There’s lots of things we like about winter, but one thing we definitely don’t like is the sniffles and coughs that come with it. The bad news? There’s no one special ingredient that will magically keep you safe from catching that dreaded cold. The good news? There are some easy, natural ways to support your immune system and make sure it’s match-ready for the winter months.
Get enough sleep and exercise.
This is about as natural as it gets. Make sure you’re looking after your body by giving it enough sleep and exercise to keep it running smoothly. That means at least 7 hours a night, and getting out for some physical activity daily.
Diet, diet, diet.
No, we don’t need to sign up for the latest fad diet to stay healthy, but what we eat is a key factor in supporting our immune system. Make sure your diet is varied and high in whole, fresh foods.
Fruit and vegetables high in Vitamin C are particularly good for keeping away the flu. Citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage and strawberries are all great sources of Vitamin C. Stick to the whole fruit though, not juice – juices are often high in added sugar, and have less fibre than the fruit itself.
Zinc is another mineral that’s important for maintaining a healthy immune system. It’s found in red meat, chicken and fish, as well as legumes, dairy and eggs.
Our gut plays an important role in maintaining our immune system, so make sure you’re looking after it. See our tips here.
It might be easier said than done, but reducing long term stress has been shown to help your health, including your immune system. By long term stress, we mean constant and ongoing stress – so one busy week at work probably won’t have a serious impact on your health. Regular meditation can help with reducing the impact of stress, or speak to a doctor if you find it unmanageable.
Do I need a supplement?
Take a walk down the vitamin aisle of the chemist, and you’ll be bombarded with tablets and mixtures that claim to support immune systems. There seem to be so many, so surely you should be taking them? Well, not exactly. If you’re getting enough nutrients and minerals from your healthy, balanced diet then a supplement is probably not going to do too much for you. Experts suggest spending your money on healthy food rather than diet supplements. If you think you still might not be getting enough, talk to your doctor about whether a supplement might be something you need.