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3 Ways to Support Immune Health This Spring

Spring will soon be in the air, and along with it a host of new challenges for the immune system. While winter is often considered the season to focus on immune health, this time of year requires renewed vigilance to support the body's natural defenses. Environmental triggers can lead to a variety of discomforts, and instead of stopping to smell the flowers, our attention turns to seeking relief.

The good news is, there are a number of ways you can naturally support the body's mechanisms for coping with the challenges of the spring season. Here is a sampling:

Stinging nettle. Also known as Urtica doica, stinging nettle is a flowering plant with leaves and stems covered in bristly hairs that cause a "stinging"? sensation when touched. Used for centuries as a natural solution for seasonal challenges, stinging nettle has been studied recently for its potential effects on supporting the body's natural inflammatory response.* It's available in convenient capsules that deliver the plant's active compounds, so you don't have to worry about getting stung!

Quercetin. A type of plant compound known as a flavonoid, quercetin not only has powerful antioxidant properties, it may help support a healthy inflammatory response while also promoting healthy immune function.* To get more of this nutrient, fill your diet with apples, berries, broccoli, onions, cauliflower and cabbage, or try drinking more green tea. Quercetin is also available in supplement form, in capsules or a liquid (combined with vitamin C) that can be taken as is or mixed with water, juice or smoothies.

Pycnogenol. From the bark of the French maritime pine tree, pycnogenol contains antioxidant bioflavonoids and organic acids with extraordinary benefits.* Look for a product, such as Vitacost Pycnogenol Pine Bark Extract, which is standardized to provide 65 to 75 percent procyanidins, the active compound in pine bark.

These three great solutions can help you to enjoy the newness of spring with less suffering. Let us know if they bring you relief, and share with us any other ways that you've successfully managed your discomforts!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women's health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman's Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women's Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.

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