Tasty Flu Shot

Cold and fluOne of my favourite immune supporting tips is using berries to prevent colds and flu! Not only do they taste great, but they are also effective in strengthening immunity during the winter season.

Blueberries and other dark-coloured berries contain anthocyanidins, which can enter the cell wall of bacteria and slow growth and reproduction. They are also a good source of vitamin C and and are high in antioxidants, which support the immune system against both bacteria and viruses. Add berries to your smoothie (see my favourite recipe here) or into oatmeal as part of your breakfast.

Elderberry is particularly effective against influenza and other viral infections, such as the common cold. A quick search on PubMed reveals that elderberry extract offers an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza and elderberry extract has been found to inhibit H1N1 infection in vitro.

There are a lot of liquid elderberry extracts on the market these days (including Sambucol and Sambu Guard) but make sure to read the ingredients because some contain added sugar, which actually impairs white blood cells and reduces your immune response! This is kind of counter-productive, don’t you think? Plus, elderberry and other berries taste great on their own, there is no reason to add extra sugar. Make sure you read labels! My personal favourite is Proberry liquid, which is a mixture of elderberry, blueberry, cherry, raspberry, and pear juice concentrates. Many of the elderberry concentrates come in capsule form too, which helps avoid the additives and can be more convenient to carry with you, so check these out too.

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