With cold & flu season well and truly approaching, have you thought about steps you can take to help prevent infections occurring in the first place?
As the old saying used to go – ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’!
Here are a few tips for building a strong immune system:
- Eat a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed foods daily. Include fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as quality protein such as chicken, fish, eggs or legumes. Your immune system functions best when it is getting a continual supply of nutrients to help ward off infections.
- Taking a daily probiotic (‘good’ bacteria) may help to keep the immune system functioning properly, by improving gut health. 70% of your immune system is located in your gut, and if you tend to have low resistance to infections it is likely that your gut is playing a role. It is particularly important to re-establish a healthy gut flora if you have already had to use antibiotic medications this year, as antibiotics destroy your body’s population of good, health-giving, immune-boosting bacteria. I only use refrigerated probiotics, for guaranteed potency.
- Ensure you get enough rest. Take some regular ‘time out’ to make sure stress levels are kept to a minimum, as continual stress can weaken your immune system, meaning you are more likely to catch whatever is going around.
- Keep hydrated. During the colder months, we tend to run heaters and reverse-cycle air conditioning, which can be dehydrating. We also tend to naturally drink less cold water, and drink more hot coffee and tea! Try drinking some hot water with a slice of lemon/squeeze of lemon juice, or a herbal tea if you need a warming drink.
- Make a batch of healing chicken soup at the start of winter, and freeze in individual portions. That way you have a hot, nourishing meal on standby to help you through a rough patch.
- I keep a bottle of Zinc & Vitamin C powder on hand in my cupboard, to help support my family’s immune system health and resistance to viral infections. Most people do not get enough zinc in their daily diet, and this fabulous mineral is crucial to our immune system health, as is Vitamin C.
- Herbs such as Andrographis, Echinacea, Elderberry and Astragalus have traditionally been used to support the immune system.