Perhaps the most common health problem that millions of Indians face on a frequent basis is cold and flu. Although these respiratory infections affect maximum people during June-October, their cases are reported all year round. The common cold is associated with symptoms like the runny or blocked nose. Flu, on the other hand, has more severe symptoms like fever, cough, congestion, body ache and fatigue and can lead to severe associated complications.
In most cases, people rely on over-the-counter medicines to treat the symptoms of cold or flu. But what if you can reduce their severity or prevent the risk of you contracting these viral infections at all, without any medication? According to research, there are quite a few supplements such as Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Zinc, which can help bolster your immune function naturally and protect you from the misery of the approaching cold and flu season.
Read on to know more about these immune system-enhancing health supplements:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can stimulate the production of white blood cells to fight off the viruses that enter the body and thus, boost the immune system. Its antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties can help dry up a running nose. It can also reduce the duration of the cold by at least a day or so. Some studies suggest that taking supplemental Vitamin C on a daily basis can even help prevent flu.
Echinacea is an herbal supplement known to treat respiratory infections. If taken daily, it can reduce the severity and duration of colds by 10 to 30 percent. Studies have shown this herb to increase the number of white blood cells and strengthen the immune system to improve body’s defense against flu viruses.
Zinc is an essential mineral for numerous metabolic processes in the body, and there is no doubt that its deficiency can affect the overall immune function. Thus, taking a zinc supplement early in the course of a cold or flu can reduce its duration as well as the severity of its symptoms such as a sore throat and chills. Some studies even suggest that its extended use can prevent the risk of cold in people altogether.
Another herb that has shown promise in reducing the symptoms of the cold and flu is Elderberry. Use of probiotics might also help prevent infections of the upper respiratory tract. For people who are deficient in Vitamin D, taking a supplement like GNC Vitamin D-3 can aid immunity to prove effective in avoiding the risk of cold and flu.
Thus, taking a diet rich in these vital minerals and vitamins is essential for getting what you need to stay healthy and keep respiratory infections at bay. However, since most of the food we eat today isn’t half as nutritious as it used to be, supplements such as GNC Ultra Zinc and GNC Ultra Probiotic 25 might be a better alternative to support a healthy immune system and natural resistance to the cold and flu.