Dreading the cold and flu season? Then it’s time to take control of your immune system. Integrative medical expert, Dr Cris Beer, shares her winter survival guide on how to do just that.
By boosting your immune system this flu season you may be able to reduce your chances of catching a cold altogether. Or, if you do fall ill, having a strong immune system can help you recover more quickly.
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Eating a healthy, well balanced diet plays a huge role in supporting your immune health. Fueling your body with seasonal vegetables are a sure-fire way to cover all your nutritional bases, so load up on those bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, kale, ginger, garlic, pumpkin and sweet potato. Comfort food may be all that you crave when it’s freezing cold outside, so add as many vegetables to soups, casseroles or curries.
Vitamin C is also a classic immune-friendly ingredient, which you can find in kiwi fruit, blueberries and of course the humble orange.
Good gut bacteria are also important to support your health and wellbeing. Probiotics can help maintain normal gut bacteria, so try adding some probiotic yoghurt to your curries, soups or winter warming porridge. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, tempeh and kefir or a probiotic supplement may also be a good addition to your immune-boosting regime.
When we’re busy we may not eat as well as we should, so it can be a good idea to include supplements in your winter healthcare plan. To help support your immune function, look for those which contain vitamin C, echinacea and zinc. Another little-known ingredient and preventative herb, andrographis, has also been shown to help reduce the severity of the common cold.
Young children are also often more susceptible to ‘catching’ colds during the flu season compared to adults, as their immune system is still developing. Research has found that some children can catch up to ten colds a year.
Adequate, quality sleep is a must, for both children and adults alike, as well as spending time outdoors and including fresh, wholesome foods in meals as much as possible. If your child is a fussy eater, it can be challenging to ensure they have all their nutritional requirements met through diet alone, so in these instances supplementation may be beneficial.
It’s also important to remember to go to bed at the same time every night for restful and restorative sleep, and be proactive with your fitness routine – you might have to change things up and counteract the less motivating cold weather.
There’s a lot you can do to prepare yourself for the cold and flu season, but if you would like more personalised health advice and information, call the free Blackmores Naturopathic Advisory Service on 1800 803 760.
For more information and tips on how to stay well this winter, visit Blackmores Cold and Flu Hub https://www.blackmores.com.au/cold-flu-and-immunity/how-to-stay-healthy-this-winter