8 steps to take now to stay healthy this winter
It’s that time of year again when the thick blankets are calling and you’re snug jumpers have never felt so good but you’ll also want to keep the nasty winter bugs at bay. We have asked our experts for their top tips on giving your immunity a helping hand in avoiding the colds and flus that are often lurking this time of year…
1. Give germs a run for their money with garlic
“Add a touch of immune-boosting magic to your diet by using garlic. Garlic has been used for centuries and is known for its protective properties. Acting as a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, garlic boosts natural killer-cell activity and increases the efficiency of antibody production,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist, author of The Natural Health Bible for Women.
2. Mix up your shower temperature
“Change the temperature of the water in your shower to either hot or cold every two minutes. This helps to boost your immunity by increasing two types of white blood cells called Monocytes and Lymphocytes. The immune system is stimulated by your body trying to warm itself up from the cold water, while switching to hot water every now and then stimulates your body’s detoxification system. The fewer toxins we have in our body, the more your immune system is better able to deal with bacteria and viruses,” explains Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK, the online shopping destination for all things health and wellbeing (superfooduk.com).
3. Keep hydrated
“Your immune system relies on water. The water in our body carries nutrients to your cells, carries waste and toxins away from your cells and out of your body, keeps body temperature stable, protects joints and keeps the lining of your mouth hydrated and moist, reducing susceptibility to colds. Drinking plenty of water will also help your body deliver nutrients, flush out waste and dilute mucus, helping to eliminate bacteria and viruses that can make you ill,” explains Marilyn.
4. Ditch the dairy
“Try to avoid dairy if you want to get better quicker and stay healthy, because as comforting as that warm milky drink is, it is a mucous forming and inflammatory product. If you have too much dairy it may take longer for you to shake off that bout of sinus or flu!” explains Quest Nutra Pharma (qnutrapharma.com) Nutritionist, Alix Woods.
5. Get enough snoozing time
“Poor sleep can affect the immune system so it’s crucial that you’re getting enough shut-eye. Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ and is needed to relax our muscles and nerves, so can help you fall into a peaceful sleep.
“Try and include plenty of magnesium-rich foods in your diet such as, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fish and leafy green vegetables. For a daily dose of magnesium I would also recommend Natures Plus Kalm Assure Magnesium Powder, available in an orange and pink lemonade flavour (£24.50, www.naturesplus.co.uk),” suggests Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
6. Step away from the sweet stuff
“Another way to support our immunity is to ensure that we are not overloading our systems with too many anti-nutrient, low-nutrient culprit foods, like sugar! It can have an inflammatory effect and feeds the yeasts and bacteria in our body, which can prolong a condition or illness,” explains Alix.
7. Physical touch
“A rub, a hug, and a passing touch can all help to decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Cortisol decreases your immune response, so snuggle up to a loved one and enjoy the immune boosting properties of an embrace!” explains Shona.
8. Crank up your immunity with vitamin C
“Remember to eat 5-8 portions of organic citrus, berry fruits, papaya, kiwi, peppers,
broccoli or brussel sprouts everyday, as they are some of the richest sources of Vitamin C. Taking a vitamin C supplement is another effective way of supporting our immunity and making sure you’re getting enough of this nutrient. Vitamin C increases the body’s resistance to viruses, aids the recovery of muscles after exercise, helps with wound healing, bone strengthening and has energy giving properties,” says Alix.
Try Quest Nutra Pharma Once A Day Immune C (£6.09, http://www.qnutrapharma.com), which is suitable for vegans and has added bioflavonoids to increase the body’s absorption of the vitamin C.