It’s that time of year when everyone starts to get sick. Kids average six to eight colds a year and adults between two and four. Everyone has experienced the feeling of a tickle in their throat, a runny nose or the building up of mucus in their sinus cavities. This is our bodies sending us signals to slow down and rest! Now is the time to get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious foods and have plenty of fluids. It is vital to our health to make smart lifestyle choices and listen to our bodies. The choices we make affect our own immune system, the immune system of our families, as well as our general health and wellbeing.
Here are some tips to help boost your immunity this autumn and prevent colds and flus:
Tea and water
- Drink plenty of water however make sure to avoid cold (from fridge) drinks.
- Black tea, white tea and green tea contain antioxidants and polyphenols which contain anti inflammatory properties.
- Thyme tea helps sooth the throat and coughing as well as and relieving headaches. Thyme is an expectorant, which means it helps to shift the mucous build up in the chest. Use fresh thyme sprigs for each cup of tea.
- Hot water, lemon and manuka honey tea: The anti-bacterial honey, the alkalising lemon and the warming hot water make this the perfect combination to nourish, hydrate and flush out the flu.
Eat adequate protein
This can be obtained from animal sources such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy foods or from plant sources such as legumes and soy products including tempeh and tofu.
Keep in mind that excessive dairy foods may increase mucus production.
Chicken soup acts as a natural anti-biotic. Soups are highly nutritious but do not take lots of energy to digest, leaving more energy for the immune system to do its job. Cook up a big pot with chicken and bones. It’s the fat and the bones which contain anti-microbial properties, giving your body energy to heal. Add in lots of nourishing veggies: spinach, leek, kale, carrots, pumpkin, red capsicum, barley, parsley, thyme, garlic, ginger and a touch of chilli. .
Herbs and Spices
Have lots of onion and garlic for their antimicrobial activity. Ginger and chili are very warming foods and can be beneficial, particularly in the colder months.
Fruit and Vegetables
It is important to eat an array of fruits and vegetables in order gain the benefits of the variety of antioxidants present in these foods. Eat a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. This ensures that you get vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for a healthy immune system
Avoid Processed foods
Processed foods lack essential nutrients and an excess intake of these foods may exacerbate chronic inflammatory diseases and conditions such as colds and flus.
Pro inflammatory foods include: refined sugars and refined grains that have had the nutrients stripped.
Important immune enhancing nutrients
Make sure toinclude foods high in vitamin C (Kale, parsley, broccoli, papayas, lemon oranges, raspberries) and zinc (rye, oats, almonds, lima beans, split peas). A deficiency of these nutrients depletes the immune system and may lead to an increased incidence of and more severe infections.
Probiotics are bacteria that are found in the gut. They support a healthy digestive system and contribute to a reduction in inflammatory in the gastro intestinal tract. Probiotics also encourage efficient digestion of nutrients from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream.
Following these tips will help your body fight colds and flus, nourishing your body while it heals.
Marion Battig is a Nutritionist in Brisbane working from Vibe Natural Health in Bardon.
She is available for appointments to help you or your childs nutrition.
See www.vibenaturalhealth.com.au for more information or to book an appointment.