How can we improve our immunity and try to avoid picking up winter bugs?
These tips are information I have accumulated over many years as a holistic therapist - some of which is based on experience rather than scientific evidence.
Drink plenty of fluids - hot fluids are especially beneficial such as fresh lemon tea, fresh lemon & honey tea, herbal teas & regular tea. Chicken broth (see end of blog) & green tea are the most beneficial.
Maintain a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables especially red bell peppers, citrus fruits, papaya, kiwi, garlic, ginger, onions, spinach, broccoli, almonds, tumeric, fresh herbs, sunflower seeds, poultry (chicken or turkey). Supplementing with Vitamin C can be helpful to boost the immune system. Garlic is well known to help a flu or common cold. Zinc is very important - our bodies need it so the immune system can function properly. Shellfish contains high levels of zinc such as crab, mussels, lobster and clams. Yoghurt can be beneficial if it contains acidophilus. However, dairy can produce a lot of mucus so beware when you have a cold. Other remedies which are known to help the immune system are echinacea and citricidal - these can be found in natural health food stores. On early signs of feeling unwell take the recommended dose of echinacea or citricidal (if you can bear it, a very strong taste). If you are feeling very tired and run down it is worth requesting a blood test from your gp to check your iron levels and other vitamin & mineral levels.
In terms of reflexology, there are numerous points I work on to boost the immune system. The immune system consists of the thymus, spleen & lymphatic. These points are found in a number of areas all over the foot. But at home you could work on all of the toes and below the big toe - you would boost the thymus and the tonsils. The tips of the toes (all except the big toe) represent the sinus points. These points can be massaged using a circular movement in either direction. I often apply garlic to my feet and especially my toes (and my children's feet, when they allow it) to help when I have a virus or feel like I am starting a virus. You can apply raw garlic or alternatively buy garlic capsules, cut them and use the liquid garlic to apply to your toes. This is an alternative to taking oral garlic capsules.
Chicken broth is best if it is homemade using organic chicken bones to maximise benefits for your immune system. It can be drunk on it's own or used to make a healthy immune boosting soup. Below is a sample recipe of the traditional broth. Personally I roast a chicken for our dinner, remove all of the chicken for eating and then use those bones to make chicken broth, rather than using a whole chicken as the recipe suggests. You can also buy organic chicken broth.
Chicken broth recipe