Keeping our immune systems strong throughout the cold and flu season is about more than just supplementation. It's also about making sure that our everyday lifestyles practices support a healthy immune response.
Here are Naturopath & Nutritionist Nicola Miethke's top 5 tips to getting through Winter, and the rest of the year, unscathed...
1. Revise your diet
Focus on eating whole foods such as wholegrains, nuts and seeds, quality protein (eggs, meat, poultry, legumes, pea protein powder) and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in a variety of different colours. Fried foods, sugar, refined carbohydrates and soft drinks suppress the immune system.
2. Stay hydrated
Dehydration dries out the protective mucosal lining of our noses, ears, eyes and mouths which reduces their function leaving us more susceptible to infection. Water also allows our cells to take in more nutrients and helps the kidneys excrete toxins and waste products.
3. Establish an exercise regime you can stick to
Exercise boosts circulation, encouraging immune cells to travel freely around the body and thus allowing them to more efficiently search for any invading pathogens.
4. Get a good night's sleep
Skimping on your sleep triples your risk of catching a cold as this is the time when your body repairs and renews its cells. Sleep is also vital for energy levels and mood which can often drop as the days get shorter, darker and colder.
5. Get out into the sun
Optimal vitamin D levels are crucial for a healthy immune system but unfortunately over 30% of Australian adults are Vitamin D deficient. Try to expose your face, arms and hands to the sun without sunscreen for 20 minutes every day outside of peak UV times.