Simple Strategies To Support Your Immune System This Winter
This topic is at the forefront of my mind, as we are about to step into cold and flu season and I have just spent the last week being taken down by a nasty cold. It was not fun, or pretty BUT I’m glad to be on the other side of it now.
It’s not often I am ill, but it can happen to the best of us. If you have been feeling like you are more stressed than normal, this can have a huge impact on suppressing the immune especially when you have been on the go all of the time.
Let me tell you, you don’t half get some very judgemental looks thrown your way when coughing in public these days, as it now seems it’s very socially unacceptable to have a cough.
So here I’m sharing super simple tips to help you keep your immune system supported the best you possibly can to help you get through cold and flu season with as much grace as possible.
1 Sleep & Rest
This baby is going right at the top!!! If you don’t get enough sleep you could be compromising your immune system. Sleep is the time when your body regenerates and repairs. But it’s also during sleep that your body produces proteins called cytokines, these need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. So if you aren’t sleeping enough your body can’t produce enough of these to fight off infections. So if you are feeling under the weather make sleep your first priority.
If you are feeling under the weather make sleep your first priority and aim to get 6–8 hours on a regular basis.
So we know that protein is essential for building a strong healthy body, but it also plays an important role in supporting your immune system as it helps to provide power to your T-cells. When an infection hits, your body needs to produce T-cells to go and fight off the infection. Aim to get a portion of protein the size of your palm with each meal to make sure your body is getting enough of this essential nutrient.
Whilst when it comes to the body we often talk a lot about the macronutrients of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Its really the little guys, the micronutrients that support many bodily functions and that are essential to a healthy immune system. A strong immune system needs a complexity of micronutrients of A, D, C, E, B6, and B12, folate, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium. With vitamins C, D and Zinc that have the highest links to immune support.
The top recommendation is to make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables and so getting a good range of micronutrients from an abundance of different foods. Struggle with knowing what to eat or getting enough veggies into your diet? Then check out the range of Better Body cooks books HERE to give you a head start.
If you are the type of person that seems to be always getting sick, upping your micronutrients could be a great place to get started, though you should always consider speaking with a registered dietitian if it is something that you are concerned about.
Though not essential, you can certainly get most of your bodies needs for many micronutrients from your food, but it is a good idea, especially in the winter months to use a good vitamin D supplement. A recommendation is to get 2500-4000 IU a day. My favourite brand is Better You . This is an affiliate link which just means that I get a small kickback if you purchase a product that I recommend but at no additional cost to you, it just supports me in writing useful articles like this, and I will only ever promote brands and products that I truly believe in and that I use myself.
I also use their kids multivitamins, magnesium spray (awesome for improving sleep) and turmeric too.
4 Stay Hydrated
This is always in every health tip that I share, becuase hydration really does help to fix a lot of things. Water is the flow of life. Think of it like a stinky stagnant swamp, a place where it’s a breeding ground for mould and bacteria. Versus a river when the water runs through, clearing things in it’s path, the water looks energised, clear and flows freely. That’s what we want for within the body too. Flush out any unwanted infections by keeping your body hydrated, get in your daily water intake.
5 Gut Health
Gut health lays the foundations for a healthy immune system. Not only does a healthy gut ensure that all of the essentual vitamins, minerals and nutrients are actually getting broken down and absorbed into the body. But having good bacteria within the gut allows the body to more effectively fight of pathogens when they enter the system and get the body back to homeostasis as quickly as possible.
Eat gut supporting foods such as fibrous fruits and vegetables. Add in gut friendly foods such as Cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onion, oregano, rosemary, coconut oil, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, propolis.
You could also consider adding fermented foods to your diet or taking a good quality probiotic supplement.
I really hope you will start implementing some of these tips to help keep your immune system topped up this winter.
Of course, if you want more support or advice then join us in Online Better Body coaching. This is not just to help you lose weight, it’s a coaching program that is structured to support you with deep health. This plan is about supporting fitness, nutrition and mindset to help you transform your health, your body and your life.
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Have a great week!!