Some people get runny noses as soon as the weather gets cold. It’s followed by sneezes, wheezes, and coughs, made all the worse by the fact that they have to spend all day indoors. Eventually, these little inconveniences turn into the flu, complete with muscle pain, phlegmy coughs, chills, and fever. But by then, those little flu germs, hardy as they are, have gone from their first victim on to dozens of others, including, if you’re unlucky, you. How do you keep yourself from suffering the same fate? Your health is in your hands, and you should not take any chances. Keep your immune system strong with these four supplements.
Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is a fish oil supplement high in omega-3 fatty acids. According to Healthline, some people take cod liver oil to help reduce inflammation, especially for diseases like arthritis and joint pain, and as a way to reduce heart disease and high cholesterol. Cod liver oil has an added health benefit as an immune booster. According to a study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, a daily dose of cod liver oil helped reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections. Cod liver oil contains loads of vitamins A and D, both of which are crucial to the immune system and active in creating immune responses, according to a study published in the National Review of Immunology. We recommend finding fermented cod liver oil, which is extracted through a natural fermentation process, and thereby preserves all the vitamins and fatty acids naturally present in the fish, eliminating the need for artificial additives.
Propolis is a compound made by bees. Bees make it by mixing beeswax, the resins of conifers and poplars, and other secretions, and they use it as a coating for their hives. Because it is an antibacterial agent, it is sometimes called the “hive’s armor.” Propolis has been used for centuries as a natural immune-system booster. It was initially used to treat dental problems and infected wounds, and today it is used as an additive to cosmetics to clear acne and other skin conditions, as well as an oral supplement. According to the health and fitness magazine Well+Good, Propolis supports the immune system by acting as an all-natural antifungal, antioxidant, and antibiotic — an antidote for flu season. Propolis can be taken on its own in its solid form, as a tincture, as a pill, or as an additive in another supplement.
Astragalus root is a tonic herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, made from the root of a type of bean plant. It has been used for centuries as a longevity enhancer. According to legend, it helped one man reach the ripe old age of 197 years old! If your ambitions are not quite so supercentenarian, consider adding astragalus root to your diet. As a supplement, the herb acts as an anti-inflammatory, as well as an immune booster and a preventative measure against upper respiratory infections.
Elderberry, the dark, purple fruit of the elder tree, is one of the most widely used medicinal plants in the world. Cultures such as the Egyptians and Native Americans used the dried berries and leaves of the elderberry plant to treat the flu and infections. Today, elderberry supplements are taken to ward off fatigue, coughs, sore throats, and the flu, according to WebMD. Though elderberry is sometimes made into jam, jellies, and even teas, consumable elderberries are often highly processed and deliver fewer health benefits than the medicinal cultivars. Elderberries can be taken as a pill, as a syrup or tincture, or even as a gummy.