7 Simple, Natural Ways to Boost Immunity and Prevent Colds

7 Simple, Natural Ways to Boost Immunity and Prevent Colds

Try these natural remedies to up your immunity and feel good all season!

By: Maressa Brown

With back-to-school season and the onset of cooler weather, kids and their families are definitely more prone to catching colds and other illnesses. The good news: There are certain precautions you can take that might boost your shot at staving off illness. Here are seven effective, natural immunity boosters you can try (as always, be sure to discuss any supplementation or diet changes with your doctor).

1. Elderberry: The plant, which has been used in jams and syrups for centuries, is also an immunity-boosting supplement. In-vitro studies show that elderberries have antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, and they may be able to prevent you from coming down with a cold, thanks to the elderberry’s ability to activate the immune system, according to research from Hadassah University in Jerusalem.

2. Cayenne pepper: Spicing up your food with this pepper could be a way to face off against cold season. The pepper is a powerful immune system enhancer for numerous reasons, including its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. What’s more, it offers immune system-supporting nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamin C.

3. Vitamin C: Speaking of vitamin C, nothing beats citrus for stores of this go-to infection-fighter. It’s known to boost production of white blood cells and antibodies and increase levels of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses. Pediatrician William Sears, M.D., author of The Family Nutrition Book, recommends taking 200 mg a day -- the equivalent of six servings of fruits and vegetables -- to ward off colds.

4. Omega-3s: A study found that kids who took half a teaspoon of flax oil a day experienced fewer and less severe respiratory infections and fewer days of being absent from school. That may be because the oil’s omega-3 fatty acids (also found in fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, and mackerel) increase the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that battle bacteria.


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5. Olive leaf extract: This age-old health tonic and all-purpose antioxidant also boasts antiviral and antibacterial properties. In turn, it can promote general wellness and stop colds, flu, or infections before they take hold.

More from P&G everyday: 9 Ways to Keep Your Kid's Illness From Spreading to the Whole Family

6. Garlic: Whether you’re using the slow cooker more these days or you’re still throwing dinner on the grill, consider adding a hefty dash of garlic to your seasoning. Thanks to its sulfur-containing compounds like allicin, garlic will stimulate the multiplication of white cells, boost natural killer cell activity, and increase the efficiency of antibody production. And as if that weren’t enough, it works as an antioxidant to eliminate free radicals in your blood.

7. Echinacea: We’ve all heard the wonders this immune-boosting herb might be able to pull off around cold and flu season, and studies show it may really work thanks to its phenolic compounds, which stimulate cells in the body whose primary function is to fight invading particles and organisms. The herb can increase white blood cells and spleen cells and raise core body temperature to battle bugs!

What’s your go-to immunity booster?

Maressa Brown is a senior staff writer for The Stir. She loves writing about and reading up on health/fitness, relationships, and pop culture -- preferably on a beach somewhere.

Image ©iStock.com/Taiftin

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