As the cooler months approach, the days start getting short and the nights start getting chillier. At this time of year with more germs floating around and a greater chance of coming into contact with infectious bacteria or viruses it is important to keep yourself fit and healthy. There are a number of precautions you can take to boost your immune system and help keep the lurgies at bay.
1. Stay warm and hydrated with plenty of good quality water and hot drinks where possible
Herbal teas, hot water with lemon and ginger and healthy broths and soups are a great way to keep fluids up whilst offering warmth and nutrition.
2. Reduce your dairy intake
Dairy stimulates the production of mucous and histamine in the body causing sinus pressure and contributing to allergies, inflammation and decreased immune response.
3. Supplement with probiotics
Probiotics help boost good bacteria in the gut to help optimize digestion (and nutrient absorption) as well as providing an extra barrier of defensefor any nasties that make it down to the digestive system.
4. Boost Vitamin D intake
In winter it can be hard to get sun exposure for natural vitamin D production so supplementation can be helpful to keep your levels topped up. You can also get vitamin D from eggs, oily fish, fortified grocery items and cod liver oil.
5. Limit alcohol and sugar consumption
These can inhibit the immune system from functioning at full capacity.
6. Up your vitamin C intake.
Good dietary sources of vitamin C include capsicums, dark green leafy veggies, kiwifruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruit and tomatoes.
Studies have shown vitamin C supplementation of a minimum of 3,000mg per day to help improve immune function and lessen the severity and duration of cold symptoms. Try and find a buffered vitamin C formula so it’s easier on the digestive system.
7. Don’t stop exercising.
Exercise helps keep your body healthy and improves immune function. Try and get outside in the sunshine when possible.
8. Last but not least, sleep!
Make sure you are prioritising your sleep and getting at least 8 hours of deep, restorative sleep each night. During sleep your immune system ramps up and the body undergoes reparative and detoxification processes to keep you healthy.
Kirsten Taylor, Managing Director and founder of highly successful company SleepDrops is New Zealand’s leading naturopathic sleep specialist. With qualifications in Naturopathy, Nutrition, and Medical Herbalism and over 10 years’ experience in private clinic Kirsten has a wealth of knowledge on all matters health and wellbeing related. Kirsten has featured on Nationwide TV and radio shows, magazines and newspapers providing insights into a wide range of health conditions.