Immunity Boosters to keep you healthy this Winter
To boost your immune system in cold weather, you must provide your body with extra care and love, and ensure that your immunity holds strong under the attack of viruses going around in winter months.
Luckily, there are many ways to keep your immune system fit by fueling your natural defences with nutrition, rest, and by using the right vitamins and supplements.
- Consider the Flu Jab
Flu is an infection caused by a virus. It tends to happen during the winter, and it usually spreads between October and April. Flu symptoms include sore throat, nausea, difficulties sleeping, muscle ache and high fever.
The good news is that Higgins Pharmacy Sligo has a Flu Vaccination Service.
You can book online here: https://www.higginspharmacy.ie/flu-vaccine
- Get Outside
You might not feel like leaving your warm and comfy bed or a couch, but your body will thank you for even a little bit of exercise through the winter months.
Exercising will positively benefit your body and mind.
It’s important to listen to your body. If you feel like taking long walks three times a week, that’s more beneficial to your wellbeing than trying to get up for a jog each morning at 6 am.
Regular exercise, however light, benefits the body’s immune system.
- Keep Your Eye on the Sun
Enjoy the fresh air and take a walk outside. There are many benefits to spending time outdoors despite the cold. We require vitamin D, and the sun is our best source of it.
Time in nature helps boost our mood and our energy. It also enhances our creativity and best of all – it simply makes us feel better.
- The Role of Probiotics
Probiotics are “good” bacteria found in certain foods and supplements, which can have beneficial effects on our health. Probiotics can improve the balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract by competing with harmful bacteria to prevent them from settling in the gastrointestinal tract.
So, what is the role of probiotics in your immune system?
If your gut is not healthy, your immune system won’t be either! Nurturing your gut by taking probiotics could give your immune system a helping hand.
- Eat According to the Season
Our dietary requirements change with seasons, so our diet shifts to support these changing needs. Foods that are grown and consumed during their appropriate seasons are more nutritionally dense.
Benefits of eating seasonal produce:
- Fresh produce
- It tastes better
- Packed with nutrients
- Better for the environment
So, what’s in season in November?
- Pumpkin and squash
- Carrots, parsnips
- Autumn greens, such as spinach, leeks and celery
- Fruit and nuts, such as apples and hazelnuts
- Wash Your Hands
Washing hands is still one of the essential steps when trying to reduce the risk of picking up or spreading winter viruses, including Covid-19.
You can do your best to prevent colds and flu, runny noses and chest infections, tummy bugs that cause vomiting and diarrhoea, MRSA, and food-related bugs by merely giving your hands a good wash with soap and water. Don’t forget a hand sanitiser gel. It’s easy to carry it in a bag or a car, especially when you’re on the go!
- Limit Stress
Chronic stress is common in our fast-paced world, and your mind and body can pay a high price because of it. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium if you tend to get stressed out frequently. There are steps you can take to learn to manage stress and live a healthier life.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga
- Make time for hobbies and relaxation
- Try and look for positivity in every situation
- Say no to requests that create excessive stress in your life
- Incorporate healthy eating habits into your lifestyle
- Seek social support
- Supplement Wisely
Winter months are a time when we consider giving our body an extra boost by adding a handful of vitamins and supplements to our daily regimen.
Most people get all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Probably the most famous nutrient for immunity is vitamin C! It helps protect cells and keeps them healthy. According to the HSE, adults need at least 40mg of Vitamin C a day.
If you choose to take vitamin and mineral supplements, do your research first – talk to your pharmacist, and also be aware that taking too much may have harmful effects.
- Sleep Like a Pro
Want to boost your immune system? Sleep better!
As tempted as you might be to stay up all night, it’s better to make sleep a priority.
Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response.
Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. On average, we need:
- Adults – 7 to 9 hours
- Children – 9 to 13 hours
- Toddlers and babies – 12 to 17 hours
To stay healthy, especially during the cold winter months, get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Sleeping will help keep your immune system in fighting shape.
While colder weather may bring cosy jumpers, hot chocolate and a warm fire, bear in mind another visitor – the influenza virus.
Follow the above recommendations that can help you to keep your immune system strong and healthy.
Have questions? Get in touch or call into one of our pharmacies. Our professional and friendly team are here to answer any questions you might have.