Keeping your immune system in tip-top shape is important always, but especially so during winter. While most of us know that we need to eat write, get plenty of rest, exercise, etc., we may be sabotaging our efforts without realizing it. An excellent article in Bottom Line Health, January 2015, gives a few tips on boosting immunity. First, ditch the anti-bacterial soaps. A main ingredient, triclosan, fuels the growth of anti-biotic resistant bugs. With frequent use, you can set up your body to develop ‘super’ infections that can occur as a complication of colds, the flu, or viral pneumonia. Secondly, skip the sugar, refined carbs, and high-fructose corn syrup, which can hog-tie the effectiveness of your immune cells. As soon as you notice signs of a cold or flu, cut these foods out of your diet. If you need a sweetener, try raw honey, which actually has immune-building properties. Thirdly, power up your immunity with fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled veges, kefir, yogurt, or kombucha. These provide ‘good bacteria’, where they keep intestinal microbes in check and elevate your number of disease-fighting T cells. Lastly, two supplements can boost immunity: N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which the body converts to glutathione-the most powerful antioxidant in the body, and elderberry syrup. When used within the first 48 hours of feeling flu symptoms, this syrup (made from naturally anti-viral elderberries), relieved symptoms four days faster than a placebo.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.