By: Kelli Kieselbach
It’s well and truly cold and flu season and not many of us will escape free from one of the many winter bugs going around.
But, did you know that there are several simple steps that you can take to boost your immunity? Take note of the following tips and reduce your risk of being knocked flat by another nasty virus this season.
Below are my top 5 must dos for building your resilience this winter.
1. Get adequate sleep
Sleep is vital for a robust defence system. While you sleep your body is busy producing chemicals that are involved in warding off infections. Sleep deprivation, aside from it’s other detrimental effects, will increase the chance of picking up a cold or flu and will most likely slow your recovery.
2. Moderate exercise
While over-exercising may not be the best for our immunity, regular moderate exercise has been shown to aid in fighting off bugs and viruses. Do your best to keep moving despite the wintry weather.
3. Consume a whole food diet
A whole food diet includes foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. These types of foods tend to be rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants which are required for optimal immune function. Make sure you include regular protein (fish, legumes, meat, chicken, eggs, nuts and seeds) along with plenty of colourful fresh vegetables.
4. Manage stress
Stress, especially if persistent, is known to have a detrimental effect on our immune state. Avoiding stress is not always possible, however managing stress through relaxation techniques, rest, laughter and self-care are all important strategies for reducing the impact of stress on your immune system.
5. Avoid sugars and processed foods
Diets high in refined sugar suppress the immune system by impairing function of the immune cells. As well as this a processed and high sugar diet is deplete in nutrients required for a good defence system and crowds out space where other nutrient dense foods should be.
Still getting sick?….
Some of you may find that despite implementing the above strategies you are still prone to frequent or lingering infections. Nutritional deficiencies, severe, long-term stress, food sensitivities, hormone imbalances and pre-existing conditions might be contributing to low immune function. In this case further assessment and support using herbal and nutritional medicines may be useful for both preventing illness and assisting recovery.