The Most Effective Ways To Muscle Up Your Immune System This Winter
1. Be Street Smart.
There’s a reason we have less sun in the winter. We are meant to slow down and rest more.
- Make sure you get plenty of rest to restore your immune system.
- Do not stay out late and party till the wee small hours.
- Give your body a chance to gather strength and make sure you pace yourself.
- Sleep – get a good night’s sleep, aim for 7 to 8 hours each night to restore energy and increase resilience. So, you don’t get run down.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Keep yourself well hydrated. Furthermore, drink water at room temperature.
3. Don’t Drink Cold Fluids
Cold fluids may lower your core body temperature and make you more susceptible to cold and flu.
4. Avoid Sugar
Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates. As a result eating foods that contain simple carbohydrates can make your symptoms worse. Due to the fact that viruses and bacteria use sugar as their source of energy.
5. Eat foods that support your immune function
Regularly practice eating foods that support your immune function such as garlic, ginger, onion, honey and chilli to help fight off illness.
6. Reduce Congestion
Reduce mucus forming foods like, cow’s milk, cheese, yoghurt, sour cream, ice cream, donuts, cakes, pizza, biscuits and chocolate.
7. Eat Your Veggies
Eat your veggies (and fruits)! — They contain an abundance of essential nutrients and antioxidants that will help support a healthy immune system. Have at least 2 of cups vegetables and 1/2 cup of fruit per day that is high in antioxidants:
- Red cabbage
- Green beans
- Blue berries
8. Eat Warming Foods
Eat warming foods over the winter months to keep your core temperature stable. For example:
- Steamed, stir fry or roasted vegetables
- Hot breakfast; poached eggs, omelette, porridge.
- Cooked lunches and dinners – roasts, stews, soup. Studies show that chicken soup contains properties that can help break down congestion. Here is the recipe for Chicken Soup for Cold and Flu.
9. Keep Warm
Keeping warm is important. Your body only has a finite amount of resources to keep you warm. Those resources are limited to your stores of glucose, fat and hormonal reserves. The body’s process of regulating and maintaining your core body temperature is called thermoregulation. For example:
- Vasoconstriction is where your blood vessels decrease blood flow to your skin to retain heat and warmth the core of your body. As a result you may notice that your hands and feet get cold.
- Thermogenesis is where the body increases energy to the muscles, brain and organs to produce heat.
- Hormonal thermogenesis occurs by the release of hormones from the thyroid gland, increasing your basal metabolic rate which is directly linked to your temperature.
- So you don’t stress your body out, you can maintain body temperature by:
- Don’t get a chill, wear a singlet to keep an extra layer of warmth to your body.
- Take a leaf out of natures book – as it gets closer to winter animals get a thicker coat. So, it would be wise to add extra layers of clothing over the colder months. For example take a jumper or jacket with you.
- Working out increase your body temperature so much that it makes you sweat. The sweating is design to cool you down. Once you have finished the workout replace your sweaty clothes to prevent you catching a chill.
- Wet hair is another way to cool down your core temperature. Don’t go out with wet hair or go to bed with wet hair.
10. Gargle Salt Water
A salt water gargle a few times per day will help to loosen mucus and flush out bacteria in the throat. Which salt is best? Use either Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt.
Recipe for throat gargle
1 small glass of warm water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Add salt to water stir until dissolved. At the first sign of mucus or discomfort. Gargle (do not swallow). Gargle 2-3 times per day.
11. Reduce Stress
Reduce stress — being stressed reduces immune system function, so make sure you incorporate:
- Regular time-out – chill out and take some ‘green’ time, such as walking outdoors or playing with pets.
- Don’t get stressed. Being under stress will not make you sick but when you come out of the stressful situation that is when most people get sick. This is due to the drop in cortisol levels — that’s why executives get sick when going on holidays.
- If you get stressed make sure you get enough sleep.
- Meditation will reduce anxiety, stress and cortisol levels. Most meditation practices are about the breath. When you breathe deeply and slowly the vagus nerve signals your nervous system to slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol levels. Regular practice even just 15 minutes per day will help to reduce your “fight-or-flight” stress response. I am no expert on meditation, but have developed my own technique that works for me. There are meditation courses where you can learn how to practice meditation.
- Mindfulness techniques also help to reduce stress.
- That means being conscious of what you are doing.
- And not multitasking – like eating a meal with no screen time.
- Don’t be in your head thinking of other things while you are doing a task, focus on the job at hand.
Enjoy regular exercise — keeping physically fit can contribute to good health and help towards achieving a healthy immune system, ref.
Are you inspired and feeling passionate about this post?
Let me know. I would love to hear from you. Contact us Furthermore, if you think of a friend or someone special that you would like to read this story… feel free to share it with them. It might be the change they are looking for.
In wisdom and good health
Phone: 0409 278 320
Written by: Brendon Groves Clinical Naturopathic Practitioner and Founder of Groves Naturopathics