Winter is the season for viruses and between flu, colds and gastro, they aren’t always easy to avoid…

However, a viral infection being the ‘encounter’ of a pathogen and with a fragile organism, there are two ways in which we can fight against this by simply limiting our risk of contamination and boosting our immune system. 

 

Article written by Ariane Monnami, nutritionist with a degree with micro-nutrition. 

  

Keep your distance

Public transport, bars, lifts - these are all perfect places for viruses to spread but simply getting to places on foot and taking the stairs can reduce your risk of contamination. What’s more, it’s all beneficial - you’ll be avoiding those nasty viruses whilst improving your fitness levels! 

During epidemics, the Japanese often wear surgical masks as protection, but this has not yet been widely adopted in Europe. Nevertheless, you can discretely cover your nose and mouth using a scarf or shawl. 

 

Reduce contact time 

Here are three tips to get rid of viruses before they find a way in.. 

  • Washing your hands, especially after shaking hands with others or touching toilet door handles. However, avoid overusing strong detergents which may irritate your skin. 
  • Regular nose blowing, with disposable tissues to avoid microbes from staying too long in your pocket. 
  • Regular cleansing of nasal cavities, preferably using a saline solution containing oligo-elements such as copper or silver. 
  • Regular ventilation of rooms at home and in the office. 

 

Purify the air 

Sprays and misters containing essential oils are a great way to purify the air and get rid of any microbes 

Just remember not to continually spray these oils as this could have a contrary effect! 

Here are few recommended essential oils: 

  • Yellow lemon
  • Ravintsara
  • Siberian fir tree 
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint 

 

Personally, I like to buy these oils separately and make my own, bespoke mix! 

 

Stimulate your immune system  

This has already been the topic of many articles so here are simply a few reminders! 

  • Vitamin C contributes to the smooth functioning of the immune system and encourages resistance against infections. 
  • Vitamin D simulates the innate immune system and reduces the risk of respiratoryinfections by 20%. 
  • Probiotics, in particular the strain Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG, have shown their effectiveness against allergies and in supporting the immune system. They are also great for protection against gastro flu epidemics. 

 

Stock up on Vitamin C! 

At the start of the new year, citrus fruits should become our new best friends and are best consumed at the end of the meal as juices. However, Vitamin C has the tendency to oxidise very quickly so it’s best to drink your orange juice freshly extracted! 

Citrus fruits are also essential for our grandmothers’ famous Grog recipes.. (see below)

 

Take immediate action 

Essential oils are not only effective for prevention but can also be used as from the first signs of illness, simply inhaled or a few drops used on your tissue. 

  • For common colds: Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tea tree, Rosemary, Peppermint
  • For Sinusitis: Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint, Niaouli, Rosemary, Bay leaf, Scotchpine.

Oligo-elements are also particularly effective when taken by sublingual route (under the tongue or between the cheek and gums) - for example, manganese and copper or copper, gold and silver. 

 

Finally, combine the positive effects of vitamin C, cinnamon, cloves and lemon essential oils by preparing yourself some Grog! 

 

Grog Recipe: 

  • Slice the lemon and place into a pot with one cinnamon stick, several cloves and one and a half cups of water. 
  • Boil for 10-15 minutes and reduce the lemon into a puree using the cooking water. 
  • Filter and drink immediately. 

 

References

  • Grangette C - Probiotiques et immunité. Probiotiques et régulation de la réponse immune allergique et inflammatoire. Cah. N utr. D iet. 2007 ;42(2) : 2S76-85.
  • Heyman M - Probiotiques et immunité. E ffets des probiotiques sur le système immunitaire : mécanisme d’action potentiel. Cah. N utr. D iet. 2007;42(2):2S67-75.
  • Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data BMJ 2017;356:i6583
  • New Concepts in the Biology and Biochemistry of Ascorbic Acid, Mark Levine, M.D. N Engl J Med 1986; 314:892-902