Just because your family and colleagues are succumbing to colds and flus, and dropping like flies, doesn’t mean you have to suffer too! Here are some tips to supercharge your immune system and keep you healthy through the flu season:
Vitamin D, or our sunshine vitamin, is produced by our body naturally when we’re exposed to 10-15 minutes of sunlight a few times a week. This is a lot harder in winter! When our vitamin D levels are low we’re at an increased risk of infections. Check your vitamin D status, supplement if necessary with your health practitioner, and get outside!
Movement: Even though the days are shorter and it’s so much harder to step outside in the cold it may be well worth it! Exercise not only helps to boost your serotonin and feel good endorphins but it also boosts immune function too! A brisk walk for 20 minutes, a few times a week has been shown to decrease sick days by up to 40%!
Sleep: I like to think of sleep as a force amplifier! If you’re well rested you can take on the world but if you’re sleep-deprived life can be hell (ask any new parents!!). Of all my regular recommendations to my patients, this is one of the hardest to adhere to! We don’t place enough value on rest and good quality sleep (but more on this another day). Sleep deprivation has been linked to a whole host of health problems, including an impaired immune system and lower overall function! As soon as you feel the tickle of a sore throat make sure you stop and rest. Expert tip: Join my 10pm club (in bed by 9:30 to be asleep by 10pm!) and keep your immune system strong!
Ginger tea: Ginger is a potent anti-viral and is especially useful with upper respiratory tract infections. Grating fresh ginger into a cup of warm water with lemon and honey is not only a delicious start to your morning but will also help to soothe a sore throat. Add some cayenne pepper if you’re game!
Check Your Hands: It seems so overly simplistic but washing your hands frequently is not just good practice but well backed by the scientific literature for preventing colds and flus! However, it’s not the antibacterial soap that is beneficial it’s the act of rubbing the hands together with water that is protective for your immune system! Don't you hate it when your mother was right?
Stay tuned next time we’re going to eat our way to a stronger immune system!
For more information on Dr Andrea and her top-rated, award winning podcast go to www.thewellnesswomen.com.au or find her at her at her practice: The Wellness Studio Fremantle www.thewellnesstudio.info.