The roar of a fire. Cuddling under a cozy blanket. Sipping a cup of tea. Clenching a box of tissues. Breathing through a congested head. A relentless cough… That’s how it usually happens. Everything starts off all cinnamon and pumpkin pie, but before you know it, you’ve caught a winter cold. And now, you’re grounded for a few days or more. But, it is possible to avoid this scenario and retain your health all winter long.
First, consider how amazing the immune system is. It involves a variety of organs including the skin, the digestive system, and the nervous system. To give yourself a chance to fight off that cold, or better yet, avoid getting it in the first place, aim for optimal total body health all winter long. After all, if one component of the immune system is weakened, then the whole body gets weak. Studies show optimal health is achieved through consistently getting 7-8 hours of sleep, drinking at least 64 oz of water per day (unless your doctor advises you otherwise), enjoying 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily, and eating a balanced diet.
In a dream world, we’d be able to achieve all of this with ease. However, let’s face it, between holiday shopping, visiting with family and all those cookies, the best intentions seem to die from neglect in the produce drawer of our refrigerators.
Research shows you can fortify your immune system by simply maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin B12.
- Vitamin D - Emerging research indicates the massive role this fat soluble vitamin plays not only in skin and bone health, but also in gut health and immune support. What’s tricky is that by the time March rolls around, 48% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. That’s because Vitamin D requires sunlight to convert to a form that can be used in our bodies. So, unless we supplement Vitamin D starting in September, we may be opening ourselves up to compromised immunity. High potency vitamin D sprays are clinically shown to elevated levels of Vitamin D in people who were deficient in as fast as 21 days.
- Zinc – This mineral has long been touted as the anti-cold supplement. Its claims include shortening the length of colds when taken right at the onset of symptoms. That is because when taken as a spray or lozenge, it is believed to prevent the cold virus from entering the body by blocking entering through the mouth and throat. Additionally, for those who consume adequate amounts of zinc, the chance of contracting a cold or virus in the first place is lower than those who are deficient. Unfortunately, zinc is not stored in the body; meaning, we have to consume some every day either through zinc-rich foods like oysters or baked beans, or through supplements. So, unless you plan to eat plenty of zinc-rich foods, consider taking a zinc supplement during the cold season.
- B12 – This water soluble vitamin plays a major role in our body including helping produce cells which work to fight off infection. Strict vegetarians, vegans, and individuals with low stomach acid or have had part of their digestive tract removed are at risk of becoming deficient in B12 causing a lack of energy and impaired immunity. Animal products like meats, milk, and eggs are naturally high in B12. The best way for vegetarians and vegans to get adequate amounts of B12 is by either consuming B12 fortified cereal products, nutritional yeast, or using a supplement. For people who have an altered GI tract, they must use a spray, take a supplement or get injections.
- Functional foods – Some research suggests certain foods like garlic, astragalus, echinacea, and shiitake mushrooms may help increase immunity due to specific compounds in each food. Adding in high levels of antioxidants like those in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and selenium may help reduce cold symptoms and shorten the length of a cold. Although, it may be challenging to consume adequate amounts of functional foods, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals required when a cold hits, products like nbpure OnSet, provide an easy option.
While you make your holiday shopping list, don’t forget to add in the extra supplements to boost your immunity and help provide cheer all season long.