It’s that dreaded time of year again- cold and flu season.
Every mum knows the feeling when a cold or the flu hits the family. It can spread so quickly and causes chaos to your already busy schedule. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid it. Viruses are a part of life. However, a little preparation can improve your bodies immunity in winter! Follow my organisational tips to support your families immunity this winter and beat that dreaded winter slump! First, let’s understand a bit more about winter viruses…
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Why we get more viruses in winter?
It’s more than just cold weather. In Winter we escape the outside weather and retreat indoors with heaters. The heaters circulate air around the room, sharing the viruses and germs between people. Viruses are also very sensitive to UV light. In summer, the UV zaps the virus away, so without all that glorious UV in winter, there are more viruses to catch. Summer’s got more than just powerful UV. There’s also a gene responsible for slowing down the body’s response to inflection that is more active in the warmer months. You can see how colds and viruses are almost inevitable in winter. But, there are a few things you can do to reduce the odds of catching one…
Love your gut
Gut health is the go-to for healthy immunity! It’s easy to fill your gut with probiotics and other goodies that build up your body’s strength and boost your bodies immunity in winter. 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 will decrease inflammation in your gut, improving your overall gut function. Think sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, pickled vegetables, gelatin jelly and even the gelatine in homemade stock to add to your families weekly food and drink routine. Easy done!
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Get some vitamin D in winter
Give your immune system a boost with the goodness of the sun (even in winter)! Your body absorbs vitamin D from the sun. It helps to boost your immune system as well as being essential for bone health. Just because it’s cold and the sun isn’t always out, it doesn’t mean you can’t get some much-needed vitamin D! 30% of Australians don’t get the recommended amount of vitamin D. All it takes is a few hours in the sun every week during winter to get your vitamin D dose. Make the most of any sunlight, and organise your day so you can spend a small amount of time outside. A short walk is all you need to take in some sun. Try walking to work, walking the kids to or from school or eating your lunch outside. Fatty fish like salmon are also great sources of vitamin D if you need an extra boost.
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Start with breakfast in winter
We’ve all heard that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. It may be tempting to stay in bed that extra 10 minutes every morning, but making a healthy breakfast will help sustain you through winter. Breakfast is important to maintain your sugar levels and reduce stress. Excessive sugar and stress can leave you in a state of ‘fight or flight’, which will ultimately lower your immunity. It only takes a little bit of organisation to ensure you have enough time in the morning for that breaky boost. You could set your alarm 10 minutes earlier, or even prepare your breakfast the night before! Try soaking oats overnight, making bircher muesli or prepping smoothie ingredients and freezing them in bags.
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Ever feel like your body feels more tired during winter? That’s because of the hormone melatonin, which is released during darkness and helps to promote sleep. This can help you get some much-needed Z’s. A good night’s sleep is often just what your body needs to tackle all those winter bugs. Your body repairs and renews cells during sleep, so missing sleep increases the risk of catching a cold. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep. Try switching off bright lights from computers and televisions and avoiding sleeping with your phone on, to eliminate disruptions and create an atmosphere for rest.