Don’t get caught out by colds and flu this winter, act now to build up your body’s natural defences!
- Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is when our bodies release important hormones, restock energy stores and battle infections so getting a good night’s kip is essential.
2. Eat well
A diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains will boost your immunity and promote good digestion.
- Avoid comfort food
Consuming high levels of refined sugar could compete with the absorption of vitamin C, which is needed to maintain the normal function of immune cells.
- Look after your gut
Most of your immune system is housed in your gut so it makes sense to start there. Try incorporating fermented foods or take a supplement.
- Watch your alcohol intake
Alcohol and caffeine have a detrimental effect on the way the body absorbs vitamins and minerals so make sure you have plenty of alcohol-free days.
- Exercise daily
Exercise boosts immunity, aids digestion and produces feel-good endorphins.
- Respect your body’s circadian rhythm
Try to maintain a regular routine – continued late nights and overwork can have long term effects on your general health.
- Make time to relax
Regular production of excess histamine (the chemical our bodies release when we are stressed) can cause inflammatory and allergic diseases so try to avoid succumbing to stress.
- Take a preventative supplement
Taking echinacea can help to build immunity to prevent infection, as well as shorten the life of infections which are already present.
10. Be prepared
Be sure to stock up on natural remedies, such as sore throat pastilles and sprays, in case infection does strike.
Did you know?
The height of cold and flu season typically spans January and February, with adults getting an average of 2-3 colds per year.
According to experts at A.Vogel, last year’s cold and flu season was particularly bad, with coughs and congestion lasting well into April.
It’s thought we contract 200 respiratory tract infections during an average lifetime, which means five years spent with nasal congestion, sore throat, headache and cough – and one year in bed.
Make your own vitamin C supplement
Nutritional therapist Teresa Workman Noble, a CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) graduate, shares her DIY recipe…
All you need for a pure, home-made vitamin C supplement is the peel of unwaxed, organic oranges or lemons.
- Wash the fruits and soak them in a bowl of salted water for half an hour.
- Rinse them thoroughly in cold water.
- Peel the fruit and cut the peel into very thin strips, using scissors.
- Leave the peel strips on a plate at room temperature for 3 days or until dry and crisp.
- Store in a clean, dry container for up to a year.
To use, break up strips into smaller pieces or grind in a coffee grinder. Add to a smoothie just before blending, or mix with some fresh juice. One heaped teaspoon of powdered peel is more than enough to get your daily supply of 100% absorbable vitamin C.
3 ways to fight back against colds and flu
With the cold weather threatening to undermine our immune systems, we must make a conscious effort to fight back,” says Ronnie McLuskey of Water for Health.
“First, make sure to get enough vitamin D. Since we don’t see nearly enough sunlight in Britain from October to March – and since dietary sources are scarce – a supplement is your best bet.
“It’s also prudent to maintain hydration levels, as adequate water intake ensures our kidneys are able to flush out unwanted toxins. By the same token, nurturing proper body pH balance facilitates toxin removal and helps prevent your immune system becoming compromised.
“Diet-wise, it’s best to eat natural: cut down or cut out processed foods, make a point of getting enough vitamin A, B12 and C, and though it might seem ambitious, shoot for 7-10 portions of vegetables and fruit per day. Your body will thank you.”