We all know the feeling. You’ve got that vague sore spot in the back of your throat, a nagging cough, or the sniffles that just won’t quit. It seems inevitable that you’re going to get sick. But there are ways that you can naturally boost your immunity to prevent or even reduce the duration of your illness. Let’s look at a few of my favourites.
Get some sunshine
Over winter, it’s easy to miss out on sunlight exposure because we’re tucked away in the warm. But we need sun more in winter than any other time of year. It’s your number one source of vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient for immune function.
Try to get out in the daylight at lunchtime for at least 10 minutes. Expose as much skin as you can when you’re outside. If you can’t get your dose of vitamin D from the sun, you might want to see a practitioner who can prescribe a therapeutic supplement.
It’s easy to forget to drink water, especially when you’re feeling cold. But we actually need water to protect us from the sneaky bugs that enter our respiratory tract.
So instead of chugging cold water and making yourself chilly, find a herbal tea you like. A caffeine-free herbal tea is ideal, as you can drink it throughout the day.
Exercise is vital for a happy immune system, as the body needs movement for the lymphatic system to work properly. It also supports the function of the gut.
Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym. Even a walk around the block every day or a relaxing yoga class can support your immune health.
Love your gut
What does your digestive tract have to do with a cold? I’m glad you asked. A little-known fact is that around 70-80% of your immune system is actually found inside your digestive tract. So if you want to boost your immunity, you need to nourish your gut.
If you’re under the weather, stock up on your favourite fermented foods and make a big pot of broth.
Switch comfort foods for healthy alternatives
You might want to load up on the comfort carbs when you’re feeling cold or sick. But these foods can feed bad bacteria in the gut and suppress immunity. So what can you do instead?
There are plenty of healthier options out there for comfort carbs. Make yourself fried ‘rice’ using quinoa or cauliflower rice, or cook up some buckwheat pasta. These options have more fibre and vitamins, which means a healthy gut and immune system.
It’s essential to fill up on the nutrients that your body needs for immunity, including zinc, vitamin C and antioxidants. But the easiest way to make sure you get all of these is to opt for wholefoods.
High-quality proteins, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices should make up the bulk of your diet, especially when you’re under the weather. If you’re not hungry, sip on some bone broth and herbal teas to keep you warm and support your immune system.
Want a personalised plan for boosting your immunity and kicking colds to the kerb? Dr. Rebecca Farthing (osteopath & naturopath) can tailor an immunity plan just for you.