The weather has started to cool, and along with these low temperatures comes an increased risk of catching the cold & flu! There are a few different ways you can protect yourself against these viruses; the most common being personal hygiene, flu shots (not protection against the common cold) and avoiding being around those who are sick.
These methods have varying degrees of effectiveness, but most will only address the OUTSIDE factors. What about working from the INSIDE, by providing your immune system with all the tools to keep you well?
Here are my tips for staying well this cold & flu season 🤧👇🏼
❄️ Reduce your intake of added sugars. Research has suggested that more than 2tsp of added sugars a day negatively impacts the function of your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infection and illness.
❄️ Eat plenty of fruit & vegetables. This seems like a no-brainer, but it really is SO essential to keeping your body’s defences in tip-top shape. Vitamins A, B6, C, D & E, antioxidants such as selenium and minerals such as iron & zinc are all critical to a healthy immune system.
For a list of immune-boosting foods, check out this link:
❄️ Get plenty of sunshine. As above, vitamin D plays a key role in the body’s immune defences. If you are unable to achieve 15-20mins in the sunshine per day (preferably middle of the day) during winter, then considering a supplement would be a wise choice. In this case, please speak to your nutritionist/naturopath to identify the best supplement for you.
❄️ Sleep AT LEAST 8 hours every night. Skimping out here, whether you feel like it’s affecting you or not, is most people’s biggest mistake. Studies have shown that adults require 7-9 hours of sleep, with teens leaning towards more 9 hours. Without adequate rest, your immune system will run suboptimally and will be unable to fight off harmful pathogens such as the common cold and flu viruses.
❄️ Exercise! The research is not clear on exactly how or why exercise is beneficial to the immune system – but it is one of the essential foundations to long-term wellbeing and definitely deserves a mention here. As little as a 30 minute walk (or 3×10 minute walks) daily will start to have a positive impact on your immune health.
❄️ Reduce stress. Stress hormones have been proven to suppress immune function, leaving you susceptible to illness. Stress isn’t fun for anyone. While a certain level is 100% normal & healthy, prolonged stress can be detrimental to more than just your mood.
If you’d like some more tips on avoiding illness this winter, or need some guidance/advice on implementing the above into your every day life – let’s chat!