If you and your family live a healthy life to build up a strong immune system, you should all be in the best position to fight off all the nasties that float around.
We’ve created our list of 5 healthy life hacks that you need to bookmark this winter. On top of these, we wanted to run through some general pointers for a healthy life.
You probably know them all, but it never hurts to have a refresher:
- Eat a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables
- Do not smoke – and if you do, do whatever you can to stop or at least reduce the amount you are smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight – this is a combination of many factors including diet and exercise of course (more tips on these below)
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation – one standard drink per day is an awesome goal
- Minimise stress – easier said than done but good to know that stress can launch an assault on your immune system if allowed to get out of control
- So now you’re ready to check our Healthy Life Hacks that will help boost your immunity.
1. Stock up your Healthy Life Winter Wellness Home toolkit:
Before coughs, colds and general winter ills start to take hold, use the following guide to stock your cupboards with everything you’ll need.
Olive leaf extract
Historically, the olive tree has been referred to as the “tree of life”, as the leaves and fruit contain plant phenols that have healing and medicinal properties. In more recent years, olive leaf extract has become a popular multi use tonic.
According to manufacturers, olive leaf extract has 400% more antioxidant power than vitamin C. Research has also suggested benefits in; enhancing immunity (due to antibacterial and antifungal action), in fever relief and in cardiovascular health.
Zinc is an essential nutrient required for good health, as it is involved in cell growth and function. Deficiencies may cause growth retardation in children, immune deficiency, as well as problems relating to skin and mood. Some studies suggest that the use of zinc can have benefits in childhood diarrhoea, chronic hepatitis C, adult shingles, tuberculosis, pneumonia, respiratory tract infections and the common cold.
For thousands of years garlic has been used for its powerful medicinal properties. Garlic contains a powerful compound known as Allicin. Studies have shown garlic has anti-microbial properties (antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic). Keep a stock of organic garlic in a cool, dark place and use liberally wherever a recipe calls for garlic.
Most people have either heard or know that vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) offers assistance to the immune system. Public perception is that oranges and citrus fruit are the best choice in obtaining vitamin C, where in fact kiwi fruit, capsicum, garlic, olive leaf extract, berries; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and guava actually contain greater amounts of vitamin C per gram.
We think that sounds like the perfect excuse to keep a large jug of water filled with all sorts of berries. Fill a jug with either chilled filtered water or chilled sparkling water straight from your Zip HydroTap and it’s ready in seconds. Leave some glasses beside the jug and have the family grab a glass of water, fruit and all, every time they walk past.
Probiotics or “microflora‟ aid the body by maintaining balance between the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system. With the polluted environment we live in and with the regular antibiotic therapy that is administered, “unhealthy‟ or pathogenic bacteria often proliferate in the gut.
Look for a probiotic supplement that suits your family and then create a morning ritual where everyone has a big glass of water with their probiotic. Even better, look for a probiotic that can be stirred into water … so easy!
Since ancient times, honey has been an important part of traditional medicine, and in more recent times, used by hospitals for wound healing with impressive results. The propolis and royal jelly feature of honey has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti- oxidant, immuno-modulatory, hypotensive, disinfectant, anti-inflammatory and anti- viral effects.
Look for organic honey that is as close to the source as possible then make a hot lemon and honey tea a regular tonic – rather than waiting until someone in the family is feeling unwell.
Echinacea is an indigenous North America plant, which produces a flower with known medicinal properties. Echinacea is most commonly used in Europe, Australia and America for common colds, flu, and other infections. Various studies have shown that Echinacea preparations (liquid, tablets and capsules) shorten the duration and or decrease the severity of symptoms associated with common colds.
Vitamin B complex
In nature, there are eight vitamins which make up the B-complex. These are all essential for metabolic processes that include: energy production, red blood cell synthesis/ formation, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, brain function and development, immune function and hormone activity. Of all the 8 B-vitamins, vitamin B6 and B12 are especially implicated in immunity and infection susceptibility.
