Are you ready for the onslaught of winter bugs? While there is no “cure” for the common cold, there are things we can do to boost our immunity throughout the winter to minimise our risk for not only getting a cold but limiting the duration if we happen to succumb.
- Eat a good range of fruits and vegetables – Winter fruits such as apples, mandarins and oranges are full of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids which help boost our immunity, eating plenty of vegetables helps keep the digestive system in good working order helping to maintain an alkaline environment which the body prefers in order to work optimally. Vegetables are also packed with minerals necessary to maintain good health. 1
- Exercise regularily – As the mornings and nights get darker it can be more difficult to exercise before or after work, however keeping the body moving is important to maintain good blood flow ensuring good circulation. This not only maintains cell health but improves mood as the winter can bring on the blues for some.
- Get good sleep – As we now know, sleep is where our bodies repair and maintain, therefore not getting enough sleep makes you more susceptible to getting run down and sick.
- Eliminate sugar – Sugar has been shown to reduce immunity for up to 6hrs, so having lots of sugary food or drink especially when you are sick is going to depress your immune system and make it harder for you to stay healthy.2
- Reduce stress – Studies have shown that increase in stress, can make you more susceptable to getting colds and flu. Minimise your stress by taking time each day to do something for you, such as taking a hot bath or having a massage, or just 10 min to read your book or favourite blog.3
- Wash hands regularily -Bacteria and viruses are often left on surfaces and other places, such as other people’s hands! Making sure you wash your hands regularly can reduce the likelihood of these germs entering the body.
- Supplementation – Even if you are eating plenty of healthy foods you may still need supplementation. Our recommendations for winter prevention are:
Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc. However as each of us is unique, it is a good idea to consult with your healthcare practitioner or come see us at Vitalise Health to see what you needs if any may be.
If you do feel like you are getting sick, despite your best efforts the following will help you recover more quickly:
- Eliminate all dairy products as they can encourage mucous
- Eliminate alcohol
- Eliminate sugar, and other simple carbohydrates
- Eat soups and easily digested foods, so that your body can use all it’s energy for fighting
- Boost your vitamin C and Zinc intake, and take herbs such as Echinacea, Andrographis and Olive Leaf
- Increase your water consumption
- Try to get more rest than usual
These are the basics of boosting your immunity to stay healthy through the winter, if you would like to discuss this topic further in how to keep your family healthy this winter or consult with me about additional supplements please contact us. Enjoy the recipe below, one of my winter favourites!
GREEN LENTIL, LEEK AND SPINACH SOUP
• preparation 2 hours 15 minutes • cooking 45 minutes • serves 4
- 350g green lentils (cover and soak for 2 hours)
- 3 leeks finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 large potato peeled and chopped into bite size chunks
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp thyme
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 8 cups water
- 500g spinach washed and heavy stems removed, chopped
- Coconut oil / ghee
Heat a saucepan add oil, garlic and leeks and cook for a couple of minutes
Add potatoes and cook for a further three minutes
Add thyme, oregano, stock, water and drained lentils
Simmer for 40min, stirring occasionally
When lentils and potato are tender add lemon juice and spinach, cook for another two min and then serve
- Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of healing foods. New York, NY10020: Atria Books.
- Sanchez, A., Reeser, J. L., Lau, H. S., Yahiku, P. Y., Willard, R. E., McMillan, P. J., & … Register, U. D. (1973). Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 26(11), 1180-1184.
- Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., Doyle, W. J., Miller, G. E., Frank, E., Rabin, B. S., & Turner, R. B. (2012). Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America, 109(16), 5995-5999. doi:10.1073/pnas.1118355109