Supporting Immune Health This Winter
Our immune system is akin to a shield, tirelessly defending our body against infections, bacteria, and viruses. The colder months bring about an increase in illnesses like the flu and colds.
With shorter days, lower sunlight exposure, and a proliferation of viruses, it's especially vital to keep our immune system in tip-top shape. A strengthened immune system not only fends off illnesses but ensures faster recovery and reduced severity if one does get sick.
Supporting Immune Health - Lifestyle
Our daily habits play a significant role in dictating our immune health:
- Stay Hydrated: Water is essential for nearly every bodily function, including those of the immune system. It aids in the production of lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune cells.
- Wrap Up Warm: Prolonged exposure to cold can strain the immune system. Dressing appropriately not only keeps you warm but also conserves the body's energy for immune functions.
- Essential Oil Hand Sanitiser: Frequent handwashing can dry out the skin. An essential oil hand sanitiser not only kills germs but also keeps the skin moisturised. Discover the Napiers method.
- Regular Exercise: Moderate, consistent exercise can boost the immune system by promoting good circulation, which allows immune cells to move freely and function effectively.
- Quality Sleep: Sleep is a regenerative period for the body. Adequate rest ensures that the immune system has the energy it needs to defend against pathogens.
Supporting Immune Health - Nutrition
The food we consume has a direct impact on our immunity:
- In-Season Vegetables: Fresh, in-season veggies are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. They provide the body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally, especially during the challenging winter months.
- Immune Boosting Foods: Incorporate foods rich in vitamin C (like oranges and strawberries), zinc (like nuts and seeds), and antioxidants (like berries and dark chocolate) to bolster your immune response.
- Reduce Processed Foods: These often lack essential nutrients and can even suppress immune function. Opt for whole foods whenever possible.
- Stay Hydrated with Warm Liquids: Herbal teas and broths can provide warmth, hydration, and essential nutrients all at once.
Supporting Immune Health - Supplements & Herbs
Supplements and herbs can be a valuable addition, especially when specific nutrients are lacking in our diet:
- Probiotics: A large portion of our immune system resides in the gut. Probiotics support a balanced gut flora, which in turn aids in a robust immune response.
- Elderberry: These berries have been used for centuries due to their antiviral and immune-boosting properties. They can be taken as a syrup, capsule, or tea.
- Seakelp: A natural source of iodine and other minerals, seakelp assists in the proper function of the thyroid and immune system.
- Garlic: Garlic contains allicin, which has been shown to enhance immune function. It's a versatile ingredient that can easily be added to various dishes.
- Vitamin D: Essential for bone health and immune function, vitamin D is less accessible due to reduced sunlight in winter. The NHS recommends a vitamin D supplement, especially during the winter months. We also recommend testing your vitamin D levels to monitor for any deficiency. Try our Napiers Vitamin D testing kit to ascertain your current levels.
- Zinc: This mineral is crucial for the development of immune cells and can be found in supplements when dietary intake is insufficient.
- Astragalus: Traditionally used in Chinese medicine, astragalus supports the immune system and has antiviral properties.
- Andrographis: Often referred to as "Indian echinacea", this herb is used for preventing colds and respiratory infections.
- Turmeric: Curcumin, found in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, supporting overall health and immunity.
- Ginger: Ginger possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. It's also known for its warming nature, making it a popular choice during colder months.
Always consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new supplements.