If you are experiencing recurrent colds and infections, it is possible that you may have a vitamin B deficiency that needs to be explored by your healthcare provider.
If your GP advises you include a Vitamin B supplement, make it a part of your morning ritual. A big glass of water (add a squeeze of lemon juice) along with your supplements.
Read a full article on Fighting Winter Colds and Sniffles Naturally for more detail.
2. Stay as active as possible
Regular exercise is one of the main pillars of a healthy life. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight and protects against a variety of diseases.
Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore a healthy immune system. According to Harvard Health Publishing, exercise may contribute even more directly to immunity by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
3. Stay Well Hydrated
Michele Chevalley Hedge from A Healthy View advises that optimal hydration is one of the best things we can do to support our entire system.
Without proper hydration, we tend to get hungrier, experience more frequent headaches, have unhealthy skin, suffer from constipation and possibly compromise our immune system.
If you are tired of plain old water, go for some sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange. Why not try tossing in some pomegranate seeds into your sparkling – lucky taste buds!
Hot teas are also very nourishing. Just the thought of holding a warm cup of tea on a cool day makes most of us smile and feel comforted. Try some green tea for its thermogenic and health-promoting flavonoid, liquorice tea for its blood sugar stabilising, or some cinnamon tea for its warming effect.
If anyone at home is feeling a little off, dive into your toolkit and add a teaspoon of honey to some lemon slices, a slice of fresh ginger and top up with boiling water. Allow to cool a little then sit in the sunshine out of the wind and sip.
Each of our suggestions above are so convenient when you have a Zip HydroTap installed in your kitchen. Not only does it eliminate clutter, the sleek design takes your kitchen to the next level! A Zip HydroTap delivers filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling water at the press of a button. So convenient and guaranteed to get everyone drinking far more water than they normally would.
4. Ensure everyone is getting enough sleep
One of the best things you can do for your immune system is to ensure you get enough sleep. Adequate rest is essential for both your physical and mental health and poor quality sleep will increase your susceptibility to colds.
A good rule of thumb for adults is to be in bed before 9.30pm with an aim to be going to sleep by 10.30pm at the latest. Say goodbye to all screens at least half an hour before you go to sleep. Better still, leave all screens out of the bedrooms for even better sleep.
For children, bring bedtimes forward depending on their age and insist on ‘no screens’ before bed.
5. Practice personal and home hygiene
It’s really important to teach healthy hygiene practices to your kids and reinforce these over and over again. Make sure you follow these too and make a point of letting your child see you maintain good hygiene so they can learn by example.
Washing hands regularly is a very effective way of getting rid of germs. Encourage your family to wash their hands with warm water and soap before meals and snacks, after the bathroom and when they come into the house from school, work or play.
Teach everyone the correct way to sneeze and cough, so they limit the spread of germs. Tell them to ideally sneeze into a tissue (and throw this away) or onto their sleeve in the crook of their elbow.
Keeping your home clean is important too. While we all know children need to build up their immunity by being exposed to a few germs, we don’t think coughs and colds season is the time to do it. Vacuum and mop at least once a week and keep a good quality general purpose surface spray on hand with clean cloths to wipe down the high traffic areas like the kitchen bench and bathroom vanities.
General immunity is just that; general. As we’ve outlined there are so many things we can do as Mums to support the immunity of our family. It’s never too late to start your journey to stronger immunity; we hope this list is a good start.
We’ve developed this guide as part of our Close to Home Special Feature which is proudly brought to you by Zip Water. We love that you can have pure tasting, filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling water at the oh so convenient touch of a button. De-clutter your kitchen, add a whole lot of style and say goodbye to buying water in plastic bottles. Whatever the water requirements on your list are, there’s a Zip HydroTap that can deliver. Check out the full range at www.zipwater.com today and experience the Zip difference.