Top 5 Immune Boosters – Get ready for the Cold and Flu Season
Summer is over , which means the weather is getting cooler and the bugs are getting stronger. Cold and flu season has well and truly begun. It’s time to work on keeping our number one defence system fit – our immune system. Stress, alcohol, medications, what you eat, your environment, and lack of sleep can directly affect how your immune system functions. Adopting some simple prevention strategies can help you avoid a cold or flu and provide you with optimal health and wellbeing this Autumn & Winter.
Here are some tips to help you stay sniffle free this season:
Eat a balanced wholefood diet
Increase your fresh fruits and vegetables (aim for 5 serves of veg per day and 2 serves of fruit), also consume lean sources of protein and lots of healthy fats. In particular consume foods rich in vitamin C (such as citrus fruits, berries, broccoli and spinach), incorporate garlic, onion and ginger into everyday cooking and try to consume nourishing foods such as soups, homemade bone broths, and slow cooked meals. Reduce inflammatory foods such as sugar (esp. white refined sugar), white commercial made breads, dairy, cakes, and soft drinks that can suppress immune function.
Work on your gut – over 70% of your immune system lives in your gut. Nourish it with bone broths, soups, slow cooking, prebiotic foods, probiotic foods, and fermenting. Bone Broths contain Gelatine – a solid, tasteless protein that’s produced from slowly boiling bones (you may notice it when you leave meat stock in the fridge and it turns solid and wobbly), is also the secret behind why a bowl of warming chicken soup is good for you – because it is packed with amino acids, which help build a powerful immune system.
Stress less – the hormones you secrete when you are stressed, adrenaline and cortisol, suppress your immune system. Try practices such as yoga or meditation, which have been shown to reduce these stress hormones.
Supplement when necessary – vitamin C is the most familiar natural therapy for colds and flu’s, but it’s not the only one. Vitamin A has a strong anti-viral action and is plays an important role in maintaining mucosal surfaces (think inside of the nose and throat), Zinc is essential for the cells of the immune system, and there are many medicinal herbs such as echinacea, astragalus and olive leaf which are powerful immune boosters.
Get enough sleep. Deep sleep will allow you to rest and repair, whilst releasing powerful immune enhancing chemicals to boost immune function. It’s essential – so get zzzing!
|Vitamin A||Carrots, sweet potato, capsicum, dark leafy greens, tropical fruits, liver, bone broth|
|Vitamin C||Citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, papaya, berries, broccoli, bone broth|
|Zinc||Beef, spinach, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, oysters, bone broth|
|Prebiotics||Leeks, onion, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, legumes, chicory, potato starch (raw – cold potatoes)|
|Probiotics||Yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, tempeh, kimchi|