I love Winter because of the Christmas festivities however returning back to the reality of work in the New Year can be such a bleak time for some. Our bodies are getting over the copious amounts of food and drink we've been consuming. I used to get colds on a regular basis – before I knew what I know now. I’ve been feeling pretty sluggish over the last couple of weeks, so I’m really concentrating on getting myself energised for this next stint of colder weather. Here are 7 of my favourite ways to boost your immune system this autumn:
1. Pop Pukka turmeric capsules
It’s time to get some turmeric into your life! Turmeric has been used in India for 5000 years, which is likely why the population has the lowest rate of Alzheimer’s disease in the world. Turmeric is an amazing anti-inflammatory that helps soothe arthritis and other aches and pains, such as frozen shoulders and menstrual cramping. It is anti-cancer, fights age-related diseases and protects the brain. It also cleanses the blood and promotes healthy skin.
I’m a huge fan of Pukka so you can imagine my excitement when I spotted their turmeric supplements on the shelves. They make is so easy to swallow this vibrant yellow root and its antioxidants in one gulp – superb!
2. Get your most vital vitamin
One of the most undervalued nutrients is vitamin D. We tend to think we’re getting enough if the sun’s beating down on our faces during a quick dash outside on our lunch break in the warmer months. If only that were true. If you’re fair-skinned, you’ll need 45 minutes of exposure a week, and if you’re dark-skinned, you may require up to three hours a week to maintain sufficient levels of this vital vitamin. Vitamin D prevents many types of cancers, as well as depression, osteoporosis and diabetes.
3. Absorb some magnesium
Many of us are magnesium deficient, which causes fatigue and bad sleeping patterns. Refined sugar also causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. If you’re very stressed and anxious, it could be a symptom of magnesium deficiency.
I use BetterYou Magnesium Oil Goodnight Spray, which I spray directly onto my skin before I go to bed. Start with just a few sprays at first if you’re not used to it and build on that.
4. Protect your gut!
Are you taking a probiotic? If not, it’s the season to start. Probiotics are important because they regulate the immune system and help our bodies increase the absorption of minerals. If you think about it, people always used to eat fermented foods. But then fridges were introduced and everything became more processed. Remember, the gut is the gateway to disease, so it’s our job to protect it. If your gut is strong, your immune system is also strong.
5. Get sweet and rooted
Eating sweet root vegetables at this time of year is really important. We all crave sweets, but we know sugar is one of the very worst things for our health. Luckily, root veggies and sweet veg (think of anything round – onions, celeriac, squash) are in season now. I love using the method of ‘crowding out’ to stave off my cravings – which means adding more sweet vegetables to help crowd out the processed, sugary foods in our diet. Sweet vegetables soothe the organs as well as the mind. Root vegetables are energetically grounding and comforting to eat.
6. Shelve the sugar
Processed sugar is pointless. The comforting sensation wears off a couple of minutes after devouring it, and you’re left with the sluggish sensation we all know too well. Sugar weakens the immune system, resulting in a weakened defense from infections. So, try to steer clear of processed sugar and stick to certain fruits to boost your immune system. If you feel a cold coming, eat some green leafy veggies like kale and spinach, as they contain vitamin E and are your friends when fending off colds and flu.
7. Listen to your body
I’ve saved the best until last, because out of everything I’ve learned, this is the most powerful piece of advice – something I remind myself of daily. It’s so simple, yet enormously important.
These days, we’re so demanding of our bodies. The body is an amazing bio-computer that we tend to take for granted. The heart never misses a beat. When we’re cold, we self-heat and maintain that heat. When the lights go out our eyes adjust to let more in. And our lungs never stop pumping.
Have you ever just stopped, put a hand on your belly and listened to your body? Do you ever stop to take a minute and thank your body for all that it does? How does it feel? What is your breathing like? Do you feel pain in places? Heaviness in others? Connect and tune-in with your body. Choose the foods your body thrives on – foods that make you feel energized. Nourish your body; it will pay you back.