As we get in to the middle of the winter cold and flu season, it’s time to give our immune systems a boost to fight against viruses. Here are some of the best ways to strengthen your immunity.
Maintain A Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy balanced diet is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your immunity.
An easy rule to follow is to try and eat a diet containing lots of different brightly coloured fruit and vegetables. This means leafy greens, purples, reds, yellows and oranges! Increase portions of vegetables and fruit high in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits, red bell peppers and broccoli.
Ginger and garlic are powerful anti-inflammatory immune boosters so try and incorporate these into your meals alongside other herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginseng and leafy green herbs.
Look to reduce grocery items which negatively impact your immunity such as alcohol and sugar. Alcohol depresses the immune system so it’s recommended to reduce your intake to no more than one standard drink per day to avoid any impact on your immune system.
Try Natural Supplements
Natural supplements should never replace a healthy diet. However, taking extra supplements alongside a healthy diet is a great way to give your immunity an extra source of nutrients during winter.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract has long been used in traditional medicine and is thought to be a powerful immune booster. It’s also noted for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and ability to lower blood pressure.
The roots and leaves of the Echinacea plant are widely used for medicinal purposes as a natural cold and flu remedy. It is also said to help the immune system to fight illness and reduce symptoms of colds, flu and infections.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and is great at combating illness. If you struggle to get enough included in your diet everyday you can always opt for taking a garlic supplement in pill form. Caution: If you take medications like Warfarin and other blood thinners, check with your GP first, as garlic can increase the medication’s blood thinning effects.
Zinc is a naturally occurring mineral which has been linked to decreasing the duration a cold lasts for. Taking zinc supplements or lozenges as soon as you get the first symptoms of a cold may decrease the severity of your symptoms and help your immune system to recover more quickly.
Get Enough Sleep And Try To Reduce Stress
Sleeping is the time when our bodies recover and when our immune system strengthens. Sleep deprivation can lead to a weakened immune system. Getting a solid 8 hours of quality sleep each night will do wonders to improve your immunity and ensure your body is able to fight off illness. If you struggle to get enough sleep each night, see our top 5 tips for getting a healthy sleep:
- Decrease exposure to blue light from computers and smart phones
- Decrease stimulants like caffeine and nicotine
- Stick to a sleep routine
- Try natural sleeping aids like melatonin
- Keep the bedroom stress-free
Reducing stress is also important for strengthening the immune system. When the body is stressed it produces less white blood cells, which makes you more susceptible to viruses and infections. By trying to minimise stress in your daily life, you could help improve your immunity.
Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy during the winter. Drinking plenty of water also gets rid of the toxins in the body. Keeping up your fluids when you’re unwell is particularly important to replace the water lost due to the dehydrating symptoms of flu such as fever. Try sipping on hot water infused with lemon, honey and ginger to keep your fluids replenished.
If you are very dehydrated, try an isotopic drink with electrolytes. Isotopic drinks contain the same concentrations of salt and sugar as is found in the body. This means they replace the fluids lost from the body a lot quicker than just plain water. Choose natural isotopic drinks such as pure coconut water over sugary sports drinks.
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