With long sunny summer days well over, it’s time to get cosy and start embracing the cooler months, while putting steps in place now to boost your immune system. This will help improve your overall health and wellness during the chilly months.
Our immune system is a complicated and intricate system – it is responsible for deciphering safe and unsafe pathogens and regulating inflammation in our bodies. It’s the body’s way of protecting itself against bacteria, viruses, cancer and other illnesses.
More and more research is highlighting the impact our diet and environmental exposures have towards maintaining balance within our body’s immune system.
Here are our top 5 diet and lifestyle tips to keep a strong and balanced immune system over the winter months.
- Increase your intake of vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc
These are all fantastic immune boosters. Vitamin C can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables such as capsicum, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lemon, green kiwifruit and berries. Foods high in zinc are oysters, beef, lamb and pumpkin seeds. The best source of vitamin D is through sunlight, and 10-20 minutes a day (no sunscreen and preferably a large area such as your stomach) can do wonders for your health. Supplementation could be beneficial but seek professional advice for this.
- Increase dietary protein
Your immune system is made up of proteins and relies on new protein synthesis to function optimally. Protein is composed of amino acids which your body needs for growth and repair, some amino acids are particularly important for immune functioning. Consume one protein source with every meal.
- Sleep 7-8 hours every night
Sleep deprivation activates a stress response, depresses immune function and elevates inflammatory chemicals. 7-8 hours a night is a must! Try our Bio-photonic Light Therapy.
- Manage your Stress levels
Stress puts a lot of pressure on your adrenal glands, forcing them to pump out stress hormones (cortisol and adrenalin) which suppress the immune system. Incorporating deep breaths, meditation or yoga to reduce stress can be very effective.
- Consume friendly bacteria
Beneficial micro-organisms settle in our intestinal, upper respiratory and lower urinary tracts. These guys out-compete the ‘bad guys’ and improve immune function. Probiotics are a great way to go, otherwise consume live-cultured foods such as kefir, kombutcha, sauerkraut, miso or yoghurt.
Don’t wait until it’s too late and you are stuck with the sniffles.