cost-effective ways to keep your disposition cheerful and your system in optimum health during the bleakest of weather.

1. Chicken soup
Remember the heart-warming benefits of homemade chicken soup – an elixir in itself. A soup made with chicken has been proven to boost the immune system and aid in recovery from a cold. Use the whole bird including its skin and giblets, or carcasses if you have saved them, vegetables, water and a dash of vinegar and love in a slow cooker or crock pot, if you have one, to save time and energy. Otherwise simmer slowly in a pot.

2. Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil capsules provide your system with much needed Vitamins A and D in a form your body can easily use. For children over 12 years and adults take a maintenance dose that provides about 10,000 IU vitamin A daily and 1000 IU vitamin D for adults. You will need to check that the vitamins are naturally occurring, rather than having synthetic vitamins added in after manufacture.

3. Vitamin C
Increased doses of Vitamin C are also useful at this time of year. Beside helping your body recover from infection, it is used in tissue growth and repair, strengthening of capillary walls, lactation and adrenal gland function. It promotes healing of wounds and is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E keeps Vitamin C in balance so make sure to keep your diet varied and fresh.

4. Echinacea
Echinacea has been proven to reduce the severity of flu and upper respiratory infections, but is not proven for prevention, so don’t worry about buying the special yogurt (or anything else with the ‘spirit’ of the herb in it). Take the correct dose at the first sign of a cold.

5. Lemon and honey drinks
Again, if your throat is feeling scratchy, lemon and honey drinks (made from fresh lemons and real honey rather than from a powder) are soothing. They also help keep your fluid intake up if you are sneezing and your nose is running.

6. Hand washing
Frequent and thorough hand washing is one of the easiest and best ways of keeping infections at bay. Wash your hands if you’ve been out before you do much else, and remember to wash frequently if you have been using public facilities. If you use a computer, keep your keyboard and mouse clean. Shared telephones should also be cleaned regularly.

7. Rest
We generally don’t get enough rest and sleep these days, so you have permission if you are unwell to stay home, rest and recuperate. You owe it to yourself, your family and co-workers to recover fully before you get back into your daily round. If you aren’t sick, sufficient rest and sleep will help keep you in peak condition.

Don’t worry – it’s nearly spring!

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