Start fostering our Immune Systems

Sep 1, 2014

It’s never too soon to start fostering and protecting our immune systems, and in the autumn, with the new school year starting, the onset of the chilly season and ads about the flu vaccine ringing in our ears, immunity grabs our attention.

Birth, of course, is the real start. A vaginal birth provides the newborn with a natural inoculation of beneficial gut bacteria, a starter pack of microbes which C section babies miss out on. Breast milk, rich in prebiotics, nourishes and promotes these bacteria which get the new human’s immune system up and running and even give protection against chronic diseases later in life. (C section babies can be given specific probiotic powders from birth to help compensate for what they have missed from their mothers.)

probiotics

Probiotics

When do you take a probiotic?

After a course of antibiotics, of course, but our customers increasingly reach for a probiotic supplement to give their immune systems a boost against winter coughs and colds. In IAHS shops you will find a wide range of these supplements, some needing refrigeration, some on open shelves. There are formulae to suit many needs apart from immunity, – for people prone to candida and thrush, for travellers, for diarrhoea or constipation and IBS sufferers, all with varying types of friendly bacteria in varying potencies to suit different conditions and ages.

garlic

Garlic

Did you know that garlic is the most widely used medicinal herb in the world?

It’s a great treat for the immune system, especially if the clove is peeled and exposed to air for a few minutes before being crushed and used. Add it to food at the end of cooking, or if you rub a cut clove on the soles of your feet it’s wonderful for fighting off viruses and bacteria (the bad ones!) and for breaking up phlegm.

All summer we’ve been adding raw garlic to bruschetta, rubbing it round salad bowls and enjoying it in pesto. Try roasting it in the oven now, unpeeled, with autumn veg, tossed in a good organic olive or rapeseed oil, sprinkled with Irish Atlantic sea salt. Roasting changes garlic’s chemical structure and it lacks the health benefits of raw garlic, but the gentle, sweet smoky flavour of the flesh pressed from the cooked cloves is unique and delicious.

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