Cold & flu season is well underway. There’s no doubt that people’s immune systems seem to be in a little bit of shock now that we are out of a two-year lockdown, and exposed to the plethora of bugs that seem to be coming in waves.
Regardless of whether you’ve managed to avoid a week knocked down and confined to your bed, or whether you feel like you’ve been warding off a cold every few weeks, these tips will help to keep you well for the remaining months of Sydney’s cold, rainy weather.
- Eat seasonally: The earth produces food with the nutrient profiles best suited to nourish us during each particular season. Right now, produce that is in-season include vitamin-C rich fruits like oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, kiwi fruits and grapefruits, and root vegetables such as carrots, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, onions + all your nutrient-dense dark leafy greens such as Bok choy, kale, silverbeet, as well as eggplant, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower. When it comes to home cooking, opt for warming, hearty dishes like soups, stews, broths, breakfast oats, rice dishes and slow-cooker meals. Have a go at saving a lot of your cold smoothies and raw salads for Spring/Summer. We have a delicious range of broths that you can either add to hot water and sip on in a mug, or add into risottos and the like (look out for Star Anise Organics, Cherry Tree, Best of the Bone, and Nutra Organics).
- Stay Warm: Be sure to layer your clothing when heading outdoors (ideally with a beanie to warm your head and gloves for your hands) and spray jackets if it’s drizzling. Wear socks around the house. Studies have found that the cold virus can replicate more easily in the cold temperatures of the nose in comparison to our warmer core body temperature in the lungs. Being cold can also impair some of our immune system proteins. In short, the lower our temperature, the lower our innate immune response to viruses.
- Support your body’s Immune system with herbs & nutrients: At a minimum I recommend my clients take Vitamin C throughout the wintertime for immune support- our bodies can’t store vitamin C like it can some other vitamins and minerals, so we require constant replenishment of Vitamin C throughout the day in our diets- supplementing helps us to get a nice therapeutic dose to help ward off colds & flus. Other immune supporting supplements that could be of benefit include zinc, Vitamin D, selenium and Vitamin A. Herbal teas are a wonderful way to incorporate immune-boosting herbs into your day- look out for Immune Teas by Pukka & Love Tea on the Health Emporium shelves with herbs such as Echinacea, Elderberry, Holy Basil & Ginger. You could also add some powdered medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Chaga, Maitake, Shiitake & Turkey Tail into your morning coffee, chai or hot cacao (look out for Superfeast mushrooms in-store). Start your day with warm water + Manuka honey, fresh lemon juice & ginger, and be sure to sip on and cook with bone broth & lots of fresh ginger. If you are in-store, order a ‘Healing Turmeric’ juice which is packed with immune-supporting ginger, turmeric, carrot & orange.
- Rest: Sleep truly is the best medicine. Make the most of this dreary weather by entering hermit mode and using these last few winter months to truly rest. Get to bed early (ideally by 9pm) and aim for a solid 8–9-hour sleep. If you are having issues sleeping, please swing past the store and pick up some magnesium- it is a wonderful sleeping aid that helps the mind and body to calm down.
- Get into the sunlight: When there is a rare sunny day or breaks in the clouds, try to get out into the sunlight for short bursts of around 15 or so minutes to support Vitamin D levels, which tend to drop in the winter months. The best spots on the body to expose to the sun include the back, face/neck, arms & hands, and legs/backs of legs.
By Phoebe Ackland, Naturopath