Fight colds and flu

To minimise the spread of colds and flu, people should try to keep their defenses up and their exposure to the virus down.

Dr Arien van der Merwe, specialising in natural medicine, suggests the following:

  • Increase your intake of the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin A, beta and mixed carotenes, vitamin E and selenium.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, drink a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice everyday (with 250 mg of Vitamin C per glass, it is enough for a child's daily needs in winter, but an adult needs more).
  • Take an antioxidant food supplement combination throughout winter.
  • Control your stress levels with daily relaxation techniques.
  • Do regular moderate exercise (strenuous exercise exhausts your immune system). Listen to your body by taking a break when you're feeling under the weather.
  • Herbs like Echinacea, garlic, chickweed, liqourice root and golden seal are excellent immune system boosters. Ginseng improves general immunity against infections and as an adaptogen, also supports the body during stressful times. Regular use of ginseng seems to prevent colds and flu. There are three different herbs commonly called ginseng: Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), and Siberian 'ginseng' (Eleutherococcus senticosus).

Products to try, include: Vital's Echinacea capsules and Echinacea Tea, Formule Naturelle's Echinacea capsules that also contain anti-oxidants, Formule Naturelle's Ginseng capsules, Sportron's Respitron and Infagard drops.

New studies show that the mineral selenium, a known antioxidant, in the diet might protect the individual against harmful lung inflammation. Good sources of selenium include wheat, rice, and meat. A good daily dosage should be less than 400 micrograms.

Read more:
60 seconds to healthy winter eating

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