As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder during the autumn and winter months, many of us start to experience the unfortunate effects of cold and flu season. Here in the UK, cold and flu season typically begins around October when the temperature starts to drop.
This is because the cold air holds less moisture, and viruses survive and are transmitted more easily in lower humidity. Pair this with most of us spending more time indoors often with little ventilation and you have ideal conditions for respiratory viruses to thrive and spread!
So how can we support our immune system to minimise our chances of getting unwell with cold and flu?One way to do this is by harnessing the power of phytonutrients in herbs and spices like ginger and turmeric. Here's how they can help:
The Antiviral Power of Ginger
Ginger has been shown to have antiviral effects against the Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (HRSV). This virus causes the common cold, and can also lead to more serious illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis in those who are elderly or immunocompromised. The study showed that extract of fresh ginger made with hot water was most effective-fresh ginger tea anyone?
Results also indicated that ginger worked better against the virus before inoculation, rather than afterwards. This means that ginger will work best as part of your winter immune support toolkit if it's consumed as part of your daily routine, rather than as a remedy when you start to feel unwell.
The Anti-Inflammatory Stress-BustingEffects of Turmeric and Ginger
Believe it or not, a bit of stress here and there can actually be good for the immune system. It gets our immune cells fired up and ready to unleash their defences on unsuspecting viruses and other invaders.The problem is, most of us these days experience chronic stress and inflammation which over time starts to suppress and dysregulate our immune response, leaving us more susceptible to winter viruses. Enter.. the anti-inflammatory powers of ginger and turmeric.
Phytonutrients like circumin in turmeric and gingerol in ginger can help to minimise the effects on the body due to anti-inflammatory properties.The circumin in turmeric can even help to reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol!
Will you be harnessing the power of ginger and turmeric to support your immune system this winter? Let us know in the comments below!