Seven Steps to Good Health this Winter
If you're looking to ramp up your immune health over winter, you might be wondering, "How do I gear up my body to tackle those pesky illnesses?" Well, boosting your immunity isn't a walk in the park, but a few tweaks in your lifestyle and diet can give your body's defence system a serious upgrade against those sneaky pathogens.
There's a real connection between sleep and keeping your immune system in top-notch shape. Skimping on sleep? That's like sending an open invitation to sickness. In a study with 164 healthy adults, the ones catching fewer than 6 hours of Zs were more likely to catch a cold. Adults, aim for 7 hours or more; teens, 8–10 hours; and the little ones, up to 14 hours. Having trouble dozing off? Try ditching screens an hour before bedtime and make your sleep space as dark as Batman's cave.
Load up on the good stuff – fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and legumes. They're packed with nutrients and antioxidants that put up a strong front against those nasty pathogens. Think of them as your immune system's cheerleaders, fighting off inflammation and giving those free radicals a run for their money. Plus, they're like a feast for the good bacteria in your gut, making your immunity top-notch.
Embrace healthy fats like those found in olive oil and salmon. They're like the superheroes that calm down inflammation, preventing it from taking over. Olive oil is not just anti-inflammatory; it's linked to keeping chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes at bay. And let's not forget omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and chia seeds—they're inflammation-fighting champs too.
Keep an eye on added sugars and refined carbs. Research hints that they might have a hand in the overweight and obesity drama, and that duo could make you more susceptible to falling sick. According to a study, folks with obesity were twice as likely to catch the flu even with a vaccine. Cut down on sugar, dial down inflammation, lose a bit of weight, and decrease your risk of chronic health issues.
Exercise is like a booster shot for your immune system. Not the hardcore, intense stuff, but a moderate, feel-good workout. It can even make vaccines more effective! Regular moderate exercise is the friend your immune cells need to stay in shape and ready for action. Think brisk walks, steady biking, a bit of jogging, or a splash in the pool—aim for at least 150 minutes a week.
Water, water, water—it's your health's best friend. While it won't shield you from germs, staying hydrated is crucial for overall well-being. Dehydration can mess with your head, focus, mood, and even kidney function, making you more prone to getting sick. Keep that urine pale yellow, and you're on the right track. Watch out for the sugar content in other types of drinks, especially juices and fizzy drinks.
Stress and your immune system? Not best friends. Long-term stress can mess with your immune cell squad and promote inflammation. Kids aren't spared either; their immune response can take a hit. Combat stress with a dose of meditation, a bit of exercise, scribbling in a journal, yoga, or anything that brings zen vibes. Talking to a counsellor or therapist, virtual or in person, might be a game-changer too.
If you’d like to find out more about how you can support your body’s natural immune system over Winter, why not book in a call here.
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