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Going to the grocery store or farmer’s market and not sure what to buy to achieve your best health or how to purchase good, quality food on a budget? Melanie’s food buying guide for healthy meals and snacks is here to help!

Cold / Flu & Immune System Supplements

Colds and flu, fortunately, tend to be seasonal, but our immune systems can use help 24/7/365. Vitamin C has always been known as an all around immune system booster. Please look under my Vitamin and Mineral guide regarding vitamin C. Listed below are all natural supplements (many have been used for thousands of years). Surely, you didn’t think I’d approve anything that isn’t all natural, did you? =)

Cold & Flu

OIL OF OREGANO – This stuff kills off anything, especially cold and flu viruses. It has strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It is thought to strengthen the respiratory system and immune system. It has also been shown to ease sinus congestion and reduce fevers. I recommend Source Naturals Oil of Oregano, but be sure to choose a minimum of 70% carvacrol when looking at oil of oregano supplements.

ELDERBERRY – Age old “winter remedy”. Elderberry has been shown to reduce the duration of colds and flu. I have heard good things about elderberry syrups, like this one from Nature’s Way.

GARLIC – Garlic is known to be anti – bacterial, viral, and fungal. So, it should work against any “bug” that you might catch. It has also shown to reduce the duration of colds/flu. Fresh garlic is great, but you can also supplement. You need a supplement that is as comparable to fresh as you can get, like Garlinase.

THEOBROMINE – This is a component of cacao and is thought to be a natural cough suppressant. Dark chocolate for coughs?! Yum! You need about 450mg of theobromine to get the most benefit which is the amount in one ounce of unsweetened dark chocolate. Sorry, but yes, unsweetened. You can use straight up raw cacao like Navitas cacao powder. Or you could probably get away with a really dark chocolate bar like the 87% cacao from Dagoba (and eat a bar a day until the cough goes away!).

VITAMIN A – A natural virus fighter. Please look under my Vitamin and Mineral guide regarding vitamin A.

HERBAL TEAS – A wide variety of herbal teas can help ward off or soothe the symptoms of cold/flu (include lemon or lime slices for vitamin C). Lemon balm, peppermint, and ginger are good. Check out these herbal blends from Yogi Tea for cold weather season. Traditional Medicinals also makes some good “cold and flu” formula teas.

COUGH/COLD SYRUPS – Traditional Medicinals offers three different herbal syrups that are good. Homeopathic remedies such as Hyland’s DEFEND Cold & Cough can work well.

COUGH/THROAT LOZENGES – The last time my husband was sick, he thought these Jakeman’s lozenges helped out quite a bit. My mom has liked the Zinc+Echinacea lozenges from Quantum Health. Zand makes a variety of natural lozenges. Burt’s Bees make some throat lozenges that are natural and widely available.

*Check out the entire line of products from Nature’s Way Umcka ColdCare & Cold+Flu.

Immune Support

FISH OIL – Fish oil is like vitamin D and magnesium, pretty much good for everything. I first recommend that you eat wild caught salmon and sardines. If you don’t eat either or enough of either, get a high quality fish oil supplement. I recommend buying a fish oil that is natural triglyceride form which is the most absorbable form for your body. For generally healthy people, I suggest 1,000mg per day and for those battling illness/chronic conditions, I suggest 3,000mg. If you eat wild caught salmon or sardines, you likely don’t need to take a fish oil on the days you eat those fish. If you are generally healthy and eat about 16 ounces of fish per week (see my food buying guide for recommendations on types of fish to buy), then you may not need to take fish oil at all. *Keep your fish oil in the refrigerator to protect the fragile oil. I have always liked Nordic Naturals brand but I have also heard that Vital Choice makes really quality supplements.

COCONUT OIL – Contains lauric acid which has been shown to fight off and kill viruses plus coconut oil helps to heal the gut which boosts the immune system. Take a tablespoon per day. See buying recommendations under my food buying guide.

PROBIOTICS – Probiotics feed the good bacteria in the gut and promote gut health which promotes a healthy immune system. See buying recommendations under Digestion Supplements.

VITAMIN D – The real deal as in vitamin D from the sun does wonders for the immune system and healing our bodies. When we can’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun, we can supplement with vitamin D3. See buying recommendations under Vitamins and Minerals.

GREENS SUPPLEMENTS – Raw greens supplements provide a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, omegas, enzymes, fibers and proteins, all of which boost the immune system. You can make your own greens supplements by blending up a bunch of green vegetables and drinking them or… Amazing Grass is a good greens supplement, but if tons of leafy greens are being consumed, this is not a necessary supplement.

VITAMIN B6 – B6 boosts our immune system (and gives us energy). See buying recommendations under Vitamins and Minerals.

ZINC – Plays an important role in our immune system (think zinc lozenges). See buying recommendations under Vitamins and Minerals for a general zinc supplement. For zinc lozenges, Source Naturals (among others) makes some.