How can you boost your winter health?

Have you noticed a lot of people seem to be coming down with coughs and colds lately?

Well, it appears we may be suffering from ‘immunity debt’ and nature is catching up on us. We have missed out on two years’ worth of exposure to pathogens, which has left us more susceptible.

With the colder months coming, what can we do to boost our immunity so we don’t spend days on end feeling sad, sore and sorry for ourselves?

Get busy

Often one of the last things you feel like doing in colder weather is moving around.

A warm room and a glass of red are calling you and the wet, rainy outdoors can just stay where it is.

Well, the human body is designed to move around and works better if it does so regularly. Exercise also encourages the production of white blood cells, which are vital to protecting the body from disease and infection.

If going outside sounds like hell, there are plenty of exercise videos on YouTube for every level of fitness or try an indoor activity such as visiting a gallery or even just a stroll around the local shopping centre.

Go with your gut

One of the best things you can do to improve your immunity is to look after your gut health.

“One of the most important factors is good gut health since a significant proportion of your immune system – approximately 70 per cent of the body’s immune cells – are located in your gut,” says Kate Llewellyn-Waters, nutritionist and author of The Immunity Cookbook.

And all that bacteria down there is also playing its part. Also known as the gut microbiome, the more diverse the bacteria, the better as it plays a role in ‘training’ immune cells.   

Llewellyn-Waters recommends focusing on prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods such as apples, bananas, cauliflowers, wheat and oats.

Scrub up

One of the simplest ways you can protect yourself is to always wash your hands.

You may have very high hygiene standards but not everyone does and all it takes is for you to casually touch an area of infection and next thing you know you are knee-deep in tissues and cursing your very existence.

A shot in the arm

Get your annual flu shot. With all the focus on COVID the past couple of years, flu has flown under the radar a bit. If you have missed your shot the past couple of years, now’s the time to roll up your sleeve and get back into the habit.

Are you feeling sleepy?

Getting enough sleep is vital for immunity. Your body resets in your sleep, allowing your immune system to fight any bugs and restore healthy body function. 

And it’s easier to justify sleeping a bit longer when it’s cold outside.

Drink up

Make sure you consume more water, not wine, as tempting as it may be.

Improving your hydration improves your immunity in two important ways. Firstly, more liquid in your body means more oxygen can be carried to your cells and secondly it flushes toxins and bacteria from your body.

Do you have a tried and true remedy for a cold? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments section below.

Also read: Is the newest weight loss drug a magic bullet?

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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