Veterinarian Madalyn Ward provides information about basic horse care, horse hoof care, and treatment for equine founder in horses. Dr. Ward is a horse chiropractor specializing in foundered horses, horse nutrition, equine acupuncture, treatment of equine health problems and healing. Through her blog and newsletter, Madalyn provides additional advice on horse supplements, equine nutrition, laminitis, and horse and mule health.
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Horseman’s Health: Don’t Let Cold and Flu Season Ruin Your Holiday Season
Here comes winter which can be a great time of the year to celebrate holidays with family and friends, but it also means extra stress getting ready for the holidays and that leaves you more susceptible to winter colds and flu. Now is the time to really start getting your immune system in shape to help you defend against those winter “bugs” that can ruin your holidays and keep you from all the fun. Here are some natural solutions for how to improve immunity and get your immune system ready to help protect you.
Improve Immunity with Mushrooms
You are probably familiar with medicinal mushrooms even if you’ve never used them and even more likely you may have eaten mushrooms, but did you know that there are many types of mushrooms that have been found to improve immunity? It’s true! Some types of mushrooms have been found to increase white blood cells and their activity and have been found to have properties that kill off bad bacteria, virus and yeast. There have even been studies showing they are useful in fighting cancer and smallpox. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms are reported to be the most effective to improve immunity, but Agaricon has also been found especially effective in combating the flu. Then there is a study from 2011 done with women that had breast cancer and Turkey Tail mushroom was found to help improve immunity for them. One of the powerful components that make mushrooms a great immune system booster is beta-glucan, which leads us to the next natural solution.
Improve Immunity with Beta Glucan
While you may be somewhat familiar with mushrooms, most people are not familiar with beta glucan. This is a simple sugar derived from yeast, bacteria, fungi or grains such as oats, barley or rye. Different beta glucans can vary in structure and the benefits that they are able to provide. The beta glucan that comes from baker’s yeast has been reported to be the most effective at immune system support and it is able to bind and stimulate macrophages which improves immune system function although the beta glucan in oats and barley have been reported as having antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which can also be beneficial. Since the body doesn’t produce beta glucans itself, we have to get it from foods or supplements. A simple way to get the immune boosting power of 6 types of mushrooms and beta glucan together is with this algae and mushroom supplement that combines reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei, with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae.
Improve Immunity with Algae
There are many types of algae and seaweed that can provide immune system support as they provide a lot of nutrients that boost immunity such as zinc, iron, B-vitamins, amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, nucleotides and antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin A. This full spectrum algae supplement gives you a unique combination of minerals and phytonutrients from the lake and sea with dulse, kelp, fucoidan, Ecklonia cava, bladderwrack, Dunaliella salina, spirulina, chlorella and AFA bluegreen algae.
Improve Immunity with Garlic
Garlic contains a compound called allicin that is released when the garlic is crushed or chopped. Allicin has been reported to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, to help fight off colds and boost immune system function. Research done on garlic includes a study in which participants given garlic extract were found to be less at risk for catching colds.
Drink Tea to Improve Immunity
Green, black, white, Oolong, Pu-erh, Chamomile, and Echinacea teas have all been reported to provide health benefits such as boosting immune system function. A study done at Harvard found that those drinking 5 cups a day of black tea over a two week period were able to better fight off viruses. Green and black tea both have antioxidants that can help immune system function and also have the amino acid L-theanine that can help the immune system.
Other Natural Solutions
Your immune system will also benefit from drinking enough pure good quality water, getting plenty of sleep, exercise and finding a way to deal with stress. Washing your hands throughout the day with soap and warm water is a good way to keep from introducing bacteria and viruses into your system in the first place. You can also produce more IgA, a protein that is part of the immune system and helps fight off infections, by laughing, attending social activities, and listening to music. These activities give you the added benefit of being stress reducers which also helps out the immune system.
Don’t let a weak immune system keep you from having fun this winter. Start now getting your immune system in shape and prepared to fight off the bacteria and viruses that run rampant in the winter months. Just being aware of some of the nutrition and lifestyle changes that can help boost your immune system will help you get ready to have the best winter yet.
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