Winter has definitely set in and so have the winter sniffles. Our immune system can take a bit of a hit during the colder months and with Covid19 still lurking about we thought we would put together a few helpful tips on how to beat the winter blues and boost your health this flu season.
What does the immune system do?
The immune system helps to protect the body from external pathogens, bacteria, and other toxins in our environment. When the body encounters these nasties, the immune system triggers its defences and comes to the rescue by rejecting it from the body. When the immune system is weak it can let the invading agents in too far, this is what causes us to get sick. When we have a healthy and thriving immune system, it can quickly recognise when the body is compromised and jump into action. You may still get a little sniffle, but it is less likely to escalate into a full-blown flu.
Natural Immune boosting ingredients:
A great way to encourage a healthy immune system naturally is through the diet. Including a range of herbs and spices to soups, stews and teas is a sure way to fire up your flue fighting superpowers.
Echinacea has properties that help to modulate and balance the immune system. This means it can help to assist when pathogens are trying to cause havoc. Echinacea can be a beautiful addition to herbal teas or natural throat lozenges.
Ginger is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties that help to boost immune health and increase circulation. Try adding some fresh ginger to hot water with a dash of honey and ½ a juiced lemon for a throat soothing tonic.
Garlic is traditionally used for its antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal benefits. Its properties are released when heated making it a perfect addition to cooking.
Lemon Myrtle is a native plant to Australia and is revered for being high in antioxidants. The leaves have been traditionally used to treat respiratory infections and can be a great addition herbal tea as they have a beautiful lemon fragrance and taste. The leaves can also beneficial when they are crushed or rolled in the hands and inhaled to assist clearing the airways.
Liquorice Root can be used as an antiviral, anti-inflammatory that is known to protect the tissues of mucous membranes. This means it is great for repairing cells that have been damaged while the immune system fights off any toxins. It has a beautiful sweet flavour that can be added to any dish as a natural sweetener.
Peppermint is a common antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-septic herb found in most household gardens. This means it is great at protecting the body from infection. Peppermint leaves make for a soothing tea and can even be added to liquorice root and ginger for a powerful herbal combo.
Other ways to support natural immunity:
When the body is working hard to fight off daily toxins it is important to drink enough water to flush them out of our system. Aim for about 2 litres a day, some of this can be consumed through herbal teas.
Vitamin D is naturally made within the body when the skin is exposed to the sun. A few minutes with the sun on the skin can do wonders to boost immunity. Of course, this can be a bit harder in winter so a supplement may be recommended for those who are particularly affected by its deficiency known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Common symptoms of SAD are fatigue and depression, when confronted with these feelings it can be hard to make the healthy choices to keep your Immune system happy and healthy. Often increasing Vitamin D will relive these seasonal woes.
Wanting more sleep during the winter months is often an urge we all feel but may not listen to. The body naturally craves hibernation during colder months because our internal systems start to run a bit slower. Rest will assist the immune and nervous systems to catch up with any back log of stress or toxins that need to be dealt with. That Sunday sleep in may just be the thing to help you boost your health.
Nobody wants to be down and out all winter and supporting your health can be super simple and even fun. When you build up a healthy immune system naturally you are more likely to bounce back when you do get sick and stop any sniffles turning into a chronic cold. Try a few of these ideas out and your body will thank you.