Winter is fast approaching which means dark mornings, colder days and longer nights. With the weather change it’s no surprise that we tend to pick up more coughs, colds and infections.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can avoid being struck down by unwelcoming winter illnesses, particularly if you focus on supporting your immune system and fighting off the bugs. Nutritionist Ruth Tongue (Msc Bsc) shares her top 5 tips for supporting your immune system naturally.
Although easier said than done, there are many ways to reduce the impact that stress has on the body (and subsequently on your immune systems). For example, taking time to simply focus on your breathing each day has been shown to reduce the stress response in the body. So, when it comes to thinking about physical stress – are you pounding the pavements and constantly taking part in high intensity exercise classes?
If so, you could be putting stress on your immune system, which can make you more susceptible to common winter ailments. To combat this, opt for lower intensity exercise – walking is one of the best examples. And don’t forget those rest days!
Give Yourself A Ginger & Turmeric Booster
Ginger and turmeric are great antioxidants which have been used for thousands of years to treat infections, inflammation and boost immunity. To maximise absorption of the active ingredients in turmeric, it’s best to add a little black pepper.
Don’t Ditch The Carbs
It can be tempting to skip the carbs to lose weight but by doing so, you’ll put yourself at risk of cutting out immunity-boosting nutrients like selenium, zinc, iron and the B vitamins. Instead of cutting out carbohydrates completely, switch to nutrient-rich slow-releasing carbs like sweet potatoes, oats, rye and quinoa and aim for a palmful at every meal.
You could try blending a FOGA Plantshake, which are packed full of organic freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, with oats and almond milk for the perfect morning snack or post workout recovery shake. See recipe inspiration here, or try Oatshakes – organic, gluten-free Oats meet sustainable pea protein in 3 delicious breakfast shakes.
Increase Your Omegas
We often associate omega 3 fatty acids with healthy hair, skin and brain health but they’re also essential for keeping your immune system at its peak. During this time of year, I would recommend increasing your intake to at least 3 portions of oily fish each week or adding a tablespoon of chia or flaxseed to your breakfast for a quick and easy booster. All 3 Oatshakes contain organic, cold-milled flaxseed.
Get Some ZZZ’s
With constant late nights and early mornings, sleep is non-negotiable in the winter if you want to stay healthy and keep your immune system in tip-top condition — in fact it’s been shown that people who have less sleep, or even poorer quality sleep are more likely to get sick when exposed to viruses.
If you’re struggling to get your 8 hours, try to increase the magnesium-rich foods in your diet. Pumpkin seeds, bananas, avocado and dark chocolate (what better excuse?!) are all good sources.
Also, I would recommend thinking about your sleep routine – are you allowing yourself enough time to unwind before hitting the sack? Are you eating your last meal too close to bedtime? Exercising late at night will also increase the levels of adrenaline in your body, making it much harder to unwind.