It’s starting to get cold here in Perth 🙂
Well as cold as Perth gets! As it heads into the winter and the cold weather sets in, too many people just assume that coughs and colds are a normal part of this change in seasons.
But it doesn’t have to be like that at all!
Keeping your immune system optimized is important all year round but you may need to pay particular attention to boosting it as we head into winter. Try my top tips below for boosting your immune system to stay energized and still feeling great this winter!
1. Try these immune boosting superfoods
Eating lots of fibrous vegetables and healthy fats is a great way to start providing your immune system with all the nutrients it needs to really be functioning optimally. Add in the superfoods below and you have an anti-oxidant rich, immune boosting cocktail to keep you going all winter. Here are some to get you started below or check out this article on superfoods for winter for even more ideas.
Garlic is so easy to incorporate into most meals, soups, or roasted veggie dishes you are making and has so many health benefits. In fact, a study in the UK showed that that the participants taking garlic were 75% less likely to come down with a cold than the other participants. It has been used for centuries to treat colds, chest infections and as it is rich in antioxidant it helps protect your cells by neutralizing free radicals that can cause cell damage.
Turmeric has a whole host of anti-inflammatory properties and can be great for giving your immune system that boost it may need. Try adding turmeric to your food or you can try swapping out a coffee for a turmeric tea.
Ashwaganda has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic healing for its ability to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation in the body, boost energy and prolong longevity. Ashwaganda is also an adaptogen, which helps your body’s resistance to stress. And as a busy human stress may be wearing down your immune system leaving you susceptible to colds and infections.
Another great adaptogen and stress buster is holy basil. This herb has a whole myriad of healing properties and is easy to drink as a tea. Make yourself a cup if you feel a cold coming on however it can also be helpful for your digestion and headaches.
2. Get some sleep
One of the most often undervalued health hacks you can do to get your body and mind performing at its best! And massively important for your immune system. A lack of sleep can make you more prone to catching a cold or the flu! And I realise that prioritising this can be hard but I have put together a post on sleep here to help you improve your sleep quality even if you cant increase the quantity.
3. Move more
Research actually shows that having exercise as a part of your lifestyle can actually help prevent colds and flu as well as help you get over them faster if you do catch something. Exercise actually boosts the immune system and don’t think that you need to workout for hours at the gym to get the benefits. Even a 20-minute walk can provide benefits. HERE are some fun winter workout ideas.
4. Get a healthy gut
Did you know that cells in your body are actually outnumbered 10 -1 by bacteria?
Well your body is actually made up of a complex ecosystem of microbes. Including bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa that live on and in your body, including in your gut. The health and composition of your microbiome in your gut can have an effect on all aspects of your health. Including the strength of your immune system and how you deal with disease.
Pharmaceutical drugs, environmental toxins, chemicals, stress, toxic foods and excess refined sugars all play a part in destroying those healthy gut bacteria. However there are also a number of foods you can eat to boost the balance in your microbiome to improve your immune system function. These include probiotic foods such as:
- Organic Tempeh – made from naturally fermented soybeans and is also a great source of vegetarian protein.
- Miso – a fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans miso soup is a great way to try some fermented food. However, miso is also high in sodium so keep this in mind.
- Sauerkraut – one of my favorite fermented foods, sauerkraut is super easy to make from simply cabbage and salt. Adds a good dose of fiber as well as probiotics.
- Pickles – pickles are also super tasty and easy to make yourself. If your buying prepackaged pickles just make sure you choose ones from the refrigerator section that are not pickled in vinegar. These ones don’t have the same health benefits and often have other additives included. Check your ingredients.
- Other pickled vegetables – You can pickle most vegetables but some of my favorites to try include carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, beets, peppers and green beans.
- Kefir – Kefir can be made from milk (cow’s milk, goats milk or coconut milk or water), sugar water, fruit juice or coconut water for a fermented drink.
- Kimchi – Sometimes referred to as sauerkrauts Korean cousin this is another fermented cabbage only spicy!
- Nato – made from fermented soybeans nato is also high in probiotics and protein.
Do you struggle with coughs and colds during winter? Let me know what works for you in the comments below!
To your health
P.S. If you are struggling to lose weight or meet the health goals you want despite doing all “the right things” click below on my new free quiz to find out whats holding you back and what you can do about it. It may not be what you think 🙂