With fall in full swing and winter coming shortly, we need to ensure we are properly supporting out immune systems to prevent us from getting sick during the winter season.
Here are five tips to help keep you healthy when cold and flu season comes along.
1. Get lots of antioxidants
Choose brightly coloured foods that are alive like fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E are all critical for boosting immunity and work best when consumed in together in whole foods
2. Manage your stress
Stress is a nutrient vacuum and will utilize many of the bodies nutrients reducing immunity to things like the common cold. Look into journaling, meditation, exercise, or relaxing baths to help you relax and reduce stress to help minimize the impact it has on your immunity.
3. Ditch the sugars
Remove artificial sugars and refined sugars from your diet, and only consume moderate amounts of natural sugars from maple syrup, honey and coconut sweeteners. It can be tempting around holiday time but try to stick to fruits for your sweetness and treats made from whole food sweeteners. Sugars can depress the immune system reducing it’s ability to detect and kill the harmful bacteria and viruses.
4. Get lots of probiotics
Up to 80% of our immune system is in the gut, so you need to ensure it is populated with the right bacteria. Choose a high quality and potent probiotics supplement or use food as your medicine. Add in raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, or plain raw yoghurt to your diet to help get good bacteria into your body.
5. Get some sunshine
We tend to stay indoors in the winter, but you should try to expose yourself to natural sunlight or consider a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D helps increase self-destruction of mutated cells preventing the spread of an infection.
When I was in university, I would get sick when I came home for the holidays, and I know it was because of all these factors! First off I never took probiotics or ate fermented foods, but I was also going through exams just before holiday season and I would be cooped up indoors, eating a terrible diet high in sugar and refined foods like pizza and fast food! Last year was the first time I didn't feel terrible for a few days over holidays, and it is not a coincidence that I was on holidays from nutrition school, I was already applying what I had learned!
What tips do you have to stay healthy through the holidays? Do you find this time of year is when you get sick most often?
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Amanda is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist out of Southwest Middlesex, and London ON. She works with clients to help them achieve their health and wellness goals!
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