With winter on its way, its time to start keeping our immune systems in top shape. Boosting immunity can come from a variety of different factors including how you handle Stress, Exercise and Eat. This post is going to run through what are in my opinion the best ways to keep your Immune System strong and bug resistant in the coming months.
1- Keep Stress to a Minimum
I know this is a tough one as stress catches up with us all and is a part of everyday life, we must learn to deal with it as best we can. Don’t get frustrated over the smaller things in Life sometimes we just need to let go and accept what is…..
Chronic stress has been shown to alter our immune response, this basically means that things like Stress, Frustration, Anxiety and Anger can all dampen our body’s defenses. Check out my blog post on handling these negative emotions here: Free Yourself from Stress, Anxiety and Fear
2- Get Some Fresh Air
Regardless of the weather this Winter always make your best efforts to get outside and stay active; Go for long walks (See Walking your way to Health and Fitness), or try to do some outdoor exercise. The fresh air that comes from nature is the best tonic for our physical health and immunity, it pumps your blood full of fresh oxygenated air which simply isn’t available from Gyms smelly air conditioning….
“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” – Erich Fromm
3- Drink Green Tea
We hear is so much these days how good green tea is for us and how we should drink it all the time. Well this isn’t for no reason; on top of doing things like boosting your metabolism and providing an alternative to generic fat burners. Green Tea is also a potent anti-oxidant which is key to keeping your body strong as it fights off the free radicals we find in our everyday environment (pollution, pesticides etc).On top of this Green Tea supports the growth of “good” intestinal bacteria, while stopping the ‘bad’, namely e-coli, clostridium and salmonella which can reak havoc on our digestive system.
“Up to 70% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract,” says Susan Bowerman of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California
4- Cod Liver Oil
This sruff is amazing and something I always keep a bottle of in my Fridge. Its packed with absorbable forms of Vitamin A and D. Vitamin D is essential for the Immune System and due to it only being available from the sun, the bleak months of winter are times when we are in dire need of an extra hit to boost our immunity. Check out this post on Vitamin D from Matt Metzgar: Vitamin D and the Flu
I would suggest taking 1-2 Tea Spoons of Cod Liver Oil a day, its probably the best bang for your buck supplement you can buy. Just make sure you get a high quality version that hasn’t had its Vitamins removed/distilled and keep your bottle in the Fridge.
5- Up Your Vitamin C
Firstly always keep on hand a good quality Vitamin C supplement for times you are feeling run down or stressed. Not only is it a great anti-oxidant Vitamin C is a potent Cortisol blocker. More importantly than taking it in supplement form though is to eat your local and fresh fruit. Its no Coincidence that just as the flu/cold season starts all the amazing Citrus fruits come into season they are packed to the brim with Vitamin C and will help keep your immune system in top shape. So load up on Oranges as soon as they come into season, Eat them whole and avoid the juice from packets the nutrients are all gone as is the fiber, plus its just more fun to peel an orange and eat it!!
Do whatever you enjoy doing to relax and feel your body. Things like deep meditation, Hot Baths and Massages really let your Lymphatic system work to flush out toxins and detox your body. If your lucky enough to be able to afford a neck and back massage once a week its a worthwhile investment……And if your a shower person make sure you give yourself a god soak in a hot bath a few times a week. Try taking up Yoga or learn to meditate, all these things will help you to no end when dealing with what life throws at you…..
Put duties aside at least an hour before bed and perform soothing, quiet activities that will help you relax. – Dianne Hales
7- Get Some Color On Your Plate and Cook
Eat variety, make sure when your shopping you get all kinds of fresh and exciting foods to cook with. Experiment with things like peppers (Great Beef/Pepper Recipe @ Modern Forager) and buy loads of Fresh Herbs and Spices these things will keep you in great shape all year round not only staving off ilness but they will allow you to feel great! Have a look at these sites for some great wholesome recipies:
My Paleo Kitchen
Cindalou’s Kitchen Blues
Cooking is not only a great stress reliever, it will save you money and allow you to experiment with fresh and tasty produce. Also add Loads of Chili to your food there mouth-melting capsaicin can help fight infection and keep inflammation down…