Along with darker nights and freezing mornings, the transition to winter heralds the dreaded cold and flu season. And, with 21 million days of work lost to illness in 2015, not to mention missing out on countless social events as you try and nurse yourself back to health, it’s worth putting in some effort to fight the flu before it sets in. So, for some expert guidance on how to boost immunity the natural way this season, SL spoke to nutritional therapist Erin McCann…
Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates
Sugar and refined carbohydrates tax the immune system by feeding bacterial growth and contributing to inflammation in the body. By reducing these foods, your immune system can more efficiently focus on bacteria and virus cell invaders to ward off colds, flu and other illnesses.
Eat your five a day
Many people may not associate eating their five a day with improved immune function, but citrus fruits, pumpkins and squashes, and dark leafy, green vegetables provide nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants, which support the body’s natural defences against viral and bacterial infections.
Take natural, immune supporting supplements
Nature provides us with a plethora of proven, immune supporting plants and foods, such as bee propolis, elderberry, olive leaf, beta glucans and reishi mushroom. These are far better choices than over the counter, chemical laden products, which may only provide a temporary fix.
Reduce caffeine intake
Caffeine blocks nutrient absorption in the body, resulting in deficiencies of vitamins and minerals which are important for immune cell production. Caffeine also stimulates production of the adrenal hormone, cortisol and, while increasing energy, cortisol can impair the functioning of your immune system.
All the evidence shows lack of sleep and recovery time can reduce the body’s immune function and immune cell production. So, keep your immune system fighting fit by getting 8 hours sleep each night.