As any busy, sleep deprived mother would know, it can be hard to juggle a never ending to-do list while taking care of yourself at the same time. When the temperature drops and daylight dwindles, it’s important to know simple tricks to help build a strong and balanced immune system to fend off seasonal coughs and sniffles.
Here are my five top tips to help boost your immunity, before infection spreads and knocks the whole family down like dominos!
Let’s face it, during winter; it’s so much easier to hit the snooze button than it is to hit the gym! However, maintaining a consistent exercise routine through winter will not only keep your fitness goals on track, but also help your body function properly and increase your immunity. Don’t stress if you’re not a regular gym bunny, there are many benefits of going for a brisk walk, playing with the kids in the park and simply getting some fresh air to help boost your mood. Other suitable winter alternatives to try include: indoor cycling, yoga, pilates, Barre Body (including workouts you can do from home like those found at my Barre Body Online Studio) and other indoor gym classes.
2. Add Olive Leaf Extract to your diet
An essential supplement to my health regime is olive leaf extract, which I take during and leading up to the winter months to boost my wellbeing and immunity. One of the causes of a weakened immune system and inflammation is free-radical damage. Antioxidants such as polyphenols, act as free-radical scavengers that find and destroy free-radicals. Olive Leaf Extract is a powerful antioxidant that provides an important daily dose of polyphenols. It has been traditionally used to support the immune system and relieve symptoms of colds and flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections. For an immunity boost, I like to add 15mL of Olive Leaf Extract to my morning smoothie or afternoon herbal tea, especially in winter, when I’m more likely to feel run down.
3. Take time to relax
When your body is under stress, your physical and mental state is compromised which consequently wreaks havoc on your immune system. Stress is more harmful to the body than any of us ever take the time to consider. If you feel your body mounting with anxiety, take 5 minutes to step away and refocus by making a tea or going for a walk. Nine times out of ten you’ll realise the situation isn’t as stressful as you originally imagined. Another tip for managing stress is to practice mindful breathing; you do this by breathing in for four counts, holding your breath for four counts followed by breathing out for four counts – repeat for five to ten minutes and you should start to feel calmer.
4. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Boost your family’s nutrient intake by eating a wholesome, plant-based diet filled with plenty of fresh fruit, veggies and healthy fats. If the kids are starting to get the sniffles, it’s time to ramp up on fresh produce and start sneaking extra veggies into their meals. If your household is a fan of Bolognese, I like to load mine up with lots of carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, peas – feel free to add whatever veggies your kids like. It sounds simple, but if you’re nourishing your body with nourishing real foods, with a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, your immune system will be receiving the nutrients it needs to thrive.
5. Power down for a better sleep
As any mother knows, lack of sleep can severely impact our health and mood, making us more vulnerable to catching a cold or flu. Our body repairs itself most while we’re sleeping so it’s essential to get seven to nine hours of snooze time particularly in winter to support your immune system. If you’re struggling to get to sleep, try turning off all technology one hour before bed time to reduce blue light exposure which can overstimulate the brain and impact your sleep. That means no checking your phone, iPad, laptop or whatever other electronic device you’re attached to once you’re in the bedroom.
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