Welcome to Winter! It’s time for knitted beanies, layers of warm clothes, and a cup of warm soup on a rainy day. Winter can be a magical time, BUT this time of year also means it’s time for the cold and flu season.
We all know the feeling when a cold or the flu hits the family. It spreads quickly and makes an already busy time of year even more difficult. I wish I could tell you a way to completely avoid it! Unfortunately, colds, viruses, and infections are a part of life. We’ve learnt this more than ever in the last year!
There’s no guarantee to avoid them, but there are things you can do to strengthen your body’s immunity. A strong immune system can help you fight off illness or recover quicker from infection. Here’s a few quick tips to improve your cold-and-flu-fighting-powers.
Support your gut
Strong digestive health is becoming more and more linked to better overall health. It plays a big role in healthy immunity. Eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining prebiotics and probiotics can build up your gut health and boost your body’s immunity. This Winter, try adding fermented foods to your diet. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, pickled vegetables, gelatin jelly, and homemade stock can help to decrease inflammation and improve gut function.
Keep up your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a great immunity booster as well as being essential for bone health. Unfortunately, 30% of Australians don’t get the recommended amount of vitamin D. We know that the sun’s UV rays are a great source of vitamin D, but you don’t need the summer sun to get your vitamin D! All it takes is a few hours in the sun every week during winter to get your vitamin D dose. Make the most of any sunlight, and organise your day so you can spend a small amount of time outside. A short walk is all you need to take in some sun. Try walking to work, walking the kids to or from school or eating your lunch outside on a sunny day. For an extra boost, increase your intake of fatty fish like salmon or consider a vitamin D supplement.
Don’t forget breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! It wakes up your digestive system, maintains your sugar levels, and fills you with energy for the rest of the day. A healthy breakfast will help to sustain you through winter. Take care to avoid excessive sugar intake for breakfast. Excessive sugar and stress can leave you in a state of ‘fight or flight’, which will ultimately lower your immunity. Ditch the sugary cereal and try some great winter warmers like warm porridge, poached eggs, or a savour breakfast bowl. It may be tempting to opt for an extra sleep in over a good breakfast, but it isn’t worth the trade off!
Maintain restful sleep
Easier said than done, I know! Getting you 7-9 hours of sleep has so many great benefits for your health including repairing cells and getting your body ready to fight off new germs or infection. Missing sleep can leave you more vulnerable to colds, flus, and infection. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep too.
If maintaining quality sleep is difficult for you, there are some things you can do to try and break the bad-sleep-cycle. Create an atmosphere for rest by turning off lights, phones, and other technology an hour before you go to bed. Wind down your mind with meditation, deep breathing, or reading. Try using candles, or relaxing scents to encourage your body to get ready for rest. Another great relaxation technique to try is Nidra Yoga. This is a sleep meditation that leaves you feeling more relaxed and ready for rest.