It’s often easier to keep up an exercise routine and healthy diet in the warmer months, but it’s important to continue your healthy lifestyle choices right throughout winter… maybe with a few rewards in the form of a hot chocolate or glass of wine by the fire.
Below are a few ways you can keep your immune system strong as the seasons change.
Fun in the sun
Vitamin D is important in keeping your immune system ready to fight infections. When possible, get outside and soak up the sun (with sunscreen and sunnies on of course). Foods that contain Vitamin D include oily fish like salmon as well eggs, but the skin’s exposure to sun produces the largest amount in the body. If you’re not getting enough sun try taking a Vitamin D supplement.
Better with betacarotene…
and Vitamin C and E
Betacarotene, or more commonly known as Vitamin A, is a powerful antioxidant that helps rid the body of free radical waste that is produced during normal bodily functions. A betacarotene deficiency can weaken the immune defences of the respiratory tract by damaging the mucous membranes that form a protective barrier against bacteria and viruses. Top food sources: all orange and dark green fruit and vegetables.
Keep your daily intake of vitamin C high throughout the year as this antioxidant is responsible for keeping the number of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies needed to ward off bugs. Top food sources: citrus fruits, guava, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bellpeppers, tomato, broccoli.
Add in Vitamin E for an extra healthy immune system – this antioxidant has been known to improve upper respiratory immunity. Top food sources: wheatgerm, seeds, vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables such as spinach.
Get your dose of Vitamin A, C and E to help fight off nasty infections.
Don’t forget the minerals
Iron, zinc and selenium help nourish the immune system and cells active and healthy. Don’t forget about eating mineral-rich foods like e.g. meat, fortified cereals, kale, broccoli, quinoa, and pulses. It’s also not a bad idea to get a Zinc and iron supplement – ask your healthcare professional about these.
We’ve spoken about A, C and E but
what about those ZZZZs?
Getting enough sleep is one of the ingredients to keeping strong and healthy. The right amount of sleep is as important as eating healthily and exercising because it can have a major effect on risk factors. Rest is important to keep your heart and other organs functioning correctly. Read more about the importance of sleep and sleeping patterns here (link to reboot your body clock).