Feeling the brunt of winter already? The flu season is already here, with a triple threat virus for added measure!
Cases of covid, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are rapidly increasing, with Australian National University infectious disease expert Dr Nick Coatsworth saying in addition to Covid, he was seeing many patients presenting with rhinovirus - the common cold.
We all know about hand washing, wearing masks and coughing into our elbow, but you can help ward off colds and flu by incorporating immunity-boosting ingredients into your health regime.
According to GO Healthy naturopath, Ema Taylor, incorporating certain ingredients into your daily routine could be the difference between a small sniffle and a full-blown cold.
“As the winter months approach, it's important to take proactive steps to support your immune system and overall health,” Ema. said.
“With winter a time synonymous with sickness, it’s important to bolster your immunity in the lead up to illness, so when the inevitable happens, your body is better prepared to bounce back.”
Here are Ema's six tips to help improve your immune resistance to winter illnesses,
1. Enjoy vitamin C-rich foods: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is involved in the production and function of white blood cells, responsible for fighting infections.
To boost your vitamin C intake, Ema recommends incorporating citrus fruits and vegetables into your diet as we move into the winter months. “Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons are excellent sources of vitamin C,” Ema said.
2. Introduce Zinc rich foods: Zinc is another essential nutrient for immune health. It's involved in many processes that help support the immune system and wound healing.
“Foods that are rich in zinc include oysters, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and chickpeas. Consuming these foods regularly can help strengthen your immune system,” recommends Ema.
3. Eat vitamin D rich foods: Eating vitamin D-rich foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks and mushrooms can help sustain adequate vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it's synthesised by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
As temperatures drop our time in the sun tends to reduce, which can lead to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system, helping the body fight off infections and illnesses.
4. Consuming mineral-rich Bone Broth: Bone broth is a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory food that is rich in immune-supporting minerals and vitamins.
“Bone broth is made by simmering bones and connective tissue from animals, which releases nutrients such as collagen, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals are essential for a strong functioning digestive system, which is fundamental for a robust immune system, as around 70% of your immune system resides in the gut,” Ema said.
5. Incorporate healing spices: Spices have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. Ema suggests incorporating spices as an easy way to support immune health and a fun way to spice up your winter meals.
“Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin are just a few examples of healing spices that can help support immune health. Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body and is a perfect addition to juices and soups.
“Ginger is known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent immune-boosting spice, and is a tasty addition to stir fries and tea. Cinnamon possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which can be helpful in eliminating harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi and works well in smoothies.”
According to Ema, cumin is a rich source of antioxidants that can help protect against cellular damage and support overall health.
“Adding these spices to your meals during the winter will not only boost the flavour but will also help support a strong immune system,” she said.
Ema Taylor is a degree-qualified naturopath, clinical nutritionist, and certified fertility awareness educator. For more information on GO Healthy’s entire range or to find a stockist, visit www.gohealthy.com.au.