Feeling the cold lately?
The temperature is definitely dropping out there, and as we head into the winter months, now is a good time to start thinking about how to boost your immune system to ward of bugs and prevent catching any nasty cold and fluâ€™s.
Here are a few top tips to make sure you stay healthy and happy this winter.
Colder and darker days can make getting out of bed and out of the house near impossible, but keeping up regular exercise through the winter months is important to not only maintain a healthy weight and stay fit, but also to boost your immune system. Donâ€™t be afraid of the wet and cold! Get outside for a walk, check out classes at your local gym, or try exercising at home with free online YouTube videos or downloading free fitness apps.
2. VITAMIN C AND ECHINACEA
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which supports the immune system and can reduce the duration and severity of a cold should you get one. Echinacea is popular herb which also supports the immune system, has antimicrobial properties, and has shown to reduce the chance of getting a cold by up to 58%. With feijoas, lemons and oranges all in season at the moment, getting adequate vitamin C in your diet shouldnâ€™t be a problem. Supplements containing Vitamin C and Echinacea together are also available at your local pharmacy, health store and supermarket specifically for cold and flu prevention.
3. OLIVE LEAF
Olive leaf is another powerful antimicrobial herb that is effective in fighting against viruses and bacteria. It can be used as a preventative as well as during illness, and can be purchased as a supplement at your local pharmacy, health store or supermarket.
Staying hydrated is very important to transport vital nutrients around your body and also to flush out toxins. Drinking cold water isnâ€™t very tempting during the winter months, so try sipping green tea or other herbal teas, or try making your own lemon and honey hot drink. Green tea is also a great source of antioxidants which will help to support your immune system and lemons are packed with vitamin C and also support detoxification.
5. VITAMIN D
Although there might not be much around, it is important to get outside and into the sun even during the winter months. Vitamin D from the sun not only keeps your bones healthy and strong, but also supports the immune system. It also helps your mood, sleep, and can prevent against â€œSeasonal Affective Disorderâ€ aka â€œSADâ€ or the â€œwinter bluesâ€ (yes it is a real thing!).
Forget bad breath. The active component in garlic, Allicin, is antiviral and boosts our immunity. Add garlic to your meals or try chopping a fresh bulb and swallowing like a pill with water. If you really donâ€™t like the smell, supplements can also be purchased.
Zinc is also important in supporting immune function and has to reduce the duration and severity of colds and flu. Sources of zinc include seafood, beef and lamb, spinach, and nuts and seeds. Supplements can also be purchased, however check with a health professional first.
Sleep is vital for your body to rest and recuperate. Lack of your Zâ€™s can result in becoming run down as well as lower the defence of your immune system, so try to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
9. EAT YOUR VEGETABLES
Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and support a healthy body and immune function. Stir frys, stews and soups are all great ways to warm you up and get your 5+ a day this winter.
10. HAND WASHING
Viruses and bacteria are easily spread by our hands, so always make sure you wash them after using the bathroom, before preparing meals and eating.