Immunity-boosting natural antioxidants for winter

Herbalist, organic food, health and lifestyle educator and Naturopath Anthia Kollouros tells Fitness First mag her 5 best antioxidants for winter to keep you healthy, even when it’s cold outside. 

Winter means spending more time indoors, eating comfort foods and seeing the sun less. Seasonal changes can impact your overall health and wellbeing due to the change in nutrients your body receives, leaving you more susceptible to illness. I’ve outlined my top antioxidants to help give you the best chance at keeping winter colds and flus at bay.

Cinnamon

Traditionally used in herbal medicine to eliminate excess mucous and fight infections and inflammation of the respiratory tract. It relieves the symptoms of a common cold, cough and sinusitis and is warming to a cold constitution. Choose True Cinnamon, botanical name Cinnamon verum. Buy organic as non-organic cinnamon is irradiated and can lose its medicinal properties.

Olive leaf extract

Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to support the immune system, olive leaf extract may help to relieve symptoms of coughs, colds and flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections. The active ingredient in olive leaf extract is oleuropein — a phenolic compound which is one of the most powerful antioxidants around. Look for an olive leaf extract that is Australian made and “fresh-picked” to ensure it’s as close to nature as possible and retains all of the plant’s phenolics that occur naturally in the olive leaf. Consider adding olive leaf extract to your morning smoothie or afternoon herbal tea.

Kakadu plum

Also known as Gubinge, an Australian indigenous fruit that has been identified worldwide as the single natural food source with the highest vitamin C content on the planet. It contains 3000mg of vitamin C per 100g of fruit — over 50 times the concentration found in oranges. It also contains phytochemicals such as gallic acid, which has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Choose a wild crafted, Australian grown dried fruit powder. Take 1-2 teaspoons per day in water or food or as directed by your health care practitioner.

Elderberry

Traditionally used in herbal medicine to ward off flu and strengthen the immune system. Elderberries contain active ingredients like anthocyanins, a bioflavanoid that can soothe inflammation and irritation and also act as an expectorant and clear out mucous. Choose organic dried elderberries to make a potent infusion. Steep 1 teaspoon per cup of boiled water for 3-5 minutes and drink 3 times per day. Alternatively choose an additive and sugar-free elderberry tonic.

Plants

Try home grown or naturally grown plants (organic or free of chemicals), including fresh herbs such as parsley and oregano and weeds or wild greens such as nettle and rocket. Greens are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and bitters which enhance digestion and help to support the immunity and keep you well during the cooler months.


Anthia Koullouros has spent 20 years consulting as a Naturopath. Combining homoeopathy, herbal medicine and nutrition to provide clients with life-long tools for health, she continues to champion food as the ultimate medicine and is passionate about educating and inspiring people to take care of their minds and bodies with natural, sustainable solutions.