by Matt Weik
When fall and winter months are upon us, many people become the victim of colds and flus. It becomes increasingly difficult to not come in contact with other people who are sick. Some people simply aren’t washing their hands often, especially after blowing their nose or sneezing. And it’s impossible to not touch something that another person could have potentially touched and infected such as doorknobs, drawers, railings, etc. Yet, there are some preventative measures that you can take in order to stay healthy and not catch something. One of which is washing your hands more often, as well as using hand sanitizer to kill germs and bacteria when you aren’t around a bathroom. The second way is to utilize five specific supplements to help fight colds and the flu. What supplements am I speaking of? Let’s find out.
5 supplements to help fight colds and the flu:
1. Fish Oil
While not on everyone’s list of normal things to consider, supplementing with fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) is a great way to prevent yourself from getting sick along with a host of other health benefits. Don’t think you only need fish oil when it’s cold outside. Oh no, you should be supplementing with fish oil year-round to be totally honest.
So what lands fish oil on this list? It’s because of DHA found in the supplement. DHA has been found to increase white blood cell activity. This can drastically improve the immune system and ward off viral infections like the common cold. White blood cells are what go out and attack infections within the body to protect it from getting sick.
Yes, the same organisms that are found in common yogurts can help prevent you from getting sick when the weather heads south. Start protecting your body by building up immunity in the gut. Not only will this help fight off bacteria in the system before it has a chance to do its nastiness to you, but in the event that you do get sick it reduces the duration and severity of the cold or flu.
You could consume more probiotics in foods such as yogurt, or you could supplement with the pills—whichever you prefer. The key is to stay consistent with it and remember to take your probiotics every day. This is another supplement that would yield many health benefits and should be consumed every day.
3. Vitamin C
Good old vitamin C. For years we have heard and been told to supplement with vitamin C if you are sick or feel as if you are catching something. Drink more orange juice many say. While you could, it’s much easier to take a pill and be done with it and save yourself from all of the carbohydrates and sugars.
Some studies out there looked at individuals who used large dosages of vitamin C and noted these individuals were able to stay healthy throughout the cold and flu season thanks to a boost in immunity. The upper limit of dosage is 2000mg. Anything more and you could begin to show some signs of gastric distress and even diarrhea.
Zinc levels in the body have been found to be linked to how strong your immune system is. The higher the levels of zinc present, the more able your body is to naturally fight off the cold and flu. For those who didn’t read this article prior and already came down with the common cold or flu, can still grab some zinc to help reduce the symptoms and duration of the illness.
It is also a good idea to consume more foods that contain higher levels of zinc such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, turkey, and lentils. Combining a diet rich in zinc along with a supplement can help keep the nasties at bay and allow you to breeze through the cold seasons without a hiccup—or a sniffle.
5. Vitamin D
While increasing foods like fish and eggs would help give you a boost in vitamin D, you really don’t get the amount needed to truly affect and improve your immune system. For that reason, it would be wise to pick up some vitamin D. Of course, you could spend more time outdoors to get yourself some natural vitamin D, thanks to the sun. However, when it’s below freezing or just about, standing out in the cold isn’t on everyone’s to do list.
Grabbing a bottle of vitamin D from online or your local nutrition/supplement store would be ideal. In addition to the boost with your immune system, supplementing with vitamin D can help you get through the colder months without any changes in your mood. Unfortunately, low levels of vitamin D can increase your chance of depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). So, including vitamin D in your everyday supplement regimen can help kill two birds with one stone.
Do you currently use these supplements? How have they worked for you? Are there other supplements you take that you feel also help prevent you from catching the cold or getting the flu? Let us know in the comments!