Black Tea Fountain Inn SC
Fort Mill, NC
Heal Thyself - Spotlight on Immunity
By Julia Van Tine
If you’re reading this now, in midwinter, chances are your most immediate need is to find ways to ease the burden of the season’s colds and flus. This year’s shortage of flu vaccine, which raises everyone’s risk of getting sick, only makes the task more urgent.
But there are plenty of other reasons to pay attention to your immune system. It does much more than protect you from the occasional cold or virus—it’s the backbone of your defense against a world of invisible perils. When it’s healthy, its T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells work quickly, decisively, and in harmony to ambush rogue microorganisms, environmental toxins, and cells gone awry. You might liken its workings to expert dancers who can anticipate their partners’ every move. All of them are supported by other cells, tissues, and organs that search out and destroy marauding microbes.
And the payoff for tending to your immune system on a daily basis, giving it the same care and consideration you give, say, a beloved pet, is considerable. You can lessen the risk of all sorts of ailments: environmental allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer.
What’s the best way to bolster this protective armor? You already know about giving your immune system the basics it requires to function: a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; adequate rest and exercise; and a stress level that doesn’t get out of hand.
But these days, supplement aisles are packed with products that claim to boost your immunity even further. Some really deliver, and some don’t. Here are the ones that can keep you healthy—not just during the cold season, but all year round. All have a good track record, so you can pretty much pick the one or ones that appeal to you. (The more the merrier.)
• Fight flu with elderberry
In the 18th century, Europeans drank hot wine made from the berries of the elderberry tree to ease cold and flu symptoms. Modern herbalists still recommend elderberry for viral infections, especially the flu.
“The extract inhibits replication of several strains of influenza A and B,” says Oklahoma City physician Larry Altshuler, author of Balanced Healing: Combining Modern Medicine with Safe and Effective Therapies. In a study of 60
Norwegian men and women with early-stage flu, those who got elderberry extract recovered more quickly and used less medicine than those who took a placebo extract. User’s tip: While elderberry is available in various forms, Altshuler says the best research has been done on the syrup. Follow label directions.
• Sip a soothing cuppa
Tea drinkers rejoice: Your favorite beverage may help you fight off colds and flu. Harvard University researchers found that people who drank five cups of black tea a day for two weeks had stronger T cell responses to bacteria than those who drank coffee. Green, white, and red teas can also offer immune benefits.
User’s tip: Can’t drink five cups a day? Fewer ...
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