Written By Julia Lette
On the whole, your immune system does a pretty good job of defending you against disease. Sometimes however, especially in the winter months, it fails and you end up sick in bed for days on end. Fortunately there are ways that you can intervene in this process and make your immune system stronger and better able to protect yourself against disease. These are my top tips for boosting your immune system to ensure you and your family stay fit and healthy throughout the winter months.
INCREASE YOUR INTAKE OF PLANT FOODS
Plant foods are rich sources of all the essential nutrients that your immune system needs to function effectively. Green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains are all nutritional powerhouses and rich sources of vitamin E, vitamin C and zinc, each of which has been proven to reduce the likelihood of contracting the common cold.
Why not start the day with a nutrient dense green smoothie for the entire family. Blending up a good dose of green vegetables with your favourite fruits as well as some nuts and seeds for extra immune boosting benefits is a delicious way to ensure you’re consuming all of the plant foods required for optimum health.
Alternatively, try adding grated vegetables into a bolognese sauce or making green vegetable patties to serve with dinner. Don’t be afraid to get the kids involved. The more involved they are with meal preparation, the more likely they are to eat what you prepare.
WASH YOUR HANDS
This may seem like a simple step, but it is often forgotten, especially amongst children. Germs are at their peak during the winter months so it is essential that you are your family remember to wash your hands on a frequent basis.
We all know that exercise makes you feel and look good – but did you know it can stave off a virus too? Regular physical activity can vastly enhance immune system function and this will contribute to your family’s ability to fend off colds and the flu.
The colder weather offers various unique and fun activities for the entire family. Why not try a new sport like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating or even sledding? Not only will you be boosting your family’s immune system by getting active, but you’ll also have a lot of fun.
SAVOUR NATURAL REMEDIES
When it comes to boosting your immune system, natural remedies are a definite winner. Garlic is an intense immune booster, with the ability to kill several types of bacteria and viruses. Don’t be shy in adding plenty of garlic to your sauces, marinades and roasts.
Echinacea is another herb with renowned immune boosting properties. Like garlic, it can fend off various types of unwanted diseases. Brewing up a pot of echinacea tea and sweetening with a little natural honey is a wonderful way to enhance your family’s immune system.
And if you do unfortunately catch a cold or the flu, my favourite herbal remedy is a warming cup of YEP (yarrow, elderflower and peppermint). These herbs work synergistically together to ward off all cold and flu symptoms and they will help get you back to 100% in no time.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
It surely comes as no surprise that not getting enough sleep makes you more susceptible to contracting viruses. Lack of sleep will vastly compromise you and your family’s immune system function so it is vital that adults get between 7-8 hours per night and children get between 9-12 hours per night.
Have a set bedtime routine that begins an hour or so before the lights go out. This will help ensure everyone is relaxed and in the appropriate mood to ensure a pleasant and sound sleep.
No one enjoys catching a cold or being burdened with the flu. Fortunately, you can take several steps to help your immune system prevent this from happening. Follow these tips and you will have everything in place to ensure you and your family remains 100% healthy for the entirety of winter.
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