Building your Immune Resilience Naturally

Not uncommon for this time of year, there appears to be a lot of nasty illnesses going around at the moment.  Do you ever wonder why some people get sick every winter and others remain healthy. We are often all exposed to the same viruses and bacteria, yet only some are likely to get sick. Some people are just more resistant to illness.
 
Disease causing viruses or bacteria can enter your body simply by inhalation and ingestion. Only a few of these, particularly viral, ‘pathogens’ result in a cold or flu because luckily you are equipped with an immune system specifically designed to fight off most or all of these unwanted invaders.
 
Prevention beats cure every time If you are stressed out, unfit, run down and/or consuming a nutritionally poor diet, you are likely contributing to the demise of your immune systems defences and setting yourself up to succumb to one of the viruses floating around. Therefore, preparing your immune system to withstand this winter’s lurgies begins with a few simple foundational strategies:
 
•Reduce stress – Yep, the ‘S’ word appears again.
When exposed to stress, our body produces high levels of our stress hormones – cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. High cortisol in particular, can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain. Make sure you schedule regular time-out for you, such as exercise, meditation, yoga, reading, journal writing, whatever it is that helps you unwind.
 
• Exercise regularly – Studies have show that remaining active reduces the risk of contracting a cold by up to 46%. Another good reason to not give up or slow down just because it’s a little darker or colder outside.
 
• Sleep, rest and recover – aim for 7 to 8 hours each night to restore energy and increase resilience. Sleep depravation is a common stressor, leading to increased cortisol production. Practice good sleep hygiene to help promote restorative down time.
 
• Maximise with macros – Protein and Fats are two macronutrients that provide the essential building blocks for the production of healthy immune cells. Ensuring a good serve of these in each meal will help build that immune army.
 
• Eat your vegies – at least 4 cups of fresh vegetables and/or salad, EVERY day! Fill your plate with a rainbow of colour to ensure an abundance of essential nutrients and antioxidants that will help support healthy immune cells. It’s a great time for winter salads, soups, stir fries and slow cooked meals.
 
• Spice it up - Add garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric and chilli to your meals to help fight off illness, warm you up and reduce inflammation.
 
• Drink plenty of water to keep yourself well hydrated. Being properly hydrated ensures your cells are functioning optimally and you can eliminate toxins effectively. If cold water isn't your thing then try herbal teas or lemon and ginger in hot water.
 
• Regularly wash your hands – simple soap and warm water helps reduce cross-contamination with unwell people.
 
There are many Natural Medicines that are beneficial in preventing, treating and shortening the duration of colds and flu. These agents can boost your immune system as well as provide the necessary tools to help you fight against infection:
 
• Zinc: Optimal levels of zinc in the body have been found to inhibit the common cold and influenza viruses. Zinc is available in nuts and seeds, legumes, red meat, shellfish and green vegetables. An efficient digestive system is required to extract and absorb good amounts of zinc.
 
• Vitamin C: Vitamin C supports healthy immune function by enhancing the activity of your immune defence army of white blood cells; also reducing severity and duration of symptoms.
Increase your intake of vitamin C rich foods such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, berries and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts.
 
•Probiotics: A healthy immune system is supported by the right microbial balance in your gut. Specific probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus have been scientifically proven to enhance immune responses. By providing healthy gut immunity, you are providing the best defence against inhaled and ingested pathogens.
 
•Andrographis:This powerful herb stimulates the body’s natural immune response, and significantly reduces the duration of colds. You can take this herb as a preventative to keep your immunity strong; it can also be used acutely as soon as you get cold symptoms
 
Arm yourself and your family with the tools to build strong immune defences to reduce your risk of getting sick. If you do get sick, a strong immune system will also reduce the severity of your cold and flu symptoms, and help to speed your recovery.
 
Make sure you are prepared this cold and flu season - and remember, prevention is better than cure!

Thanks for reading
Amanda