The immune system is one of the most important systems of the body, and our most important defender against foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. It is only when we begin to feel run down or can’t shake a cold that we give the immune system the attention it deserves. Fatigue, slow healing wounds and repeated or chronic infections are some of the signs that your immune system may not be functioning at its optimum. There are some simple lifestyle practices that can help you and also some classic supplements that can help you recover faster, and improve your resistance to infections. Tips for a healthy immune system * Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (if tolerated), and low in saturated fat and simple carbohydrates. * Exercise regularly. * Get outdoors for regular sun exposure * Maintain a healthy weight. * Drink alcohol in moderation only. * Don’t smoke. * Get adequate sleep. * Avoid/reduce stress Even our best efforts in today’s busy world lead us to neglect several of these to our detriment. Here is some information on classic supplements that may give you a helping hand. I’ve chosen just a few. Echinacea Many of us have heard the name Echinacea but may not be sure why it’s so popular; it has antimicrobial and antiviral activity and has been traditionally used to support immune function and provide relief of upper respiratory catarrh, sore throat and feverish conditions.3,5 Vitamin C A classic remedy, vitamin C is a great addition to any immune-boosting regimen. Great for the lead up to the winter months, vitamin C can help to build up immunity and ward off colds. Numerous clinical studies support the use of vitamin C in reducing the severity and duration of colds and symptoms of runny nose and watery eyes. Vitamin C’s role in immunity can be enhanced when combined with other potent nutrients such as vitamin E, zinc. Vitamin D Known as the sunshine vitamin, the well-researched vitamin D enhances the immune response to bacteria and viruses. Being deficient in vitamin D has been linked to recurrent infections. Zinc Zinc is a well-known immune-support nutrient required for production of white blood cells that fight infections; its deficiency is linked to decreased immune function.15-17 Mushrooms Mushroom extracts including reishi and shiitake have traditionally been used to stimulate and support the immune system. Speak to Linda Funnell-Milner for more information about supplementation.