8 Natural Flu-Fighting Antivirals

Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 07:42 PM

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard

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The cold and flu season is here. Even though Old Man Winter hasn't officially arrived, he barged in the back door bringing colder-than-usual weather to many parts of the United States Thanksgiving week. The cold weather, combined with stress and holiday crowds, will raise the risk of colds and flu for weeks to come. You can fight back by keeping your immune system in tip-top order by making sure your diet is rich in antivirals — powerful natural immune enhancers.  

“Antivirals are the newest substances to be found in nature, possessing even more disease-fighting power than antioxidants,” says fitness expert Tosca Reno, author of
Your Best Body Now

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However, antivirals do much more than just shield you from colds and flu. Their anti-inflammatory properties are powerful immune boosters that can help protect you from the disease of aging, including cancer, Alzheimer's, and cardiovascular disease.

Use antivirals on a daily basis to keep your immune system strong and to treat various ailments, or use as preventives when you’ve been exposed to disease-causing viruses.

“You can’t get enough of these incredible antivirals,” Reno says. “They should be on the top of your radar every day, at any age, because of their strong disease-fighting, age-proofing, and immune-system-boosting properties.”

Enjoy the following eight antivirals as a part of your daily diet, or buy them as supplements and follow directions on the label. Either way, Reno says, you’ll be giving your health a boost.
 
Turmeric. Turmeric contains the antiviral curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps to prevent many deadly diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and Parkinson’s. One study at the University of California, Los Angeles, found curcumin may treat Alzheimer's by slowing the build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain.
 
Laboratory studies at the University of Texas found that turmeric appeared to prevent the development and spread of many types of cancer, including breast, colon, and melanoma. Additional studies have found a link between a reduced risk of leukemia and colon cancer in populations whose diets include large amounts of turmeric.
 
One study published in Gut, a publication of the British Medical Journal, found that turmeric delays liver damage that eventually causes cirrhosis

A 2012 study gave turmeric's active ingredient — curcumin — as supplements to 124 adults with prediabetes, with 116 prediabetics as controls. After nine months, 19 of the 116 controls had developed diabetes, but no one in the curcumin group did.

Turmeric can be purchased as a supplement. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Rosemary. Rosemary improves brain function and circulation, and also lowers the risk of developing cancer, according to several studies. Researchers in California and Japan found that rosemary contains carnosic acid, which protects the brain against damage by free radicals, helping prevent strokes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. A study conducted in the United Kingdom found when volunteers worked in cubicles scented by rosemary, they had better long-term memory than those in unscented cubicles, and a 2013 study found that rosemary extract was effective against mild cognitive impairment — a precursor to Alzheimer's.

In addition, researchers recommend adding rosemary extract to ground beef to reduce the cancer-causing chemicals that can form when meat is cooked, especially at high temperatures. Add rosemary to favorite dishes or buy as a supplement and follow directions on the label.
Garlic. According to Cancer.gov, studies have found that garlic lowers the risk of pancreatic cancer by 54 percent, prostate cancer by 50 percent, colon cancer by 50 percent, and stomach cancer by 52 percent. Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina found that sulfur compounds in garlic are effective against glioblastoma, a fatal type of brain tumor. Garlic has also been found to lower the risk of esophageal, breast, bladder, and skin cancer.
A British study found that people taking a garlic supplement containing allicin each day reduced their chances of catching a cold by more than half when compared to those taking a placebo. In addition, those who caught colds recovered more quickly, and their chances of an infection following the cold were significantly reduced.
Garlic is also a potent ally in the fight against cardiovascular disease. Several studies have found that garlic lowers blood levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol — the "bad" forms — as much as 20 percent. In one large study, those who took 800 milligrams of powdered garlic daily for four months lowered their cholesterol by 12 percent and their triglycerides by 17 percent, while the placebo group experienced little change.

Green tea. Green tea contains catechins — powerful disease-fighters that fight cancer and lower cholesterol. A Taiwanese study found that drinking green tea daily reduced the risk of developing lung cancer by 66 percent, and smokers who didn’t drink green tea increased their risk 13-fold. Other studies link green tea with a lower risk of numerous other cancers, including breast, stomach, skin, oral, esophageal, prostate, uterine, pancreatic, and colorectal, as well as leukemia. 
Green tea may be the key to reducing the risk of dying from heart disease. Researchers at Japan’s Okayama University found that senior citizens who drank large amounts of green tea slashed their risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 76 percent.
 
Coffee. Researchers are discovering coffee is much more than just an eye-opener. It’s an ally against developing diabetes. The Iowa Women’s Health Study observed 23,000 menopausal women over 11 years and found that those who drank more than six cups of coffee (including caffeine-free) a day lowered their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 22 percent when compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. And a meta-analysis of 500,000 people found a 7 percent reduction in diabetes risk for every cup of coffee drunk each day.
 
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Scientists have found that coffee lowers the risk of developing several cancers, including kidney, breast, prostate, liver, ovarian, and head and neck.
 
Drinking moderate amounts of coffee during middle age — classified as three to five cups daily — can decrease the risk of dementia by 65 percent, according to a study by Swedish and Finnish researchers.
 
Resveratrol. This component of grapes is present in much higher amounts in wine than in grape juice and may be responsible for the “French Paradox” — the apparent ability of the French to eat high-fat diets and drink copious amounts of red wine and still have low rates of heart disease and cancer.
 
An avalanche of studies show that moderate drinking, which is considered to be two glasses of wine each day for men and one for women, can aid your body from head to toe, including helping you fight cancer, lose weight, and maintain a sharp intellect.
Some studies show that moderate amounts of wine lower the risk of heart attack by 30 to 50 percent, and regular wine drinkers reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer's by 80 percent. Wine also appears to reduce the risk of some cancers: A study done at New York's Stony Brook University found that people who drink at least three glasses of red wine each week cut their risk of colorectal cancer by almost 70 percent. But be wary; heavy drinking can increase the risk.
 
Gingko biloba. Gingko increases circulation in the brain, thus enhancing memory and brain function. A study at UCLA examined the effects of gingko biloba in patients aged 45 to 75 who complained of mild age-related memory loss, but did not have dementia. One group received 120 mg of ginkgo biloba twice daily and one group received a placebo. Verbal recall, measured by cognitive tests, improved in volunteers taking ginkgo biloba. An animal study at Johns Hopkins found that ginkgo prevented or reduced brain damage after an induced stroke.
 Coconut oil. Coconut oil has been used in traditional medicine around the world to treat a wide range of ailments. Modern research shows its healing ability is powered by lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, which kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi by causing their cell walls to collapse. According to the Coconut Research Center, it has the ability to kill viruses that cause flu, measles, herpes, and hepatitis C as well as many types of bacteria, including heliobacter pylori — the most common cause of stomach ulcers. It may be able to thwart Alzheimer's: Studies have shown that 80 to 85 percent of Alzheimer's patients who take coconut oil show improvement within weeks, says researcher Dr. David Morgan, CEO of the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute in Tampa.  
 
 
 

 

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