How to boost your immune health
Protecting yourself from viral infections, particularly with the upcoming change into the cooler months, can be achieved through good hygiene practices and some simple, holistic health strategies.
“Complementary medicine therapists, including Naturopaths, Nutritionists and Western Herbal Medicine Practitioners work to strengthen the body’s natural defense systems to prevent and reduce signs and symptoms of infection” Louise Rubic, Senior Learning Facilitator, TUA
Complementary Medicine practitioners assess individual health to develop personalised support strategies that target the needs of the client. A prevention strategy can include improving the body’s ability to resist infection by addressing factors that impact immune health. These include such things as chronic stress, poor sleep, hygiene, lifestyle and dietary imbalance.
Prevention is better than cure!
Avoid exposure to pathogens where you can:
- Move away from people that appear ill and are displaying symptoms such as coughing and sneezing
- Avoid greeting people by shaking hands, hugging or kissing, if that person appears unwell
- Wash and dry your hands after touching public surfaces and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- If you are unable to wash your hands use a hand sanitiser product
- Wash all fresh fruit and vegetables before eating or preparation
- Advice from the World Health Organisation is that face masks are unnecessary for healthy people.
Keep your immune system in good shape:
- Engage in moderate exercise regularly
- Ensure you get adequate sleep
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of colourful plant foods, protein from lean meats, eggs, legumes and nuts. Reduce processed foods, sugar and too much salt
- Keep well hydrated by drinking filtered water, herbal teas and eating fresh fruits and vegetables
- Add herbs and spices to your diet such as garlic, thyme, oregano, clove and chilli, all known to have anti-bacterial and antiviral properties.
- Add foods rich in antioxidant nutrients; Vitamin C (parsley, citrus, capsicum, broccoli, strawberries, kiwi fruit) and Zinc (seafood, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, eggs)
- Ensure adequate Vitamin D levels with short bursts of sun exposure either mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D correlate with increased rates of viral respiratory infections.
Being prepared to treat infection is most important
In addition to prevention strategies, it is prudent to prepare in the case that you do get a cold or flu. Having a safe and effective strategy for how to treat illness may help speed recovery and reduce discomfort.
Specific herbs and nutrients have been shown to have anti-microbial and immune-modulating effects and support important body systems such as the respiratory system. Herbs may help thin and expel mucous, enhance or reduce the cough reflex, soothe sore throats and assist with reducing inflammation and infection. Taking self-prescribed over-the-counter products is often much less effective than taking an individualised blend of herbs and/or nutritional supplements prescribed by a trained health professional.
- Ensure you have an acute care action plan to complement a prevention strategy
- Seek professional advice before self-supplementing
- Allow yourself rest and recovery time
Support your health with individualised care
Complementary therapies provide a holistic approach to health care. Immune health can be strengthened with nutritional support and herbal medicine that is based on evidence-based information to suit your specific needs.
At Torrens University Australia, student clinics in Nutritional Medicine, Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine serve to support the community by offering affordable complementary therapy consultations conducted by our students under the supervision of an experienced team of academic clinicians.
Comprehensive dispensaries stocked with practitioner only nutritional supplements, western herbal medicine and evidence-based therapeutic products ensure that you walk away with all the resources you need to boost your immune health.
‘The Practice’ Wellbeing Centres are student-led clinics operating in Brisbane (Gotha Street Campus), Sydney (Pyrmont Campus), Melbourne (Fitzroy Campus)
To make an appointment with us in clinic, please click here for more information: The Practice Wellbeing Centres.
Article written by:
MPH. BHSc (Comp Med).
Learning Facilitator in the Health faculty for Nutrition and Public Health, Nutrition Clinic Coordinator for the Pyrmont Campus. Clinical Naturopath with a special interest in the role of Complementary Medicine in chronic disease prevention.
Urashima, M., Segawa, T., Okazaki, M., Kurihara, M., Wada, Y. & Ida,H. (2010). Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91:5, , P1255–1260
Wang, H., Chen, W., Li, D., Yin, X., Zhang, X., Olsen, N., & Zheng, S. G. (2017). Vitamin D and Chronic Diseases. Aging and disease, 8(3), 346–353. /10.14336/AD.2016.1021
Baars, E.W., van Zoen, E, B., Breiltkreuz, T., Martin, D., Matthew, H., et al. (2019). The contribution of complementary and alternative Medicine to Reduce Antibiotic Use: A Narrative Review of the Health Concepts, Prevention and Treatment Strategies. Evidence Based Complementary Medicine, 1-29. /10.1155/2019/5365608
This article is for information only and is not medical advice. Do not delay seeking medical advice if you are unwell. Always seek advice of your Doctor or qualified Health Professional for your health or medical condition.