Want to get through winter without getting sick? We spoke with Rosi and Rolf Hilke, owners of natural products and supplements company Red Seal, about the best ways to fortify your immune system (and how to deal with the lurgy if you actually do get sick!):
What would you suggest women should do to fortify their immune system for the colder months?
Two things that are really important; Floradix and Red Seal Cod Liver Oil capsules.
Women in their reproductive years should check regularly on their iron status. Reduced iron levels can cause a variety of health problems; one of them being having a low immune response. Floradix will take care if this.
Cod Liver Oil contains Vitamins A and D which helps give protection to mucous membranes (i.e. mouth and nose), which are often the first places germs attack to get through to our immune defences.
If you were to pick just one supplement to ward off winter illnesses, what would be it and why?
My staple through any cold season or even when I travel is Red Seal Olive Leaf Plus. This is a herb and mineral mix with Olive Leaf, Astragalus, Pau d’arco, shiitake mushroom and zinc. These herbs have been traditionally used for their anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties and can really help boost the immune system.
When should you begin taking it?
I get my Red Seal Olive Leaf Plus out right at the beginning of the cold and flu season so my system is prepped. For daily protection we take two capsules every day, or if you have started to get symptoms of a cold, you can take two capsules three times per day.
Is there anything best to take at the first signs of a cold or flu?
Absolutely! Red Seal Garlic, Vitamin C, Echinacea & Zinc. I also recommend keeping warm and rest. For sore throats, gargling with warm salt water and rinsing your nose and sinuses with an isotonic salt water solution will flush the bugs out before they can make themselves at home.
What are your suggestions to do if you’re already really sick with a cold, cough or flu?
REST, REST, REST! The body can repair better when we rest and sleep – that is why we get tired when we are sick. We also top up on our immune herbs, and drink lots of hot lemon ginger and manuka honey drinks. But remember to take time out and let the body repair.
Does getting more Vitamin D help with winter illness prevention or recovery?
That is one of the reasons why Red Seal Cod Liver Oil capsules are on my list for winter prevention, as Cod Liver is a natural source of both Vitamin A and D. Studies have shown that reduced sunlight hours mean we don’t get as much Vitamin D and this lowers our immune response, and those with lower Vitamin D levels are more prone to colds and flu.
Some people go a little ‘Vitamin C’ crazy at the smallest sign of sniffles and start eating oranges and downing Vitamin C tablets! Does this actually help?
It is funny, as Vitamin C is now considered a medicine that people can demand even in hospital. It has worked in some cases where antibiotics have failed! Why? Because it can assist our immune system and it works with our body without any nasty side effects.
The downside to Vitamin C is that it is a water soluble vitamin and only lasts in the body for a few hours. This means that throughout the day we need to top up our levels every 4 hours or so. This is also another reason why fresh fruit and vegetables are so important in the diet… every day, at every meal. Supplements are good for the times where there is extra stress or demands on the body or you are not able to get all your requirements through your food.
Any other tips for those who get a cold or flu every year without fail?
Health is something we need to work at every day. Health is not an automatic right… Look at your diet and lifestyle factors – it is about balance! It’s important to take a holistic approach.
Are you investing in yourself with good nutritious food? Or are you short-changing yourself by eating convenient fast and highly processed meals? Are you consuming too much sugar and white flour? Do you have food allergies you ignore? If so, change it. YOU ARE WORTH THE EFFORT.
High Stress levels can also impact your health and lower your immune response, so it is important to take time to rest, enjoy life, laugh and have fun. Look at your environment, relationships and work. Do these also support you in a positive way?