FIGHT OFF BUGS THIS WINTER WITH OUR IMMUNE BOOSTING TIPS:
Winter is here & with it comes sniffles, sneezes, coughs & colds! Most of us will pick up some sort of nasty bug during winter, whether it’s from being around sick people at work, at the supermarket or from our kids bringing them home from school! Unfortunately, we can’t avoid these germs and viruses but by having a strong immune system can help us become sick less often, and shorten the length of these illnesses.
We’ve outlined below some simple things you can start to integrate into your life to help make your immune system strong.
EAT PLENTY OF NUTRIENT RICH FOODS – If you fill your diet with more whole plant foods & nutrient-rich foods you will give yourself the upper hand against harmful pathogens. Whole plant foods such as vegetables, legumes, nuts & seeds are high in nutrients & antioxidants, fibre & vitamins all of which help to lower your susceptibility to sickness.
Protein is also important to the immune system, especially for healing and recovery. Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Vitamin C helps protect you from infection and boosts immunity. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals and helps improve immune function. Zinc, Vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, also may influence immune response. A few examples of nutrient-rich foods include carrots, citrus fruits, capsicum, broccoli, blueberries, almonds and brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, meat, shellfish, and legumes.
DRINK GREEN TEA – Green tea is packed full of antioxidants called ‘catechins’ which appear to improve immune function. Green tea is steamed rather than fermented as black tea is, therefore it retains a higher antioxidant content than black tea.
EXERCISE REGULARLY – It has been shown that regular, moderate-intensity exercise can help to strengthen your immune system by improving the circulation of immune cells, allowing them to work more efficiently & also helps to reduce inflammation. Too much high-intensity exercise however can have the opposite effect. Jogging, biking, swimming, walking are all great options.
SLEEP – Your body needs sleep to recover, repair, and strengthen. If you aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis, your immune system may weaken, leaving you unable to fight off those nasty germs. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines & particular cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or when you’re under stress. Not getting enough sleep means we produce less of these cytokines. In addition to this, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced when you don’t get enough sleep. The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours each night. Teenagers need nine to ten hours of sleep and school-aged children may need ten or more hours of sleep.
WASH YOUR HANDS – The easiest and most effective way to improve your immune system is by exposing it to fewer germs. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, especially during winter. We have all became experts at this because of the Covid-19 outbreak, so let’s keep it up.
EAT MORE FERMENTED FOODS – Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics which populate your digestive tract and help your immune system differentiate between normal healthy cells & harmful organisms. Examples of fermented foods include some yoghurts, sauerkraut, kimchi, & kefir. If you don’t regularly eat fermented foods, probiotic supplements are another option.
DON’T SMOKE – Smoking harms the immune system and can make the body less successful at fighting disease. Additionally, smoking is known to compromise the balance of the immune system.
STAY HYDRATED – Keeping hydrated doesn’t protect you from germs as such but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health. Dehydration affects your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, heart & kidney function & therefore makes you more susceptible to illness.
To prevent dehydration you should drink enough water daily to make your urine pale yellow. As a guideline, you should drink when you are thirsty and stop when you are no longer thirsty. As you get older the body does not signal thirst adequately & you can lose the urge to drink, so it’s important to drink water regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty.
REDUCE STRESS – Stress can lead to your immune system becoming weakened, leaving you open to a range of health issues. Long term stress promotes inflammation and imbalances immune cell function. Find a way to de-stress that makes you happy, such as a long hot bot bath, meditation, yoga, and practicing mindfulness.
VISIT AN OSTEOPATH – Osteopathic care can really help to improve overall immunity, rebalancing the body’s nervous system, boosting the lymphatic system, which in turn helps body’s organs to regulate better and restore motion and mobility to joints.
The team at Evans Osteopaths are here to help you stay well this winter & get your immune system working as it should.
Book an appointment with us today. Click the link here to go to our online booking system – https://evans-osteopaths-ltd.au1.cliniko.com/bookings