Winter Wellness. Immune Boosting facts to help you through the Cold and Flu Season.
Get ready for the Winter Flu Season
Winter is notorious for the season of coughs, croup, colds and the dreaded flu.
Did you know there are almost 200 viruses that cause the common cold. The viruses can live on surfaces from several hours to several days. When coughing or sneezing the virus can travel up to three and half feet. Cold and flu viruses manage to sneak into your cells and it takes around a week for your body to produce antibodies, to help destroy them. Due to the numerous strains they change season to season and being immune to one strain does not protect you against the morphed changed virus.
Supporting our immune system to help with colds and flus
Our immune system protects us against foreign pathogens, disease, infections and support recovery after injuries. It is a complex system powered by 5 litres of blood and lymph. Lymph is the clear and colourless liquid that passes throughout the tissues of the human body. Our white blood cells (aka Phagocytes and lymphocytes) go into battle when any signs of infection appear.
Phagocytes target foreign invaders that cause disease and move through your blood vessels and tissue to combat invaders. Each pathogen hold a specific type of antigen, and each lymphocyte in your body hold antibodies meant to fight the antigens carried by pathogens. There are three main types of lymphocytes in the body: B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells.
B cells create antibodies that attack bacteria, viruses, and toxins that enter the body. T cells kill cells in the body that have been overtaken by viruses or that have become cancerous. Like T cells, natural killer cells kill infected or cancerous cells. But instead of producing antibodies, they make a special enzyme, or chemical, that kills the cells.
Handy tips to protect your immune system this winter?
- Take some time to relax in the Sun – soak up the Vitamin D
- Sleep – Stick to a sleep routine have a set time to go to bed and wake up.
- Reduce stress
- Vitamin C and Zinc supplements
- Reduce alcohol consumption or even better replace alcohol with Water, Kefir, Turmeric lattes or Herbal teas
- Diffuse Immune Boosting essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Lemon, Lavender & Tea Tree
- Eat whole foods, reduce sugar consumption.
Foods to support your immune system?
- Boost your Vitamin C with the likes of camu camu, kakadu plum, rosehip, acerola and baobab
- Antioxidant rich food such as broccoli sprouts, cacao and berries
- Anti inflammatory foods such as Turmeric and Ginger
- Fermented Foods & Tonics (Fire Cider)
Echinacea tea – The University of Connecticut found that consuming Echinacea “cuts the chances of catching the common cold by 58 percent and reduces the duration of the common cold by 1.4 days”
- Eat foods rich in zinc, which include:
- Flax and pumpkin seeds
- Pinto beans
- Tahini paste
Understanding how we can make choices that impact our immune system empowers us to be as healthy as we can be. Good lifestyle behaviours support our overall well being and will keep you at your healthiest throughout winter! x