TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO STAVE OFF THOSE WINTER ILLS

  1. Eat for good gut health. Given that approximately 70% of our immune cells are located in the gut, a healthy gut goes a long way towards a healthy immune system. Eat to support your gut by including plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein and cultured foods. If you think your diet might need tweaking, get some qualified advice.

  2. Drink enough water and/or herbal tea throughout the day to keep your body properly hydrated. Two of your key immune defence systems (lymphatics and mucous membranes) rely on hydration to function effectively.

  3. Boost your antioxidant protection with green tea, brightly coloured fresh fruit, fresh herbs and garlic to protect your cells against damage from things like stress, pollution, poor diet and lack of sleep.
  4. Get your heart rate up through movement every day, to keep your lymphatic system flowing, stress levels down, and support sleep.

  5. De-stress daily, because stress dampens the immune system. You can meditate if that’s your thing, but some people find social activities, exercise and even a good old laugh is more their style.

  6. Sleep for a minimum of 7 hours per night. This is when the body regenerates and repairs, and when you short change yourself on sleep, you effectively start each day on the back foot – not fully recovered or repaired from the day before.

  7. Limit alcohol to 1-2 standard serves per night maximum, with two consecutive alcohol free nights per week. Heavy alcohol intake can dampen immune function for a full 24 hours.

  8. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, to avoid passing viruses and bacteria from hand to mouth.

  9. Make sure your vitamin D and iron levels are good. These two immune-supportive nutrients are low in so many people, and yet they can usually be very easily fixed.

  10. Be prepared! Speak to your naturopath about an emergency action plan nip those winter ills in the bud, before they become fully fledged illnesses that leave you feeling sub-par for weeks.

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