Fending off the flu becomes somewhat of a sport every time the colder weather rolls in. The object is to avoid a fever, runny nose, and debilitating aches that have you making friends with your couch for days on end. It also has many of us asking how you win at this never-ending game.
Everyone has his or her own strategy when it comes to dodging seasonal illnesses, but there are certain tactics that work better than others. Here are seven supplements that will help you earn a gold medal in avoiding the flu.
Packaged in pill or gel capsule form, taking zinc at the onset of a cold or flu is a simple and effective way to feel better fast. Zinc is known to increase the production of white blood cells in your body, allowing you to effectively fight off infection. For best results, take zinc the second you start to feel unwell, before the virus has a chance to take over.
Echinacea has been used as an herbal remedy in North America for over 400 years. While there are over 10 species of echinacea, only select species of the plant are used to make remedies. Chemicals contained in the flowers, leaves, and roots of the plant contain powerful immune stimulators that will boost your ability to fight off the flu.
3. Oil of Oregano
Yes, it tastes and smells quite potent, but it also provides powerful protection against illness. Oil of oregano contains a compound called carvacrol, which has been proven to help protect the immune system from bacteria. The miracle oil is also effective at killing existing bacteria in your system.
It's a delicious part of any diet, but it's also a pro flu-fighting agent. Garlic has been proven to boost immune function and contains compounds that help your immune system fight off germs. When the garlic is crushed or chewed, compounds are turned into allicin, which gives garlic its status as an immune-boosting champion.
5. Vitamin E
Found in almonds, spinach, and avocado, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that aids in the production of B-lymphocytes. These aids fend off illness and help the production of antibodies. As an antioxidant, vitamin E also helps stimulate the production of immune cells – a win-win all around.
Elderberry has been used as a remedy for centuries. Sambucol, an extract from elderberry, is used to put a halt to nasty flu symptoms. Research has shown that elderberry helps stops the production of cytokines that direct white blood cells to cause inflammation, especially in influenza. The magical berry has also proven to increase the production of non-inflammatory infection-fighting cytokines. In translation: elderberry both helps reduce the length of an illness and also prevents it from ever happening.
There's a reason you're told to drink ginger ale when experiencing an upset stomach. Although it may feel temporarily unpleasant, Ginger produces sweat that helps the body flush out toxins that can cause the even more unpleasant flu. Chewing a small piece of ginger daily or consuming ginger based teas are recommended for fighting infection.
It's important to check with your doctor before taking any of the aforementioned supplements to ensure they don't interfere with any existing medication or medical conditions. For best results, supplements should be taken in balance with a healthy diet.