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May 21, 2021

How to build immunity for winter now

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: — admin @ 1:05 am

As winter begins waving hello from a distance, a basket of lurgies under its arm, there’s no better time to have a think about what you can do now to prevent illness from wreaking havoc on your body in a few months’ time.

Carmen Alvarado, nutritionist and herbalist at Healthy Life, says the right combination of foods, supplements and lifestyle changes can mean all the difference when it comes to giving your health that extra line of defence come the cooler months.

To give your immunity a boost, Alvarado recommends:

Loading up on foods high in antioxidants

An easy and inexpensive way to build immunity is to include plenty of onions and garlic in your dishes, taking care to also add immunity-friendly herbs such as oregano and thyme.

“Garlic is a natural antibiotic and it’s high in organic sulphur which is a mineral which keeps your lymphatic system healthy,” Alvarado says.

While you’re doing the groceries, be sure to also add beetroots, berries, spinach, broccoli and sprouts to your basket — items which are all high in antioxidants and rich in vitamin C which means they’ll help fight and prevent infections.

RELATED: Antioxidants are great for your health… except when they become bad for your health

While eating a wide variety of colourful, plant-based foods will ensure you’re getting plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, Alvarado says those requiring an additional boost can also consider a side of supplements.

“Vital Greens is a great one because it contains a winning combination of antioxidant-rich ingredients, and Natralife Kyolic Garlic is a superstar capsule when it comes to avoiding the sniffles and reducing sinus congestion.”

Investing in quality R&R

Great news for those surgically attached to their pillows: your immune system is strongly influenced by rest and relaxation, so it’s a good idea to focus on getting the best sleep you can as we move through the months.

Stress, as we all know, disrupts sleep and increases chances of infection, so Alvarado recommends supporting your body through hard times by including gentle exercise in your daily routine, such as yoga, tai chi, meditation or acupuncture.

“Breathing exercises can also calm and restore the nervous and immune systems, bringing the body back into balance and preventing illness,” she says.

Struggling with sleep? Herbs containing holy basil, passionflower and magnolia bark can assist with both stress and insomnia, so it could be worth discussing you options with a qualified health practitioner.

RELATED: Not all natural sleep aides will help you get a better night’s rest

Considering probiotics

Gut health is finally getting the attention it deserves, with good reason: there’s a strong connection between what’s going on in there and the condition of your immune system.

As a general rule, those who have a diet high in sugar, alcohol and processed foods are more vulnerable to infection. “A diet high in fibre, however, creates the best environment for healthy bacteria to thrive, and the presence of a healthy bacteria community means a much more efficient immune system,” she says.

Fermented products such as sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir are naturally high in probiotics (good bacteria), or you can try a capsule such as Fusion Gutbiotic SB+capsules — the perfect thing for those who’ve recently been on antibiotics in recent times.

RELATED: What you eat will protect you from flu — but only if you have the right gut bacteria

Popping preventative herbs and nutrients

As part of your daily routine, you could also consider introducing preventatives such as an olive leaf extract, which Alvadaro says is also an excellent frontline treatment when you already feel under the weather.

“Many herbs and nutrients available in health food stores double up as antioxidants, while others act as a cheer squad for your white blood cells while they fight off virus and bacteria,” she says.

Enjoying a cuppa

Say no to that second (or third) coffee and instead reach for a cup of immunity-boosting herbal tea where a combination of leaves, berries, seeds, peels, roots and flowers can help prevent illness, recommends Alvadaro.

The range is huge with a wide range of tastes but some are better than others when it comes to giving you that extra lift. Look for echinacea, which is best taken (or drunk) as a preventative, or rosehip, which is high in vitamin C — just the thing to boost, boost and boost.

And of course, remember to wash hands regularly, give yourself plenty of rest, and incorporate a little gentle exercise into each day to stay healthy no matter the season.

RELATED: Taking vitamin C probably doesn’t fix a cold — but you still need it

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