January can be a time to make a healthy fresh start and so therefore you don’t want to come down with a horrible cold or virus which can be really debilitating. It’s that time of year when everyone around you starts to get sick and we’re all susceptible to coughs and colds.
Here are some of my top tips to give you the best chance of keeping yourself healthy and happy during these winter months:
- Eat a well-balanced diet including whole foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables which will fuel your body with all the key nutrients. Ensure that you eat your 5-10 a day and avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods
- As Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Keep your gut healthy and eating foods such as sauerkraut is a great way to do this. Garlic, onions, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon all have health boosting properties as well and can be easily added to soups, curries and stir-fries
- Keep your activity levels up as exercise improves circulation which will increase the body’s natural virus killing cells and so aid the ability to fight off infections
- Sleep is a major factor in keeping your immune system healthy as it is your body’s chance to recover and repair. Aim for at least 7-8 hours per night. If you feel you are coming down with a cold it is paramount that you get adequate sleep
- Keep hydrated and limit your caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake as these can all weaken the immune system. Stick to herbal teas and water. Keeping hydrated is key to a healthy immune system
- Get your Vitamin D levels checked by your doctor as Vitamin D plays an important role in our ability to fight infections. It is widely acknowledged that many of us are deficient or have sub-optimal levels of Vitamin D during the winter months when our exposure to sunlight is limited
- Avoid / manage your stress levels as stress hormones weaken the immune system. If you are tired and rundown you’re more prone to illness and it becomes harder to shake something off. So, finding ways to rest and relax is really important
- Supplements such as probiotics, multivitamins, zinc and vitamin C can help support your immune system
- If you come down with a cold, the first thing you should do is rest and stay at home as this is your body’s way of telling you to stop. Don’t feel guilty, you need to rest. Keep hydrated by drinking water and sipping warm liquids such as herbal teas, honey, ginger and lemon, bone broth and nourishing soups
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can really help to support your body’s natural immunity by keeping it in balance and ready to respond to any sniffles that come your way.