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How to naturally support your immune system this Winter

How to naturally support your immune system this Winter

So here we are in 2022 and what a ride the last 2 years have been with COVID-19, long COVID, COVID variants and all that came with it.

As we head into winter, it’s a good time to touch base and see how you’re doing with your immune health. Keeping your immune system robust and in top shape is the best way to help you avoid infection from ills and chills, infections and viruses over the winter months.

For most of us, avoiding COVID infection has been our primary concern, however for those who have been exposed, resisting getting long COVID has been the next burning issue. Long COVID is defined by ongoing signs and symptoms 4 - 12 weeks after contracting COVID, and any symptoms longer than this are defined as Post COVID-19 Syndrome. At this point in time there are not tests for Long COVID and relying on signs and symptoms is our only option until more is known.

Keeping your immune system in optimal health is the obvious ideal approach, but it is hard to truly measure how well you're doing on a day-to-day basis, relying on things like energy levels, and sense of general wellbeing helps us determine how well our immune system is doing. Feeling unwell is the first sign that something’s up and despite how you are feeling, your immune system is working to resolve your symptoms. Take a fever for example, this is an obvious sign that your immune system has kicked into gear and is trying to “burn off’ unwanted invaders.

All happening behind the scenes your immune system operates 24/7 to help repair and rebalance your body systems using a complex network of chemicals, cells, antibodies and organs to protect you from bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses. This process requires a lot of resources, drawing on increasing amounts of your nutrients stores to keep it going, and when they become sufficiently depleted, you’re risk of illness climbs. Combine this with things like working too long hours, prolonged stressed, sleep deficiency, or eating badly and you’re risk of illness goes up even more.

When your cells are exposed to oxidative stress caused by things like pollution, smoking, alcohol, chemical exposure, and a diet high in fats, sugar and processed foods, your immune system kicks into gear and starts drawing on antioxidants like vitamin C. This particular vitamin is stored in high amounts in white blood cells (leukocytes), the pituitary gland, the brain, eyes and adrenal glands and relinquish their vitamin C resources as needed. When oxidative stress is prolonged or occurs in tandem with other factors like stress, fatigue, and even healthy exercise, demand for vitamin C increases and continues until balance is restored. This can make it difficult for your body to keep up with demand.

Vitamin C’s antioxidant effect is highly valued alongside its immune supportive benefits, but did you know that Vitamin C also plays an important role as a cofactor in collagen production – giving it tissue repair and wound healing qualities, not to mention anti-aging benefits. Vitamin C also supports healthy mucus membrane function (e.g the nose, mouth and lungs) which are typically affected with winter related illnesses.

Moving on from Vitamin C here’s some idea to support your immune system ahead of the Winter months – good to do this in Autumn when lower temperatures signal Winter is in its way.

  • Eat to build your nutrients stores. Foods that contain a complex of nutrients like bone broths, fermented foods as condiments, smoothies, soups, raw fruits and vege’s, and stews.
  • Eat foods high in antioxidants like vitamin C, A, E, Zinc and selenium. Eat them raw as much as possible.
  • Avoid foods that you are intolerant too. Eating them will activate your immune system unnecessarily
  • Eliminate empty calories foods – these are high calories food with little nutritional and are heavily processed
  • Eliminate high acid forming foods that will deplete nutrient stores e.g. refined sugar, alcohol, coffee, fast foods, carbonated drinks
  • Optimise you gut health and digestion – eat raw fruits and veges high in enzymes, fibre and antioxidants
  • When daylight savings changes hit, adapt your routine right away
  • Do an honest review of your work/life balance and modify where things might have as slipped
  • Check your stress - rate it on a scale of 1 (none) -10 (extreme) every day for a month if you need too, to have a clear picture. Or ask someone who sees you regularly to give you an objective opinion on how stressed they see you.
  • Sleep - get plenty. Sleep is a critical time for healing and repair which our immune system is heavily involved in.
  • If you’re taking any supplements review your regime so it meets the demands of winter and switch or add in what you need. Building your immune strength prior can help to prevent you from succumbing to illness when others have.

Gut support:
  • Probiotic 14 Strains – broad spectrum shelf stable formula to help support healthy microbiome balance - important since 70%-80% of your immune system lies in the gut as well

 

Antioxidant support:
  • Vitamin C – supports immune function, mucus membrane health, tissue repair
  • Astazan Antioxidant – supports a healthy response to oxidative stress

 

Immune support:
  • Viro Resist – Prebiotc and herbal combination to help support against viral infection

 

Nutrients stores support:
  • Spirulina – rich in vitamin, minerals and antioxidants, a great for additional nutrient intake
  • Super Alkalise – nutrient rich, alkalising greens to optimise healthy immune system

 

If you think you may have Long COVID contact your health care professional for support.