As the colder weather approaches so do the nasties of those unwanted colds and flus! It is important that heading into this year’s winter season that we help support our bodies immune system the best we can to be able to fight off those nasties.
So why is it that we are more susceptible in winter? Why are we not bullet proof?!
If only our bodies were resistant enough to withstand anything! Unfortunately as incredible as the human body is, we know it is not indestructible, and colds and flu thrive in the colder months.
So, what’s so great about winter that these viruses and bacteria love so much?
Whilst we hide away inside – out of the cold wintery chill, keeping the doors and windows shut and cranking that heater up to a nice low to mid 20-degree temperature – the air changes. The indoor air becomes a lot drier, which can affect the mucus that lines the membranes in our nose and throat. In a similar way, the cold and frosty outdoor air can disrupt these membranes too making these areas within our body more vulnerable and sensitive to bacteria and viruses.
Lack of vitamin D:
Low levels of vitamin D is associated with the development of many illnesses. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that plays an important role within our body and is vital for controlling the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, as well as assisting in normalizing the functioning of our immune system. With the shorter daylight hours and layers of clothes we rug up in during winter, our exposure to obtaining the adequate amount of vitamin D is limited, which in turn has a negative effect on our immune systems response.
Did you know? That we accumulate roughly 90% of our vitamin D from direct sunlight exposure onto our skin and only 10% comes from our food sources!
Check out below to see roughly how long you need to be exposed to
sunlight to soak up that vitamin D!
Boosting our immunity!
There are a range of different things we can do to improve and boost our immune response which can assist in speeding up our recovery and reducing our chances of catching those nasties.
The better our immune system is functioning, the more likely it will be able to respond appropriately to protect us from those nasty common colds and flu that can spread notoriously!
Immune boosting foods
There are a range of immune boosting foods that we should try and incorporate into our diet to help strengthen our body’s natural defence system!
7 immune boosting foods:
Blueberries: known as an immune boosting superfood, blueberries are rich in antioxidants which help to prevent damage to our body’s cells. Flavonoid, an antioxidant found in blueberries, has been shown to have an important role in supporting our respiratory tract function, reducing upper respiratory tract infections.
Turmeric: curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties- helping to boost our immune function.
Ginger: has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that assist in boosting our immune system and preventing cellular damage, as well as helping to relieve a sore throat or inflammation!
Garlic: has an important role in supporting the body against infections and illnesses. Garlic contains a compound known as allicin, which promotes white blood cell functioning allowing the body to boost its fighting defence.
Citrus fruit: such as oranges, mandarins, lemons, and grapefruit, are rich in vitamin C which is an essential vitamin that helps our body fight against unwanted pathogens. Vitamin C is involved in tissue growth and repair, as well as immune system support.
Dark chocolate: contains an antioxidant known as theobromine, which assists in boosting the immune system by protecting the body from free radicals that can damage the body’s cells. Plus who can say no to a bit of choccy!
Spinach: known as a superfood, spinach is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A and folate, and has antioxidant properties to assist in battling those nasty invaders!
Immune boosting tea
A cuppa a day keeps the germs away! Well, we would like to hope so with this immunity tea by wild flora!
Blended with specific immunity boosting herbs of echinacea, spearmint, ginger, lemon grass and Siberian ginseng, this immunity tea is here to support you whether you are already sick or not.
Catch those Zzz’s
Poor sleep or lack of sleep can have a negative effect on our body’s health and it’s healing abilities. Sleep is extremely vital to assist the functioning of our immune system.
Lack of or poor sleep disrupts our white blood cells effectiveness, resulting in a poor immune response and an inability to adequately fight the invaders (viruses/ bacteria).
Getting a good night’s sleep enables our body to release a fighting protein known as interferon which helps to prevent viral replication in an attempt to stop the invaders as soon as they can. So you better start catching those Zzzz’s!
Having trouble sleeping? Then how about trying this sleepy owl tea by wild flora. This tea is blended with specific herbs that can have a soothing and relaxing effect on our muscles and nerves, allowing our body to feel calm and ready to sleep, and I mean who would say no to a nice hot cuppa!
Stay warm & rug up!
Our joints in particular can feel the cold A LOT, which can lead to morning aches, pain and stiffness.
So how can you stay warm this winter? Protect your head with a beanie, your neck with a scarf, and your fingers with some gloves!
Still feeling cold….?
Then why not use a heat pack! For even more discrete comfort try our back and neck wraps by Wili Heat Bags. With many great patterns to choose from, these heat packs wrap around your body without falling off so you can place them under your clothes, and nobody will even know… don’t worry your secret’s safe with us!
During the winter season a lot of us tend to drink less water than we should, but it is important to still stay hydrated through the colder months. At least 2 litres of water a day is recommended, so keep that water bottle on you as a reminder to drink up!
Keep active and get outside
Keep moving! As much as the cold weather turns us away from staying active and exercising, it is very important for our immune system. And as we already know, vitamin D assists our immune system too – so make sure you try and get out in the sun (when it escapes from behind the clouds that is!)
Whilst prolonged intense physical activity can suppress our immune system, moderate physical activity can in fact help to boost our immunity. Research has shown that it can assist in regulating immune function by the regeneration of immune cells.
So why not go for a bike ride, brisk walk, a jog or a swim!
Be stress free
Stress can have a negative effect on our body. In particular, long term stress results in inflammation which can cause an imbalance of our immune cells, affecting their ability to function. This may result in a suppressed immune system!
When we are stressed we release a hormone known as cortisol. When cortisol levels are elevated, they increase the risk of health-related concerns such as a reduced immune response, poor sleep and increased blood pressure.
So, try and destress! – Why not try this Yoga with Adriene
How can we help you?
As osteopaths, there are many ways in which we may be able to assist you after you have been sick or unwell!
One of the key osteopathic principles is:
“The body has a self-healing and self-regulating mechanism”.
As osteopaths our role is to assist the body in a way that will enhance its healing capabilities, which may be by removing any physical restrictions that may be delaying the healing process via the use of manual therapy techniques.
For example; assisting your rib functioning after you have had a nasty cough, or encouraging sinus drainage whilst you are still feeling congested, or just improving overall body function are a few ways in which can assist in encouraging the body to heal and speed up its recovery!
To book an appointment, please call 9717 1200 or alternatively book online at https://www.bodywellhealthcare.com.au/book-online/
Please note that if you are currently experiencing any cold or flu like symptoms (sore throat, running or blocked nose, fever or cough) we advise that you do not book until your symptoms resolve.