Mummies don’t have time to get sick. We have mouths to feed and stories to read! We have to be Wonder Woman strong all winter long!
And while we all know vitamin C helps kick the winter lurgies to the curb, there’s little advice about other powerful immunity boosters that can bolster our health and defences (besides nutrient-rich fruit and veg, of course!). But these 5 surprisingly powerful ingredients and antioxidants to prevent colds and flu could just do the job. Even better, you may even have some in your cupboard already – in the ‘what’s that for again?’’ pile. And if you don’t? Emily Seddon, Practitioner Consultant at BioCeuticals, says they’re worth investing in to prevent the winter sniffles (and show those lurgies who’s boss!).
Here’s Emily’s tips and go-to ingredients and antioxidants to strengthen your defence before those crappy germs take aim…
Winter’s not the season to be wearing a bustier and hot pants after dark! It is, however, the time when upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), such as the common cold, rear their ugly head. Winter is also the time when we’re more likely to be indoors with heaters circulating the same germ ridden air, and we’re in closer proximity to other people coughing and sneezing (I feel for the kids stuck in the classroom on rainy days).
Cue vitamin D – your golden defence shield against immune system attacks. “Vitamin D has been shown to be protective against URTIs due to its effects on the immune system,” explains Emily. “Over winter, vitamin D status declines leaving us more susceptible to catching the common cold as low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased rates of infections. Population research and clinical trials also show D3 supplementation in children and adults is a safe and protective measure against acute respiratory tract infections during the winter months – when that time in the sun is limited.”
Gluta-what?! Yes, it’s a mouthful, but it’s worth getting to know. “Glutathione is an amino acid with various roles in the human body,” explains Emily. “It’s an important antioxidant involved in our immune function and in warding off the common cold. A decrease in the activity of immune cells known as natural killer (NK) cells may increase the risk of catching the common cold. NK cells are dependent on adequate levels of glutathione for proper functioning.”
Another tip? Sleep. Your body performs jobs during the different sleep phases that can only be performed when asleep. One of these jobs is fighting infections. Yep, you are even battling baddies while off in la la land.
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No, it’s not a Greek Goddess! But it does have its roots in ancient history! “Andrographis is a herb traditionally used in the treatment of the common cold,” explains Emily. “It has been shown to help improve the incidence and severity symptoms of common cold, like fever and a sore throat, and reduce time to recovery. Smaller doses of this herb have also shown to increase resistance to the common cold and help prevent their occurrence.
There’s no ‘u’ in flu. Oh hang on, yes there is… Try this ‘u’ instead. “Ubiquinol is the active from of CoQ10 (CoenzymeQ10), which is found in almost all the cells of our bodies, including immune cells,” explains Emily. “As it is essential for cellular mitochondrial function, it is also needed for optimal immune function. Researchers have found that CoQ10 modulates the immune system, assisting in fighting viral and parasitic infections. It also appears to be involved in increasing white blood cell count in individuals with lowered immunity.”
Think of zinc as your golden lasso, wowing the masses and roping in the baddies to give you a fighting chance! “Zinc plays numerous roles in the human body and is involved in the function of over 300 enzyme functions,” explains Emily. “One of its most important roles is in maintaining healthy immune defences. A deficiency of zinc reduces the activity of various immune cells, displaying its crucial role in supporting the performance of our immune system. Supplemental zinc has been shown to be beneficial in both treating and preventing colds and URTIs.”
All images: Wonder Woman Warner Bros – showing in cinemas now.