The seasons have certainly changed here (in Australia) with shorter days and colder weather. With this change in season, there are a number of things which you can incorporate on a day to day basis which can naturally boost your immunity, helping you ward off the dreaded cold and flu this season.
When exposed to stress, our body produces high levels of our stress hormones – cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. High cortisol in particular, can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels, decrease libido and contribute to obesity. Lifestyle factors are key to regulating immune function and there are many ways to help manage your stress, including:
- Prioritise sleep. Research has shown that every hour of sleep prior to midnight is the equivalent to two hours after. Ensure you turn off all technology in the hour prior to bed and take time to wind down from the day, whether it be incorporating a meditation practice, legs up the wall or a relaxing bath.
- Exercise regularly. Daily movement helps ensure the release of feel good endorphins. Don’t feel that you need to be incorporating an intense exercise regime, but in fact look to incorporate incidental movement and find exercises which you enjoy doing – try yoga, Pilates or even a walk around the block at lunch time, it may be cold but the fresh Winter air can be reinvigorating.
Eat Real Food
If you’ve been a part of the TNN team for a while, you will know that 70–90% of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract, therefore what you eat affects your immunity. Ensure you:
- Get plenty of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for progesterone production, which helps to balance estrogen in the body. Aim to consume vitamin C-rich foods such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, berries and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts. These are our key seasonal foods for a very good reason.
- Maintain good gut health. Your health starts in the gut. Say no to refined sugar as it can lead to an overabundance of “wrong” bacteria in the gut. Instead, support your digestion and immune system with probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, gelatin gummies and bone broth.
- Incorporate turmeric and garlic regularly. Garlic, and curcumin, the key compound in turmeric, offer amazing anti-inflammatory and immunity benefits. Turmeric is an ancient Ayurvedic spice that offers liver and gall bladder support as it assists the enzymes responsible for flushing out dietary carcinogens. Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate liver enzymes responsible for expelling toxins from the body. It is also known as nature’s antibiotic. Incorporate both where you can, starting with a batch of our Nourishing Chicken Soup.
What is your favourite Winter immunity tip? Share with us below.
Image credit here.