3 Home Remedies to Help Boost Your Immune System
Hands up who’s already had a cold this Autumn? You’re not alone, it’s only November and many of us have already succumbed to sniffles, sore throats, persistent coughs and days under the duvet eating soup.
The colder months signal the inevitable onslaught of coughs and colds, that we try to battle all the way through to spring. But why do colder temperatures and wet weather mean that we’re more likely to catch these bugs?
The truth is, scientists and researchers don’t yet fully understand why colds are more virulent in the winter, but they do have a few theories. Firstly, it’s thought that the colder air affects the natural defence mechanism in our noses – snot.
Snot, or more scientifically, nasal mucus, traps viruses and bacteria. The hairs in our noses then force this bug-ridden mucus to the backs of our throats, and we swallow it. All the bugs, and the mucus, gets destroyed by stomach acid. However, breathing in cold air slows down this process and bugs are able to hang around for longer, making them more able to take hold and infect us. What’s more, cold air is thought to decrease the activity of the immune cells that would normally deal with these invaders if they do get through this first line of defence.
Also, cold and flu bugs are resilient to colder temperatures, giving them the strength they need to invade. We’re also more likely to spend more time indoors in closer contact with one another in the winter, helping germs spread.
What’s clear is, we’re at risk, so we must try to do all we can to try to counterattack these pesky invaders. Here are some home remedies to help you ward off winter bugs.
Honey, in particular, medicinal honey such as Manuka honey, contains antimicrobial properties that help to ward off coughs and colds. In fact, the NHS now recommend taking honey instead of antibiotics as it’s considered more effective at soothing the throat and easing irritating coughs.
Take a teaspoonful a day, either in a warm herbal tea or straight from the spoon. Hot water, a squeeze of lemon and a dribble of honey is also a good, soothing drink to have a few times a day.
Make like a vampire and eat as much garlic as possible! (Just maybe carry some mints if you work in close proximity with others…)
Garlic contains allicin, a compound which is thought to boost the action of certain cells of the immune system that fight bacteria and viruses. Studies have shown garlic can reduce the chances of getting a cold and recovering sooner if you do. Add it to all your savoury dishes or take a garlic supplement.
Eat the Rainbow
Eating a variety of differently coloured fruits and vegetables isn’t only good for maintaining a healthy weight. Doing so will help to support your immune system as each different coloured food contains its own type of antioxidants – which help to ensure a healthy immunity.
So make sure you eat a range of berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, aubergines, courgettes, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes and squashes to give you the best defence against winter bugs.