It’s always the same every year; the weather starts to turn and then come the nose sniffing and chesty coughs. Before you know it, everyone you work with is sick and you’re left wondering if you’re next. Well, you don’t have to be. Nobody likes getting sick, so instead, take one for the team and prepare yourself and those around you to fight off the winter ills and chills this year.
Getting your immune system battle ready
Think of your body as a soldier that’s about to head into battle – it has to be ready with the best defences to stave off those nasty bugs. But what actually makes for the best defences? It all relies on you having a strong immune system to fight any and all of the bacteria or viruses that come knocking. Your immune system is a complex and amazing thing and usually does a good job all on its own, however with all the bugs hanging around during winter it might need a bit of assistance.
Your health ammunition at the ready
It doesn’t take much for you to make these few simple adjustments and additions to your daily routine to have your body battle ready this winter:
Sleep well and move your body Okay, a good night’s sleep and consistent exercise is good for anyone at any time of the year, but it’s even more important during the cooler months. While you’re getting some much needed rest each night, your body is actually hard at work repairing and rejuvenating itself so you can tackle a new day. To give your body the time it needs to repair, aim for 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep and you’ll be in good stead to fight any winter bugs.
Being one of the most powerful ways to naturally boost your immune system, exercise is just as important as getting your shuteye. Aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour of moving your body each day. It’ll both improve your circulation of white blood cells and also increase your body’s production of T cells (the cells that kill bad bacteria). By doing so you’ll be ensuring your body’s immune response is fighting fit.
Keep calm and eat your greens Managing your stress levels and making sure you’re eating a variety of fruit, veggies and whole foods (instead of all that processed stuff) is another no brainer when it comes to avoiding the ills and chills. When you’re stressed, not only does it interfere with a good night’s sleep, but your body produces more of the hormone cortisol, which decreases your immune system’s ability to fight off infection. For peace of mind and body, try to address what is causing your stress and find an enjoyable way to relax.
Eating well isn’t just about eating your greens; you should aim to eat the rainbow. That means incorporating a wide range of fruit and veggies with as many different colours as possible so your body can get a range of powerful, immune boosting nutrients to bolster its defences. For good measure, up the amount of garlic in your diet to keep the vampires and the flu away – as a natural antibiotic it’s known to destroy any nasty bacteria that try their luck. If eating a plate of veggies is your version of a nightmare then try juicing or blending them into a smoothie to mask their taste while still getting in the stuff you need. We don’t recommend adding garlic to your smoothies though (unless you want to keep all vampires AND humans away).
Take your vitamins and soak up the sunshine (if you can) The sun might be scarce during this time of year but make the most of it when you can. Soaking up some sunshine is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin D (about 5 to 15 minutes of sun on your bare skin), which plays a crucial role in strengthening your immune system. Winter can cause vitamin D deficiencies in a lot of people and if that’s the case for you, get your hands on a vitamin D supplement to make sure your system is still ready to fight off any invaders.
There are heaps of different flu fightingvitaminsand minerals on the market so if you’re lost on where to even begin, why not start with some old favourites; vitamin C, echinacea and zinc. Hailed the ‘immunity vitamin’, vitamin C helps to regulate your immune cells, especially your white blood cells and natural killer cells. Echinacea is most known for its antibiotic and antiviral bug battling properties and has been used for decades as a natural way to fight off diseases. Zinc, a multi-talented mineral, is a great antioxidant that protects our cells from damage, playing a vital role in your body’s first line of defence.
Ready, aim, fire!
So with all that new knowledge on how to stay flu fighting fit this winter, what are you waiting for? De-stress, get moving, have a good night’s rest, and fuel your body with all the tools it needs to stop you being under the weather. You can thank us later.