How to Keep Thriving Through Cold and Flu Season
How to Keep Thriving Through Cold and Flu Season
The winter months can be loads of fun, filled with hot chocolate, snowball fights and so much more! But it also marks the arrival of cold and flu season. Making it through in one piece can feel like an overwhelming task, especially with various bugs always going around. But our friends at Orange Naturals have got you covered with this nutritional guide on keeping your immune system in tip-top shape throughout these colder months.
Are you ready? Let's get started.
Bring On the Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are missing an electron in their outer shell, which means they steal electrons from other molecules in the body. They’re generated by natural chemical processes in the body, and a controlled amount of them isn’t necessarily unhealthy. However, when free radicals outnumber antioxidants in the body, it can lead to something called oxidative stress. This can happen as a result of things like stress, environmental factors like air pollution, and ultraviolet rays from the sun. Prolonged oxidative stress can result in DNA damage, ultimately increasing our risk for cancer and other illnesses.
The good news is, antioxidants are great at combating free radicals. In fact, they’re often referred to as “free-radical scavengers” because of how effectively they keep these harmful particles in line! Antioxidants do this by neutralizing free radicals, ultimately preventing oxidative stress and sometimes even reversing oxidative damage on our cells. They neutralize these unstable particles by giving up some of their own electrons to keep them from snagging electrons from our cells.
But wait, how do they help our immune system? Antioxidants strengthen the immune system by increasing natural killer cell (a type of immune cell) activity. This helps our body identify pathogens more efficiently. Additionally, they support the function of white blood cells like lymphocytes, T cells, and B cells, which help wipe out infectious cells.
Looking to load up on antioxidants? Start by incorporating these foods into your diet:
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, peppers, & broccoli are all high in vitamin C
Avocados, almonds, and sunflower seeds contain vitamin E
Squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots are full of beta carotene
Give Your Gut Some Love
Did you know that over 70% of our immune system lives within the gut? With that in mind, it makes sense that having a healthy gut microbiome contributes to a stronger immune system. Our gut microbiome is a collection of bacteria found within the gut. And keeping your gut microbiome healthy starts with plenty of good bacteria that help the gut thrive, called probiotics. These little friends can keep us from getting sick in a couple of different ways.
Just like each of our organs have a special role to play, each probiotic strain does too. Some probiotics produce lactic acid to stop the growth of bad bacteria like Salmonella, E coli, and L. monocytogenes. Other probiotics can act as helpers to our immune system by identifying pathogenic bacteria and other harmful microbes. This is why it’s so important to have a diverse colony of probiotics within our gut! A flourishing gut can fortify our immune response and help us recover from colds and flus faster.
How can you maintain a healthy gut? Start off by adding some fermented foods into your diet that creates an environment where your good gut bacteria can thrive. Some foods to include in your rotation are kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut. Additionally, prebiotic foods like garlic, chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes are rich in fibre and feed the good bacteria, further supporting the gut.
Sometimes, our diets alone may not be enough to maintain a healthy gut. Factors like chronic stress, experiencing digestive upset and taking medications such as antibiotics when we’re sick can alter the composition of our gut. While antibiotics are meant to help us recover from infections by wiping out bad bacteria, they can also eliminate the good bacteria, making it essential to restore the gut with the friendly bacteria we need. Turning to supplemental options such as Orange Naturals Rapid Restore Probiotics can help you get the extra support you’re looking for. This supplement is formulated with 14 clinically proven strains and 50 billion CFU, an extra-strength formula designed to rapidly restore your gut microbiome.
Get Some Sunshine
Vitamin D (aka the sunshine vitamin) has many roles within our bodies. From strengthening our bones and teeth to supporting our immune system, it’s a very versatile nutrient! Since it has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties, it plays an essential part in helping the immune system function properly. Vitamin D is also known to enhance the function of immune cells such as T cells and macrophages, responsible for protecting our bodies against viruses and other harmful pathogens.
What’s more, vitamin D is so vital for our immune system that having a deficiency has been shown to increase our chances of getting an infection. Low levels of this vitamin have also been linked to an increased risk of respiratory conditions like tuberculosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as viral and bacterial respiratory infections.
While getting out and soaking in some sun is one of the most effective ways to increase our vitamin D levels, it’s not always possible. This is especially the case in Canada, with reduced hours of sunlight during winter. So, in addition to vitamin D-rich foods like milk, salmon, and tuna, consider taking a quality vitamin D supplement. Try our tasty orange-flavoured D3 Drops that contain 1000 IU of vitamin D3 and are formulated with medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil for enhanced absorption. Not a fan of liquid supplements? Try our D3+K2 softgels, formulated with 1000IU of D3 and 120mcg of vitamin K2. Both vitamin D and K2 play a major role in metabolizing calcium, which helps strengthen your bones and teeth, while reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Don't Forget About the Kiddos!
It’s common for kids to spread colds and other viral infections, especially during winter. Backing up their immune systems with essential nutrients like zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D can help make cold and flu season a little less hectic.
While fruits and veggies are great sources of antioxidants, we can’t always guarantee that little ones will gobble up every bite. The solution? Zinc + C Chewables. Both zinc and vitamin C are powerful antioxidants that can help fortify their immune system and build strong bones and teeth. An added bonus is that these chewables have a delicious orange flavour that will make your kiddos want to eat them every day!
Keeping Healthy This Season
Maintaining a healthy and strong immune system is essential to successfully surviving cold and flu season. And with support from antioxidants, vitamin D, and probiotics for the gut, your immune system will surely thrive!
Get safe, effective natural products that have been stringently evaluated by experts at Vitarock. Founded by a fellow mom, Alicja is one of Canada’s most respected experts in natural product quality and safety. Every product at Vitarock has been proven safe, pure, green and fair. Come shop with confidence.