THE KEY VITAMINS AND MINERALS IN WINTER SUPPLEMENTS
- 2 years ago
There is definitely a chill in the air and winter (otherwise known as cold and flu season) is here again… Brrr! We know it is important to support our immune health throughout the year, however it becomes of particular importance when the cold weather arrives bringing with it an increased incidence of the dreaded flu. At this time of year we can support our health by choosing supplements that contain key ingredients to support immune health and function such as those listed below. In addition to aiding our immune systems, several of these key ingredients also have antioxidant properties. This means that they help protect the body from free radical damage that has been linked to premature aging – that's got to be a good thing!
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant nutrient with many important functions in the body. It is a particularly beneficial ingredient in winter supplements as it helps to support immune function. It has been found that vitamin C may help to reduce the duration and severity of colds and provide relief from the symptoms.
Echinacea – Echinacea helps to support healthy immune function and also has antioxidant properties. During a cold, supplementation of echinacea may support the immune system by helping to increase the number of white blood cells. Supplementation of echinacea at the onset of a cold may help to reduce the severity of symptoms such as runny nose, tiredness, headache, sore throat and stuffy nose and may also help to reduce the duration of a cold.
Garlic – Garlic is not just a food, (although it is great to add to those winter soups!) but also an important ingredient for winter supplements. Garlic can help to support a healthy immune system and is beneficial in relieving the symptoms of colds.
Horseradish – Horseradish is well known for its strong, heating flavour. When taken in winter supplements it may help to relieve mucous congestion and cough.
Zinc - Zinc is an antioxidant mineral that is essential for our health and wellbeing. Zinc is required to support immune function. A deficiency of zinc may impair the healthy functioning of the immune system. Zinc may help to reduce the severity of cold symptoms and also reduce the duration of colds.
Olive Leaf – Not to be confused with olive oil, olive leaf herbal extract has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and may assist to support a healthy immune system.
Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) - Marshmallow has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine to soothe and relieve irritation of mucous membranes e.g. the lining of the respiratory tract. Marshmallow leaf is also an expectorant which means it helps expel sputum from the respiratory passages therefore relieving mucous congestion.
Perilla (Perilla frutescens) - Perilla, also know as Chinese basil, has been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine to help relieve the symptoms of colds such as cough and a blocked nose.
As winter sets in it can be tempting to start eating more of those warm comfort foods that are often high in fat, and also start avoiding exercise so we can stay inside where it is cosy. It is just as important to maintain our healthy habits during winter as it is during the warmer months! Your immune system and general wellbeing will benefit during winter if you maintain a healthy diet and continue to get plenty of exercise. Instead of finding comfort in foods such as bread, cheese, hot chips and pastries, choose warming and nourishing soups and stews packed with flavour and healthy vegetables. Moving your exercise indoors during winter will help to keep you warm as well as fit and healthy.