My Top 6 tips for reducing your risk of flu this winter!
Unfortunately Colds and flues are rampant this time of year and prevention is always better than cure! Here are my top tips for boosting the immune system this winter:
1.Calm inflammation and boost immunity with omega 3
Your body uses omega 3 to produce beneficial eicosanoids. These eicosanoids have beneficial functions in your body, including enhancing your immune system, preventing blood clots and reducing pain. They are also excellent for weight loss, hormonal and skin health! You can increase omega 3 in your diet by eating 2-3 portions of oily fish per week and including walnuts, chia, hemp or flax seeds daily.
2.Top up your vitamin D levels!
New studies have shown flu risk can be reduced by up to 50% by optimising vitamin D levels. Countries in the northern hemisphere with darker climates are 95% more likely to be vitamin D deficient. My favourite vitamin D supplement is Nordic Naturals Artic D Cod Liver oil, which contains 1,000iu of vitamin D and 1,000mg of omega 3 per teaspoon. Even at these levels it can take up to 2 months to reach optimum vitamin D levels so I recommend 2-4 teaspoons per day throughout the winter months.
Probiotics provide a barrier against pathogenic microbes preventing them from entering the system. Modern day living such as antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals in the water and over-sterilised environment greatly diminish their levels. That’s why it’s important to include probiotic rich foods into your diet daily. You can purchase a probiotic supplement in the health food store or make your own fermented foods at home like sauerkraut, kefir or kombucha for a fraction of the cost!
Sugar suppresses the immune system plus it also decreases our cells ability to absorb vitamin C. Lack of sleep and skipping meals especially breakfast leads to sugar cravings through out the day so addressing these 2 issues can greatly minimise cravings. *Tip: Keep some healthy snacks to hand to avoid the risk of giving into temptation!
Stress suppresses the immune system so it’s important to find a balance in your life. Aim to go to bed early, plan some fun activities with your friends and make sure you have time for R&R. Ditch the caffeine and don’t skip meals which adds unnecessary stress to the adrenals. If you’ve a stressful job then balance it with gentler exercise such as Yoga, Pilates, Ballet Barre, swimming or walking. Intense cardio workouts actually increase the stress load on the body and should be avoided by anyone suffering from fatigue, hormonal issues or a weak immune system. *Make sure you avoid exercise when you’re sick – let your body put that energy into healing.
Simple but effective! The immune system performs better at a slightly higher temperature; hence why we get a fever when we are sick! However this also means it’s not functioning as well when we get cold –> When our body temperature drops we are most vulnerable to catching an infection. Make sure you keep warm during winter months with some simple tips:
- Wear layers and keep your chest and neck warm with a scarf.
- Sip on hot drinks through out the day, especially beneficial are those containing warming herbs like ginger and cinnamon.
- Make some soup! Soup is full of nourishing vegetables to help the immune system run more efficiently and it will also help keep you warm!
- Schedule in a relaxing bath a couple of times a week; this will have the added benefit of helping to reduce stress!
- Invest in a hot water bottle to snuggle up with on the couch in the evening time 🙂
Stay well this winter