Do you regularly come down with colds, coughs, and anything else that’s going around at this time of the year?
Our next collection has a Retreat theme, with a focus on retreating inside into the warmth and leaving winter behind.
While you’re doing this, it’s good to know what you can do to boost your immune system during the winter and help you to stay well.
Get Plenty of Sleep
How much sleep do you get, on average? If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it can have an effect on your immunity.
You’re more likely to catch a cold or get flu if your sleep patterns are poor. This may be because it encourages your immune system to be on high alert and makes it harder for it to do its job.
Some studies have suggested that T-cells are produced in lower amounts when you don’t get much sleep.
Taking steps to improve your sleep patterns can go a long way towards boosting your immunity!
When it comes to immunity, stress plays a big part. If you’re under a lot of stress, you’re more likely to get ill — even if you don’t make the connection between the two. It can also take longer to recover from illness too.
Chronic stress can increase your cortisol levels and keep them high. This is bad news for your immune system as your immune cells find it difficult to function properly.
When stress also affects sleep and nutrition, it’s a double whammy for immunity.
Keeping your stress levels under control is so important for giving yourself an immunity boost.
When the weather gets colder, your enthusiasm for exercise can quickly disappear. Here’s a good reason to keep up with it — exercise can give your immune system a boost.
It’s thought that regular workouts can give your white blood cells a boost. It can also keep stress hormones in check, which helps improve immunity.
It’s a fine line, though — exercise helps boost immunity, but strenuous workouts can reduce the number of antibodies in your body.
When your body is receiving a regular supply of nutrients, it can focus on immunity. If your diet isn’t as healthy as it could be, your body needs to find energy from other sources and the immune system takes a backseat.
Gut-friendly foods really help — up to 80% of your immune cells are located in your gut. Eating plenty of fiber and upping your intake of probiotics and prebiotics can improve your gut health and strengthen your immunity.
Live yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and kombucha are easy ways to add more probiotics into your diet. Alongside this, some foods act as prebiotics and feed the “good” bacteria in your gut. These include garlic, onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, and bananas.
Spices such as turmeric and ginger are very anti-inflammatory. Garlic also has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Add these as flavourings to meals for an easy immunity boost.
Use Natural Remedies
Elderberry has a long history of medicinal use and is often called on to fight colds and flu, and make them less likely to occur. Elderberry is packed with antioxidants — many of which have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Elderberry syrup has been the focus of a few small studies and has shown some potential in boosting the immune system and helping colds and flu to clear up more quickly. If you do fall victim to illness, it can help you bounce back sooner.
Echinacea is another home remedy that can boost immunity. It’s thought that echinacea helps to stimulate white blood cell production. These days, it’s readily available in drops and teas, as well as tablets.
Garlic is another natural remedy for boosting immunity, mostly due to a compound called allicin. This has strong antiviral qualities — just what you need when you’re trying to ward off colds and coughs! Raw garlic is more potent, especially if it’s crushed or minced. If you can’t stomach it raw, garlic supplements are another option.
Starting the day with hot water, lemon and ginger helps give your immune system a boost.
Drinking juices is an easy way to get more nutrients. A few immune-boosting ingredients include watermelon (which contains an antioxidant called lycopene), carrots (which contain an antioxidant that can fight back against viruses), berries and oranges.
Get Plenty of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is in short supply as the days become shorter and there’s less natural sunlight on offer. This can have a significant impact on immunity.
Studies have indicated that vitamin D plays a big part in “priming” T-cells, so they’re ready to fight infections, viruses, and other nasties.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get ill if you’re lacking in vitamin D but getting enough of this nutrient could be part of the bigger picture for boosting your immunity.
You can get some vitamin D by eating fatty fish (including salmon, tuna and mackerel), beef liver, egg yolk, and fortified foods. At this time of year, it can make sense to supplement too.
Laugh a Lot
Laughter may not seem like an obvious way to boost your immunity. Studies have suggested it can encourage more antibodies to be produced.
Spending time with people who make you laugh or watching entertaining television shows or videos is a fun way to boost your immunity!
Our themed health and wellness boxes are always popular, and we’ve had fantastic feedback on recent collections. The Retreat collection will be our last box for 2019 but you can subscribe for one-off or regular boxes to avoid missing out next year!