Dr Joe Kosterich explains how to make your immune system as strong as possible this winter, through a combination of food, supplements and antioxidants.
When it comes to health, we tend to make it difficult for ourselves. The reality is, getting healthy, and staying healthy, is simple. All it takes is dedication and attention to eight important health pillars. Sound daunting? Don’t worry! Each pillar is simple to strengthen, and once you’ve aligned all eight, you’ll find that you’re happier and healthier than ever before
1. Get fresh air
During winter, it’s tempting to stay warm and cozy indoors. Yet, this behaviour may be affecting your immunity and causing you to be more susceptible to colds. Being outdoors in the fresh air has been proven to not only boost your immune system, but is also good for your overall mood, a blessing for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
2. Get cooking
Fresh, seasonal ingredients are nature’s medicine cabinet for what ails us, especially during cold and flu season. If you’re suffering from repetitive illnesses, or you need a healthy boost, then add these immune boosting foods to your shopping list: lean meats, such as chicken, beef and pork; leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, rocket; blueberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, oranges, and legumes. Eggs, milk and cheese are also an important addition to a healthy, well-balanced diet. Experiment with different recipes: hearty winter soups are an easy way to include many different ingredients in one healthy hit.
3. Get some sleep
Around one in three of us are sleep-deprived, a lack of which can weaken your immunity. One study found that men who slept just four hours a night for one week, produced half the amount of flu-fighting antibodies in their blood, compared to those who regularly achieved 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours a night.
4. Get hydrated
If your water consumption dips during winter, it’s time to refill that water bottle. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and if you do have a cold, ensure you’re keeping your fluids topped up with hot lemon and honey, chicken soup, and filtered water.
5. Get still
Life is busy, and sometimes we think we don’t have time to fall ill. Which is usually when our body shows us differently. Taking time every day to just sit in one place, and meditate on your day, your thoughts, and then nothing at all, can help lower your stress levels and boost your immunity.
6. Get moving
Cold weather may turn us all into couch potatoes, but our health (not to mention our waistlines), will suffer. A brisk walk, jog or bike ride in the winter sun will ensure your body stays strong and increases its ability to fight against illness.
7. Get some purpose
Finding out what you want to do with your life can be tricky, but worth the search. Taking up a hobby can help boost your immunity, and widen your social circle, which means you’ll have more reasons to get out and about.
8. Get some supplements
However healthy your diet and lifestyle may be, during winter your immune system can be under the pump. This is where a quality multivitamin supplement can help shore up the foundations of your health.
Consider including antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E (or take them separately), as well as the energy boosting vitamin B supplements. Take them every morning with a healthy green smoothie to start your day in the best way possible. Ask your health professional what supplements are right for you. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet. Always read the label. Use only as directed.