Now that winter is setting in, we start to feel the effects of flus, coughs and colds around us. This happens due to the temperature change which allows different viruses to survive, there is also evidence showing that exposure to cold temperatures suppress the immune system.
The immune system works to defend us against germs and microorganisms, which threaten to attack our body and cause illness like viruses, bacteria and infections. It works in a system to create immunity, meaning that it needs the rest of the body to cooperate.
How can we support our immune system to keep fully functioning and stay healthy during this time?
- Eating three wholesome meals a day, giving you valuable nutrients to support your immune system with a variety at each meal of proteins like meat, fish, eggs, and cheese. Complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, barley, oats, and brown rice. Good fats found in nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil. Cooking with onions, garlic, and ginger are great immune boosters and eating lots of vegetables and some fruits in different colours and are high in vitamin C and friendly bacteria, these foods provide the body with a range of different nutrients.
- Reduce immune depressors – processed meats, fried foods, coffee, tea, alcohol, cigarettes, refined foods, artificial sweeteners, added sugars, and soft drinks. These reduce nutrient absorption and suppress the immune system.
- Drink plenty of water and herbal teas, these cleanse and hydrate the body. Water also helps in the production of lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells around the body.
- Exercise is important for weight management and helps antibody production, obesity is cause for higher incidence of infection and slower recovery, it also helps you feel better and sleep better. Try to exercise outdoors when possible to get some fresh air and sunshine.
- Reduce stress as much as possible, meditation, relaxation, socialising, and having some fun, or a good laugh are all ways to support yourself against reduced immune response, and low levels of antibody production.
- A good night’s sleep is vital to your health; studies have shown lower levels of antibodies in people suffering with insomnia and lack of sleep in general.
- Wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom to reduce picking up or passing on germs.
Keep well and enjoy the season!