Tips for reducing antibiotic use this winter

The Royal Society has just released a report on the implications of antimicrobial resistance to New Zealanders ( Many microbes are becoming resistant to the antimicrobial medicines used to treat them. Use and misuse of antibiotics can help accelerate the spread of resistance, and everyone is being asked to take care around their use o...f antibiotics. Recommendations from the Royal Society include:

Good, regular hand washing, Take antibiotics only as prescribed by your doctor, Don't insist on antibiotics when they're not necessary, Choose meat and eggs from animals that are not regularly treated with antibiotics.

So what can we do to strengthen our immunity and reduce antibiotic use this winter? The answer is "Lots!". Our immune systems are truly holistic and strongly influenced by our diet, environment and stress. Good immune function is critical for good health and, conversely, good health is critical for good immune function. Here are my top tips for strengthening our immune systems:

1. Boost your consumption of antioxidants, Vitamin C and Zinc, which support the thymus gland, by regularly eating good amounts of fresh green vegetables, berries, citrus, nuts and seeds.

2. Minimise sugar, which promotes gut pathogens that can cause yeast and urinary infections. Moreover, sugar suppresses immune function by lowering white blood cell production after its consumption.

3. Avoid mucous forming foods, such as dairy, wheat and bananas. Less mucous is not only more comfortable for the patient, but also makes secondary bacterial infections less likely, such as ear, sinus and chest infections.

4. Incorporate probiotic foods and drink into your diet, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. These help to keep your gut flora balanced, which is central to good immunity. The bowel will also cope better with antibiotics when you need them.

5. Reduce stress by taking breaks regularly throughout the day, knowing your limits and taking care of your emotional wellbeing. Adrenaline and cortisol are released when we work hard, suppressing the immune system. Fortunately their effects can be offset by fun, laughter, rest and relaxation.

If you are experiencing recurrent or prolonged illnesses, it may be due to an underlying condition, aggravating and depleting your immune system. Your body has a powerful ability to restore health and wellbeing. If there is anything I can do to help facilitate the process then please don't hesitate to give me a call on 022 1981 286, email, or send me a message on the contact page of this website.

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