Boosting your immunity naturally

Boosting our immune systems at this time of year makes a lot of sense. Not only will it help you to avoid those dreaded winter lurgies in the first place, but it’ll arm you with the nutrients you need to get over them quicker if they do happen to catch a hold of you.

So what can you do to boost your immune system? Here are my top tips:

– Vitamins A, C and D are something you want in plentiful supply, alongside the mineral zinc. Foods including fruits and vegies (aim for a rainbow of fruit and veg colours every day) are high in vitamin C. Cod liver oil will give you a wonderful natural source of vitamins A and D which are also important for the mucous membranes which can get a bit scratchy when we’re coughing lots. Zinc is high in a lot of seafoods and pumpkin seeds. In my family, we tend to eat a lot of these things, and if someone gets sick, I up our supplies through supplementation.

– Mushrooms! This has to be one of my favourite supplements! I’m a huge fan of mushrooms in all shapes and sizes, but to get the equivalent amount of immune boosting chemicals for them through the diet as you get from a few drops of an extract, you would need to eat a huge amount! The more exotic mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, etc, are the ones that have the most potent immune boosting capabilities. Eat them and if you’re particularly immune compromised or want a massive boost, come in and see us to discuss supplementation.

– Probiotics. These are another mainstay in our household. They are mostly taken daily, but if any of us gets sick, that becomes a ‘definite’ daily! A huge chunk of your immune system resides in your gut, so it makes sense to have a healthy and balanced array of beneficicial bacteria in your gut. When it comes to probiotics, not all are created equal – an important point to remember! There are hundreds of different strains of these bacteria and they all perform different jobs. If you’ve been taking a probiotic but don’t really notice any benefit, again, come in and talk to us and let us help you with the right probiotic. Fermented foods, including the yummy dairy free, coconut yoghurt we now stock at Saltuary, are also great ways to ensure you are boosting your dietary levels every day.

– Manuka honey. Everyone should know about this! A spoonful a day works wonders in our respiratory tracts, helping to kill bacteria and other nasties. For those with kids, this is also a very handy way to get a few more good things into the bodies of our fussy little eaters! I tend to crush up other nutrients – eg a garlic tablet – and then mix it into the honey to get it into my babies 🙂 A single garlic tablet packs a VERY powerful punch in our bodies, especially when there’s snot and other related nasties around.

– Herbs are something that I would not do winter without! They have more than an army of benefits to help with everything from getting rid of snot, to boosting your immune system, to decreasing inflammation of the throat (think ‘scratchy’ throat), helping to increase or decrease coughs (depending on what you are needing) and so so much more. Echinacea is probably one of the better known herbs in this category, but there are many others. My family always has a few different mixes on the go, a cough one, a general immune booster, an ‘anti snot’ mix etc. We are more than happy to make these up for you as well – just come in an see us. If you’re not keen on a herbal liquid, we offer many immune boosting options in the way of capsules and tablets as well…

Another note on herbs… At Saltuary we stock non-petroleum based chest rubs (yep, most of the common ones contain petroleum based products – and yes, I’m talking the same petrol as you put in your car!), we stock natural ‘catarrh creams’ which you basically stick up your nose to reduce congestion.. We have inhalers, nose sprays, homeopathics, ear candles and plenty more to help with all things immune focused…

We also offer a range off lovely relaxing therapies that are going to boost your immunity with the lovely side effect of making you feel relaxed and amazing! Your immune systems work better when you are relaxed. Stress puts a strain on the entire immune system. Therapies such as our infra red sauna, our Himalayan salt rooms and acupuncture are all amazing. For my kids, acupuncture tends to be my ‘go to guy’ when they are under the weather. For me, I personally love basking in the sauna and salt room – and I must admit, I’m more than a little partial to acupuncture too admittedly! 🙂

Something else I love sharing with my clients is my killer flu juice! Just a word of warning – your whole house will smell of this when you cook it! Here’s the recipe:

1. Take 6 cloves of garlic, some chili (fresh or dried) and 1.5in of fresh ginger

2. Cut / crush them all finely

3. Add to 1L of pure water and bring to the boil

4. Simmer for 20 mins with the lid on (so all the goodness doesnt evaporate!)

5. Allow it to cool, and then add the juice of 2 lemons and Manuka honey

Then – enjoy!

Heres to a winter without too many lurgies…

Yours in health… tiina xx