Now more than ever we need to focus on our immunity. Life may seem to be back to how it was before covid changed our world but the virus continues to spread as do many other cold and flu variants. Whatever part of the world you are in and no matter what season of the year, supporting your immunity should be front of mind and a holistic approach is the key. We share 5 things you should consider to help you stay well and boost your immunity.
1. Understand the nutrients you need
Whether it’s in a supplement or in your food, what’s important to your own immune health is having an understanding about what nutrients play a part in your overall well being. Jacqui O’Donnell, Practitioner Business Director at BioCeuticals clues us in on the immune supporting ingredients you should focus on (including one you may have never heard of), plus what else you can do to best position yourself against common cold and flu.
You can’t go past the long studied, reliable immune support nutrients – vitamin C, D and zinc.
Jacqui explains “In terms of our immune systems. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties, helping to optimise healthy immune function. It’s one of the most important antioxidants for the lungs and also helps to recycle other antioxidants.” She adds that “vitamin D helps stimulate healthy immune responses and Zinc “has antioxidant properties and maintains healthy immune system function during infections.”
Another lesser known supplement is Andrographis – a bitter tasting plant prevalent in much of Asia which has been well studied for its role in immune health. “Andrographis decreases the severity of symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infections, including sore throat, headache, runny nose, cough, fatigue and restless sleep” Jacqui says.
Supplementing with these key nutrients will support your immunity but you can also these in fresh whole foods which leads us to our second tip.
2. Eat the rainbow
Jacqui says “Less than 1 in 10 Aussies meet their daily intake requirements for veggies and under 50% meet them for fruit. As a general rule of thumb, Aussies should be aiming for at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day.”
Why are they so important? “Flowing in nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin C and E, and even antioxidants – fruits and veggies are a must-have in your immune support regimen. Plus, they’re full of fibre – a win win for your immune health and even your digestion.”
For some of the key nutrients mentioned above Jacqui recommends – “vitamin C is found in high concentrations in citrus, capsicum, cruciferous veggies, tomatoes and more. Zinc is high in whole grains, dairy, oysters, red meat, poultry, nuts, beans and more. Vitamin D is absorbed mostly from the sun but it’s also in oily fish, liver and eggs”.
3. Make good hygiene your goal
Good hygiene practices should be second nature, right? Washing hands before and after eating, going to the bathroom, or after touching things in public places (like train stations) are basic hygiene practices you should try to never forget. Jacqui adds, “especially when viruses are more prominent – like in winter – social distancing is a great, effective tool to reduce the risk of catching viruses like cold and flu.”
4. Get more sleep!
“Up to 45% of Aussies are getting inadequate sleep and research shows that inadequate sleep does no favours for our immune health! Adults need more than 7 hours per night and kids need even more,” Jacqui says. “Set yourself a goal to go to bed at a certain time and make it easier to get some shut-eye by switching off blue light, tech and the TV 30 minutes to an hour before you aim to be asleep. If you’re slow to fall asleep, try get in bed a bit earlier.”
5. Take a breath and remove unnecessary stress
Stress is common in Aussies’ homes. To reduce yours and your family’s stress, make mindfulness a daily practice. “Whether you do breathwork, a 10 minute per day in-app meditation or practice mindfulness colouring, every Aussie should focus on removing unnecessary and prolonged stress, as certain stress can impair immune function.”
Read more Health and Wellness tips HERE