As we transition into the winter months, here are some tips on how to boost your immune system and stay fit and healthy.
Avoid refined sugar
Research has shown that sugar suppresses the immune system, preventing it from working properly and slowing down our recovery time. By eating fresh, whole foods and avoiding processed foods (that are full of sugar), we can help our body to build up its natural defences.
Look after your microbiome
We have a symbiotic relationship with our gut flora, and the health of it is directly linked to the health of our immune system. By looking after our gut, we stand a much better chance of being able to fight off infections. We can do this is by feeding our microbiome with lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds, as well as fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough, natural yogurt and Kombucha.
In the winter we have a tendency to drink less water. Even though the temperature has dropped outside, it is still just as important to drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day. Evidence has shown that dehydration can lower our natural barrier defenses, so make sure to keep hydrated. If cold water is unappealing, you can try adding fruit or herbs to your water, or herbal teas – they all count towards your daily quota.
Don’t forget the ‘sunshine vitamin’
In winter the angle of the sun changes and we are unable to make vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D plays a huge role in our immune system, and insufficiency can compromise our immune response. As well as food sources such as oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines and egg yolks and cheese, you may also want to consider a vitamin D supplement between November and March, to keep your levels optimum. Check with your doctor or nutritional therapist on the best dosage for you.
Many people enter hibernation mode in the winter. But fresh air and exercise actually helps to protect us from colds and flu. Exercising on a regular basis and going outside for bracing walks will improve your oxygen supply and blood circulation, and energize you for the winter months ahead.
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