As we might be more susceptible of catching a cold during winter months, I have created this practical guide which may support your immune system.
I’m going to praise our immune system as, when it is working properly, it is very intelligent and highly adaptive to our environment. It is always in action, trying to protect us from viruses, bacteria, parasites, allergens so, if we take care of our health we’ll then keep those lil’ buggers (aka the viruses) at bay.
1. Eat nutrient rich foods: non-starchy vegetables (e.g. dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts), proteins (meat, fish, eggs, poultry, nuts, seeds), good fats found in oily fish (mackerel, salmon, trout), avocado, olive oil.
2. Cut on sugar filled processed foods as sugar inhibits the immune system by decreasing the white cells involved in the immune response, plus your body won’t get any nourishment from these foods.
3. Vitamin C improves immune cell function and inhibits virus multiplication, so include vitamin C foods in your diet such as dark leafy greens, bell peppers, kiwi, broccoli, berries.
4. De-stress: it may come to no surprise to hear that stress depresses the immune system. When we are stressed, our adrenal glands use a lot of vitamin C to be able to cope with the stressful situation, so I would recommend applying some stress management techniques such as meditation (my all-time favourite), Tai-Chi, or breathing exercises.
5. Vitamin D has been shown to enhance the natural immune response against various infections, especially flu and upper respiratory tract infections. The best source is from exposure to sun, so a supplement might be a good idea during winter months.
6. You might be surprised to learn that between 60-70% of the body’s immune system is located in the digestive tract. Beneficial intestinal bacteria have numerous and important functions, one of them being to support our immune system. These beneficial bacteria can be found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, pickles, yogurt, so aim to add them to your meals.
On a personal note, during winter months, I take vitamin C 1000mg with bioflavonoids as a time release formula, once per day with a meal. As I rarely see the sun in Wales during winter I also take vitamin D3, 1000 IU daily. And I eat a lot of fermented foods.
I hope this simple guide has inspired you to take a bit more care of your immune system.
Be happy and be healthy! x