10 ways to improve your immune health and reduce illness this winter
If you are falling ill with a number of colds and flus each year, your immune system may not be functioning optimally. There can be a number of factors that influence the efficiency of our immune health and assessing your diet and lifestyle is a great place to start.
Eat a whole food diet
Eating an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and raw nuts and seeds is important for your general health and for your immune health.
A good nights sleep
Sleep deprivation can impact immune health and increase your risk of falling ill.
Avoid cigarette smoke
Smoking or exposure to second hand cigarette smoke increases your risk of developing bronchitis and pneumonia and increases the risk of middle ear infections in children.
Reduce your alcohol intake
Alcohol consumption can impair your immune system and increase your risk of lung infections.
Eat fermented foods
Studies have found the good bacteria found in fermented food can improve gut health and therefore immune health, as 70% of our immune system is located in the gut.
Vitamin D is essential for immune health and we need direct sunlight on our skin to make vitamin D. In the cooler months aim for 20-30 minutes of sunshine each day without sunscreen.
Garlic is antimicrobial and an immune booster. If you are not a fan of garlic in your food take an odourless garlic capsule each day in the cooler months to boost immunity.
Medicinal mushrooms have a variety of amazing health benefits including improving immunity. Reshi, Shiitake Maitake, Cordyceps and Lion's Mane or blends that contain these varieties are particularly valuable.
Immune boosting herbs
Echinacea, Cats claw, Elderberry and Olive leaf may improve your immune response and reduce the duration of a cold or flu.
Rest and recovery
If you do catch a bug take the time to let your body recover. Rest, get lots of sleep, drink fluids, eat nourishing soups and bone broth and take the time your body needs to recover properly before throwing yourself back into your regular routine. Doing this will replenish your immune system and reduce your risk of getting ill again soon