Unfortunately, winter is the season for colds and flu and it is really important to support your immunity this winter. You can’t avoid them but you can be proactive with your health and immunity this winter. You can use my tried and tested tips to boost your immune system, stay healthy this winter and beat the winter slump.
In winter we escape the cold weather inside with heaters which recirculates the air from those who have the virus that causes the cold. Viruses are very sensitive to UV light, therefore, less UV in winter, more viruses. There is also a gene responsible for slowing down the body’s response to infection. This gene has been found to be more active in the summer months.
Tips to be proactive with your immunity this winter
Love your gut
Fermented foods contain probiotics and encourage the growth of good bacteria for a healthy gut. They help to eliminate toxins and boost your immune system. Fermented foods and drinks (such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha or pickled vegetables) and the gelatin in homemade stock will decrease inflammation in your gut.
Get some vitamin D
Sunlight provides your body with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to boost your immune system. Organise your days to be outside for even a small amount of time so you can take in some sun. It may be walking to work, walking the kids to or from school or eating your lunch outside.
Start with breakfast
Breakfast is important to maintain your sugar levels and reduce stress. If you put your body in a state of fight or flight you will lower your immunity. To make it easier to not skip breakfast you could get up a little earlier to ensure you have time for breakfast or better still organise your breakfast the night before. For example, soak some oats, make bircher muesli, add smoothie ingredients in bags and place them in the freezer.
Melatonin is the hormone that your body releases to promote sleep and we need darkness to trigger the production of melatonin. This is why you feel sleepy in wintertime. Your body repairs and renews cells during sleep, which may be why skimping on sleep increases the risk of catching a cold. Bright lights from computers and televisions are disruptive to your sleep so try to turn them off at least one hour before bed and avoid sleeping with your phone in your room.