Give colds the cold shoulder


Don’t let colds and flus get you down! Beat the viruses that the season brings before they take hold by strengthening your family’s immune systems. With a little bit of knowledge, some simple lifestyle changes, and a few immune boosters at the ready, you can enjoy the weather without the extra challenge of illness!

Regular hand washing is a simple and effective way of preventing colds and flus. Teach kids proper handwashing technique: wet hands, apply soap, lather for 15 seconds while rubbing fingertips, between fingers, under nails, and back of hands, then rinse and dry. Also, make sure to wash hands after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose.

Getting your zzz’s isn’t just to make sure you don’t fall asleep during class, it’s key for good health and immunity. Create the perfect sleep space by providing a cool, dark, quiet room that’s technology-free.

Ditching the sugar gives our immune systems the chance to fight off bacteria and viruses. Indulging in processed foods and any one of the over 50 forms of sugar available negatively impacts our health. Load up on whole foods, fruits, and veggies instead!

Be food-focused by making the most of what you eat and choosing nutrient-dense produce, proteins, and healthy fats, adding in seasonal supplements if necessary (see the toolkit for more!).


Round out your family’s wellness routine with a few key herbs, vitamins, and minerals that help promote a healthy immune system and keep your body in battle-ready form!

Astragalus is a powerful adaptogen that helps to protect and support the immune system, including infection prevention. Avoid if an active infection is occurring.

Echinacea possesses antimicrobial properties that support the immune system. It’s especially good at targeting upper and lower respiratory conditions like coughs and colds.

Elderberry is an antiviral that enhances the immune system, and is great for fighting colds and other acute viral infections. This tasty botanical is popular with kids and can be given as a syrup, tincture, or DIY gummies!

Probiotics can support our bodies by making sure our gut, the home of 75 percent of our immune system, is full of the right bugs. Probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt are all great add-ins to your family’s diet. If supplementation is needed, talk to your naturopathic doctor to find out which strain is best for you.

Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that helps your blood cells fight off bacteria and viruses. If you become deficient, it may make you more vulnerable to colds and flus. Foods like citrus, peppers, and broccoli are all rich in Vitamin C.

Vitamin D helps keep your immune system at its best. Make sure to add egg yolks, fatty fish, fish liver oils, and/or a quality supplement to make sure your family stays healthy!

Zinc is naturally found in the body and is involved in immune cell production and function. A powerful anti-inflammatory, zinc can also be found in seafood, animal products, legumes, leafy greens, and root vegetables.

Before adding herbs or supplements to your wellness kit, speak with your naturopathic doctor to determine if they’re right for you.

—By Dr. Alexsia Priolo, ND

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