Cold-Proof Your Winter: Immune-Boosting Tips
Do you regularly get sick every winter? Your immune system might benefit from a little TLC, so let’s look at some ways to boost your immunity naturally.
Add some probiotics
Did you know that much of your immune system is in your digestive tract? That is why adding good bacteria with probiotic foods is a vital step for supporting your gut and immune health.
Probiotics replenish the good bacteria that live in your digestive tract. Good bacteria help to prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria, maintain the lining of the gut and directly affect some of your immune cells.
Probiotics can be found in foods such as:
- Natural yoghurt
- Non-dairy yoghurt
- Milk kefir
- Non-dairy milk kefir
- Water kefir
It is not recommended to take a probiotic capsule unless you have professional guidance and are taking antibiotics. The balance of bacteria in your gut is different to another person’s and will supplementing with a probiotic may be good for one person it may not necessarily be good for you. Therefore book an appointment.
Chomp on prebiotics
Adding good bacteria to your gut is a good start. But you also need to feed those good bacteria so that they can thrive, consequently there is a need for prebiotics.
Prebiotics are a type of fibre that act as fuel for good bacteria. They can be found in a variety of foods, as well as some supplements. Supplemental prebiotics are not recommended without professional help as they may increase symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, increasing gassiness, bloating and abdominal pain.
Good sources of prebiotics include:
- Banana (slightly green is best for prebiotic fibre)
- Chia seeds
- Lentils and beans
Up the antioxidants
When you think of boosting immunity and avoiding infection, you probably think of vitamin C. But vitamin C is only one type of antioxidant that supports your immune system. Instead of focusing on vitamin C, your best bet is to include a variety of antioxidants.
Vitamin E, beta-carotene, anthocyanins and lycopene are important antioxidants that help with immunity. Antioxidants are found in a number of fruit and vegetables; think colour, think rainbow – the more colour, the higher the antioxidants.
What’s the easiest way to get plenty of antioxidants in? Eat your fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Some of my favourite antioxidant-rich foods that are seasonally available now in WA are dark leafy vegetables such as Kale and spinach; vegetables such as Kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, broccoli, sweet potato and beetroot. Fruits would be limes and kiwifruit.
What fruit and vegetables are in season in WA may be found here
Don’t forget your zinc
Zinc is a key player in immune function. But many of us are either not consuming enough zinc or have a higher demand for it. Those who are at risk of zinc deficiency include people with digestive issues; chronic stress; vegetarian/vegans; pregnant and breastfeeding women; chronic kidney disease; poor dietary choices and those who abuse alcohol.
Some good sources of zinc include:
- Beans and legumes
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
To understand how important these foods are give Davina a call on 0416016388
Know your vitamin D
As the days have grown shorter and colder, many of us become deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the key nutrients the immune system needs to function, directly interacting with the cells that fight infections.
It’s a good idea to get your vitamin D tested at the start of the season. That way, you can correct any deficiency before you end up sick. In southern WA (Perth and South) during June and July the Cancer Council of WA recommends being outside without protection at midday for 30 minutes a day to get adequate amounts of vitamin D for our winter needs.
Low levels of vitamin D in children and adults have been linked to many illnesses, and are prevalent in many autoimmune conditions
If you really can’t afford to get sick, you’ll want to get a personalised prevention plan. Call Davina on 0416016388 or book an appointment