There are some really simple ways in which we may be able to strengthen our immune system throughout the autumn and winter months. Here are a few you might like to try:
* Increase your Hydration: At least 2L of water each day, try to keep a water bottle next to your desk at all times, and take one in the car. Sparkling water is also great, we invested in a Soda Stream to make it easily at home (and recycle the bottles), you could add colourful fruits or herbs such as mint to mix it up a bit…unlimited herbal teas too.
* Improve your Gut health: fibre, fibre, fibre to feed the ‘good’ bacteria. Probiotics – think fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha(in small amounts), Prebiotics (which feed the good bacteria) such as cooked and cooled sweet potato, onions , garlic etc
* Eat more Whole foods: I love the acronym J.E.R.F. – Just Eat Real Food. It is so important we feed our body less processed foods and refined oils not only to reduce the load on our liver trying to detoxify the body constantly, but if we are eating whole foods they are more often than not healthier for us and much more nutrient dense than foods such as crackers /chips / biscuits and chocolate. My real food go-to’s are:
– leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, bok choy, rocket. In salads, with dinner, even hidden in smoothies! The more the better. Great sources of fibre, and kale and spinach are high in Iron.
– citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, oranges and grapefruit…all amazing sources of Vitamin C.
– berries, sometimes easier, and less expensive, to source frozen. My favourites are blueberries which are fantastic antioxidants, and raspberries.
– nuts & seeds
– Oysters are a wonderful source of Zinc, an essential mineral which may boost your immunity, but if you are not too fussed on them! eggs, almonds, chickpeas are great as well.
* Get more Sleep: 7-8 hours every night if possible. Your body will then have the chance to move into the ‘rest and digest’ phase of the day and reset. Memory consolidation occurs when you are sleeping. Hormones that help regulate appetite control, stress, growth, metabolism and other bodily functions are released. Internal organs get to rest and recover and tissue repair and muscle growth primarily occur during sleep. If you have young babies or children to care for, nap when you can. Your body (and brain function) will thank you for it!
* Reduce Stress: or manage stress as much as possible. I find mindfulness and short meditations really helpful to bring me back to the present moment.
* And remember, keep washing your hands thoroughly with soap for 20+seconds, often. We want to keep nasty viruses at bay as much as possible.