People seem to come down with a cold or flu when the seasons change. The dramatic temperature change can challenge your immune system but sometimes the temperature shifts permit a different group of viruses to flourish, and it’s the viruses that make people sick.
Many studies show that rhinovirus and coronavirus are the two main agents of the common cold. Interestingly, they flourish in cooler weather. If your immune system is in overdrive then you are more vulnerable to viral contagions (e.g if you are more prone to hay fever, food allergies, autoimmune diseases, etc).
Here are 7 Simple Tips to Help Strengthen Your Immune System This Winter:
1. Eat Vegetables in Season and a variety of colours. Did you know each different colour provides you with a different array of nutrients? That’s right, so make sure you include plenty of green, red, purple/blue, yellow/orange and white/brown fruits and vegetables in your diet every day. Humans are meant to eat seasonal. Fruit and Vegetables that are in season are the most nutrient dense and cost effective.
2. Look after your gut. Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your gut? If your gut health is compromised then it will affect your immune system. Eat a variety of nutrients that are going to nourish your gut like fibre (oats, quinoa, chia seeds, millet, wholegrains, vegetables and fruit), prebiotics and probiotics. Invest in a great probiotic supplement like Immunity Fuel. Add lots of fermented foods into your meals like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, kombucha, etc.
3. Zinc and Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and zinc keeps the immune system strong. Foods rich in Vit C include citrus fruits, red capsicum, green vegetables, guavas and kiwifruit. Foods rich in zinc are red meat, seafood, pumpkin seeds, organ meats, nuts, vegetables and wheat germ.
4.Get enough sleep. Your body goes into full cell repair when you are asleep so if you are not getting enough or good quality then your immune system will be affected then we can be more susceptible to picking up bugs.
5.Exercise- Regular exercise promotes good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Do some sort of movement everyday that gets your heart rate up.
6.Herbs. Many antiviral herbs boost the immune system, which allows the body to attack viral pathogens. This can be even better than attacking specific pathogens, which antiviral drugs are designed to do, because pathogens mutate over time and become less susceptible to treatment. Some examples include elderberry, echinacea, calendula, garlic, astragalus root, ginger, liquorice root, oregano and olive leaf.
7.Lemon Water. Start your day with a glass of water and a squeeze of lemon juice before you have anything else. Lemon is great for the liver which is the main organ used in clearing out excess toxins in the body. Ensure you stay hydrated and drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Keep your fluid intake up by having herbal tea and making lots of vegetable soups.
Nutritionist, Key Nutrition