Why is it that we always seem to get sick in the winter? With the drop in temperatures, immunity runs low.
Frigid weather weakens the body, as well as the immune system, making us more susceptible to cold and flu viruses. The lack of vitamin D from the sun also makes us vulnerable to microbial infections. The important thing is to boost immunity with proper vitamins and a healthy diet.
It’s no secret that a healthy diet can lead to a healthy life, but what about when you’re sick? The germs and bacteria that cause sickness live off sugar that is ingested in the form of food or drinks, which means that certain foods can actually make a sickness worse.
Even medicine has sugar. Popular cough and cold syrups are loaded with sucrose and sucralose, a more processed form of sugar. Opt for something with honey, Echinacea, or zinc, as these are more natural alternatives and can eliminate bad bacteria growing in the body.
It’s important to stay away from milk and dairy as well, as these house enzymes that can feed bacteria. Water is especially essential, because it flushes out toxins that your body can’t handle.
With most of us on the go, it’s difficult to take care of our bodies properly, especially during the school year. Here are some simple ways to boost immunity naturally.
Vitamin C: Everyone knows to drink orange juice when sick, but what you may not know is that store-bought orange juice may not be doing the trick. Pasteurized fruit juices lack the enzymes found in fresh-squeezed juices that are essential to absorbing important vitamins and minerals.
The best ways to get the daily dose of vitamin C is taking the vitamin in its pure form. Vitamin C tablets, or crystallized powders like Emergen-C are cost-effective and taste great.
Echinacea (Echinacea Purpurea): This relative of the daisy family is a plant native to the United States. It is known for its immunological properties and is one of the oldest remedies for the common cold. Echinacea can be found in liquid or capsule form and has no side effects when taken orally. It is most often found with Goldenseal, another essential plant for boosting immunity, as well as reducing anti-microbial effects.
Probiotics and Acidophilus: It is important to stock up on probiotics and acidophilus when sick because they break down the bad bacteria that sits in the stomach, and push toxins out of the body. Though some yogurts contain trace amounts of acidophilus, it is not nearly as much as the body needs. The best way to take probiotics is in a capsule or powder form that can be mixed with water. Probiotics are also important in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Elderberry (Sambucus): This sweet berry, used for centuries to boost immunity, has also been shown to ward of the H1N1 Virus and other cold and flu-like symptoms. Elderberry can be found in many forms including a sweet medicinal syrup, lozenges, and capsules.
Zinc: An essential element for all human health, zinc is an important dietary need. It is necessary for blood flow, and flushes out the toxins of the body. It has been proven effective to relieve cold and flu symptoms in the form of a lozenge or tablet.
All of these products and more like them can be found at your local health food store, or the natural section of your grocery store.
Devon Dadoly is a second-year student majoring in art. She can be reached at DD742228@wcupa.edu.