You know the drill. The temperature drops, the days shorten and the colds and coughs start making an appearance. Even when autumn and winter are at their most glorious, the bugs hang in the air, making it the time of year when you seriously need to take care of yourself. With this in mind, we asked the brilliant nutritionist and founder of the Wild Nutrition line of supplements, Henrietta Norton, for her tips for getting your body into prime condition for the winter season. Read this and be armed. This winter we won’t be flat out from a cold!
“Your immune system is similar to a savings account; making regular investments in advance, will give you the security for you to fall back on in the long term. Start supporting this natural defence against seasonal colds and flus’ at least 3-4 months in advance of the coldest months. (Ed’s note: although it’s never too late to start building your immune system up!)
- Increase zinc rich foods (dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, seafood and fish).
- Build in colour with a mix of seasonal vegetables and fruit such as apples or berries for vitamin C and circulation supporting anthocyanidins.
- Cut back on refined sugar. Not only does sugar have a suppressive effect on the immune system, is also increases the wrong kind of inflammation in the body and generally is a chemical catalyst for cellular damage, which may be weakening to our system. Sugar also feeds unwanted bacteria in the gut and because most of our immune system resides in the gut, a happy gut is the road to building a strong immune system. Increase naturally beneficial bacteria with fermented foods (e.g sauerkraut and kimchi) and consider using a higher dose of varying strains of friendly bacteria to optimise levels.
- Don’t forget about vitamin D, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system. Only 10 % comes from food, which means the rest is required from consistent sunlight or via supplementation. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to poor immunity and seasonal mood related issues. Food-Grown forms of Vitamin D have been shown to provide the ‘active’ forms of Vitamin D3, so I recommend Wild Nutrition Vitamin D throughout the winter months.
- The latest research on medical mushrooms used in products such as Food-Grown Immune Support has shown that they are able to be effective at modulating the immune system and exert an inhibitory effect against viruses. I use this with the entire family during the winter months, it also contains elderberry, zinc and Vitamin D.
- Use plenty of warming herbs and spices in soups and stews to support circulation to induce support the immune system. Ginger, rosemary, black pepper, garlic, paprika, horseradish, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin and onions are all nourishing – especially if you feel under the weather.
- Warm up a salad by adding roasted vegetables to raw salad leaves e.g roasted beetroot and rocket salad. Drizzle flax seed oil to boost your omega 3 as good oils support immunity.