So if you don't live up in the tropics like I do, it's likely you've had some pretty chilly days this Winter, and maybe even noticed those winter bugs floating about as you try your very best to duck under, weave behind, and jump over them. Your immunity is the thing you need to make sure is in tip top shape so these nasties don't find their way into your system, and I'm going to give you 10 (of the hundreds I could list) weapons to help you stay fighting fit this Winter.
1. Scrub up
Wash your hands! This is the biggest rule for keeping (seasonal) nasties outta your system. Simple. Easy. Huge impact.
2. Take a tea break
Not like we really need a reason to do so, but curling up with a cuppa green tea can help fight off infections and even rejuvenate your cells due to chemicals called alkylamines in the tea. Experiments found that blood exposed to these chemicals produced a defensive reaction against bacteria that was 5x stronger than blood that hadn't been exposed. I believe the simple act of taking 10minutes out of your day to sit quietly with a cup of tea is also a real calming and relaxing act of self love which will def help your immunity. Yay for green tea! Have superfood bliss ball with it and you're def onto a winner!
3. Add some spice to your life
And boost your immunity. Chilli, clove, cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg are antiviral and have been shown to prevent free radicals from occurring, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the immune system. Tumeric is also super amazing for inflammation. Add these to curries, home made salad dressings, your smoothies, crackers and dips, or just brew up a chai!
4. Hit the sack
Yes please! No one has to tell me twice to go to bed at night. And getting enough shut-eye is crucial if you want to avoid winter nasties. When we sleep, our immune system is essentially topping up it's fuel tank and we all know an empty tank will get you nowhere. Additionally, melatonin is released at night and this naturally occurring hormone encourages sleep but it also supports our immune system. German researchers found that people who are sleep deprived - even just for one hour - have half the amount of antibodies in their body than people who get a full night's sleep. Massive!
5. Get onto garlic
Jam packed with antioxidants, this stinky stuff is bad for vampires, great for humans. Super charged at eliminating free radicals, garlic also helps us avoid infections, bacteria and viruses. Eating it raw is best as tough as that sounds but that's where you'll get the most beneficial goodies. Dice up one clove and have it ready on a spoon; drink a little water, pop the garlic spoon in your mouth; drink a little more water, and swallow it all. Easy! You can add a little honey to coat it to mask the flavour a bit. Alternatively, add it raw to your finished meal instead of cooking it to begin with. Failing all this, grab a concentrated form from your local health food haven in a tablet or capsule.
6. Go herbal
Olive leaf extract = fix-er-uppa pronto! Not kidding. This stuff helps our immune system big time thanks to the active ingredient, oleuropein, which has a beneficial effect against disease producing micro-organisms through its effect on natural immunity. If you chug it back daily, it can help with (and reduce the risk of) upper respiratory tract infections, soothing a sore throat, relieving coughs and reducing nasal congestion.
7. Take a probiotic
In keeping your gut healthy, you're keeping your immune system healthy. Enough said.Fermented foods will also supercharge the good guys floating around in your gut, so enjoy saurekraut, kim chi, organic olives, picked veggies, kombucha and kefir.
8. Supplement your diet
If and when needed. Everyday forever and ever is unnecessary for most people, and a waste of money. This is something I only offer people when I speak to them directly and assess their diet and lifestyle. Having said that, anyone can walk into a health store a grab a multi these days. Be sure to ask for their best one. And please, give them a little info as to why you want it and they will be much better at helping choose the best one for you.
9. Move more
Hard to do when it's freezing cold I know (and why I now live in Cairns) but it's gotta be done. Exercise flushes bacteria out and away from the body through our lungs and through sweat. Doing so in fresh air makes it all the better, as in winter we tend to snug up inside more, breathing in warm, heater-air which may not be so healthy after a while. Get moving everyday even if it's just a short walk. You'll feel better trust me.
10. Act fast
If you do feel something niggly coming on, act pronto as winter colds and sniffles seem to appear slowly but then disappear slowly if we don't act quickly. Jump right onto more fresh fruit and veggies, plenty of water, increase your vitamin C intake; 1,000mg - 3,000mg daily is perfectly fine and beneficial. You could even get away with more if you had too as it's a water soluble vitamin, meaning your body does not store it so there's no risk of (stored) toxicity. Zinc and echinacea are also two biggies that have been shown to reduce symptoms and duration of winter nasties time and time again. If you're on a multi, take an additional zinc supplement. Echinacea can be bought as tablets, capsules, or liquid.
Any other tips that you've got and would like to share? Spread the word in the comments section below.
This article is courtesy of Go Vita Australia
Go Vita Cairns can be found here