The Winter bugs are here. Don’t you just love it how the germs continue to be shared between every member of the family?! As soon as one person is better, the next one gets struck down and it can feel like your family is stuck on a continuous sickness cycle.
There is a lot to be said about resting and recuperating but unfortunately our society is given the message to ‘solider on’ and get on with it. This can only prolong an illness or drive it further into the body i.e. a cold turning into bronchitis or sinusitis.
We have put together 6 Immune Boosting Tips that are easily incorporated into your daily routine.
Immune Boosting Tip #1 – No Sugar
Excess sugar starts to depress the immune system 30 minutes after ingestion and can last up to 5 hours
Excess sugar can reduce the immune system’s bacteria fighting ability by 40%.
Other names for Sugar:
Glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, rice malt syrup, golden syrup, caramel, coconut sugar, agave, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, maltodextrin, treacle plus many more!
Immune Boosting Tip #2 – Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps reduce the duration and severity of the common cold.
Vitamin C increases the production of our white blood cells which are necessary in fighting off viruses.
Top 5 Vitamin C Foods:
1. Guava 243mg/100mg
2. Red Capsicum 172mg/100mg
3. Broccoli 106mg/100mg
4. Kiwi fruit 71mg/100mg
5. Kale 55mg/100mg
Immune Boosting Tip #3 – Good Sleep
Lack of sleep reduces our white blood cells, which are required to fight off invading viruses.
A fever is a normal immune response, the body heats up to kill the invading pathogen but if we have delayed sleep or waking frequently, the body may not be able to get a real sweat going.
Tips for a good nights sleep:
1. No caffeine after 2pm
2. No phones, TV’s, tablets in the bedroom
3. Don’t eat too late
4. Try some herbal teas to help you sleep – Passionflower, Lavender and Chamomile are perfect
Immune Boosting Tip #4 – Echinacea
Echinacea boosts the immune system by increasing white blood cells (the good guys) and destroying viruses and bacteria cells (the bad guys).
The roots of the echinacea plant exert better immune effects than the aerial parts (flower and leaves).
Echinacea is beneficial for:
1. Symptomatic relief and prevention of upper respiratory infections (common cold)
2. Boosting weakened immune systems (recurrent infections)
3. Swollen lymph glands
Immune Boosting Tip #5 – Reduce Stress
Our body secrets a hormone called cortisol in response to stress, but if it is continually high it begins to suppress your immune response leaving you more susceptible to viruses and infections that may begin to reoccur every few weeks.
Other forms of stress we often don’t think about:
1. Environmental: Pollution, herbicides & pesticides
2. Illnesses and inflammation in the body
3. Food Intolerances
4. Poor sleep
Immune Boosting Tip #6 – Zinc
Zinc is essential for cells of the immune system. Zinc deficiency affects the ability of T cells and other immune cells to function as they should.
Symptoms such as poor wound healing, loss of appetite, hair loss, rough and dry skin and poor sense of taste can all be signs of zinc deficiency.
Top 5 Zinc Foods:
3. Pumpkin seeds
4. Tahini (Sesame seeds)
If you have been continually sick this Winter and can’t seem to shake it, lets work together to boost your immune system and get over it once and for all.
If you struggle each winter with constant illness, have a chat with our Naturopath, Chantelle and find out ways to help boost your immune system this winter. She offers a free 20 minute health chat over the phone. Spaces are limited and fill up fast, so be quick!