Boosting your immune system & other handy tips!
Here we are again, winter season. Where the 1st of June stops all healthy routines in their tracks and gives you a box of tissues, bed days, a never-ending cough and a blocked nose paired with a sexy nasal voice to really top it off. The weather in WA is hard to beat so safe to say us West Australians aren’t always well equipped for winter. Especially this year where we had such a beautiful month in May and then June hit, cold fronts hit, rain hit and of course the colds hit. If you’re a mum with a little one in day-care, chances are it’s going to be hard to avoid illness this season (trust me… I know!) but there are plenty of ways to set yourself up for the best chance of a healthy winter season.
Boosting your immune system is always something you should think about as Winter season approaches.
Let’s start with the basic foundations of a healthy lifestyle which also keeps your immune system in top form.
- Maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day.
- Get regular exercise to promote overall health and strengthen your immune system.
- Prioritize quality sleep and aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night.
- Minimize stress through relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy.
Winning the winter season is also about being vigilant with some good hygiene habits too. Such as:
- Maintaining good hygiene by washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizers and avoiding touching your face as much as you can.
- Maintain a clean environment by keeping regularly touch surfaces clean such as your kitchen bench, bathroom surfaces, doorknobs and light switches.
- Washing and changing your bed sheets regularly.
- And something we’re all pretty use to now – wear a mask if you really want to steer clear of sickness.
Of course, when we are talking about the Flu one of the biggest ways to avoid it is by getting vaccinated but there are always differing opinions on this. If you prefer not to get vaccinated, then its best to stay very vigilant with your hygiene for the best chances of avoiding sickness this season.
With all this said and done, it is very hard to stay on top of all of this amongst everything else in life. My little girl Bailey is in day-care so we are faced with new sicknesses every week and it’s very hard to keep your distance from your toddler, in fact it’s impossible.
I’ve also got my 6-month-old feeding once through the night so my sleep is constantly broken and juggling the two, exercise is still tough to keep consistent – so I get it. All these tips are great, but life gets in the way. We’ve already had round 2 of COVID in our household and another cold so I’m here tell you all this as someone who knows what I should be doing but also, very in tune with the reality of life and what’s achievable.
If you have been hit with sickness and struggling with getting yourself back on track, I wrote an article last year with some tips that got me through the hard times of peak sickness.
Have a read HERE as I still stand by these and have already put them into play this season!
One thing that is easy to add into our busy lives to help our immune system is supplements. Leave them on your kitchen bench so you see them every morning and chuck them down with breakfast each day. But we need to make sure we are taking the correct ones. When I was very unwell last year I saw a wonderful Naturopath Caroline Wallace, who works at Remedy in Mosman Park. She had some great advice on what supplements to focus on when Winter Season hits.
In addition to 7-9 hours sleep a night and a balanced diet, low in sugar and processed foods my favourite winter immune supports are Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea.
- Vitamin D helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, it is usually sourced from the sun, and with this cold cloudy weather it can be hard to get outside this is where a supplement can help.
- Vitamin C plays a role in controlling infections and is a powerful antioxidant. It is water soluble, and not well stored in the body so daily intake is beneficial.
- Zinc is an important mineral for the immune system, supporting the growth and function of immune cells and protecting the body from viruses and bacteria. Taking zinc at the first sign of a cold may help in reducing the severity.
- Finally, Echinacea is a herb commonly used to support the immune system. Taken at the first sign of cold or flu, or as a precaution, this herb may help to reduce symptoms and speed up recovery’
Now, in my opinion there is no greater cure for the common cold than good old Chicken soup. It’s been proven to shorten the life of a cold and even if it didn’t, I’d still make it. It’s the most comforting thing when sick. My Mum would always make her chicken soup when we were sick and up until I met my fiancé (who also makes a killer chicken soup) she would drop it around for me. (For context I got together with my fiancé only 5 years ago so my mum was dropping me chicken soup until I was 31. Once a mum, always a mum!)
I’ll leave you with this delicious recipe below as well as some great immune boosting recipes to add into your day too. Remember to stay hydrated and rest as much as possible when you sick and enjoy these nourishing recipes. These meals will not only provide comfort but also supply your body with the nutrients it needs to recover from a common cold.
Enjoy and stay healthy this winter!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 1 cup of barley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley for garnish
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
- Add cooked chicken and barely and cook till the barley is tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.
Ginger Turmeric Tea
- 2 cups water
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil.
- Add grated ginger and turmeric to the boiling water. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Strain the tea into a cup and stir in honey (if desired) and lemon juice.
- Sip the tea while it’s warm to soothe your throat and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Citrus Berry Smoothie
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- Ice cubes (optional)
- In a blender, combine orange juice, mixed berries, banana, Greek yogurt, and honey.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
- If desired, add a few ice cubes and blend again until chilled.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy this vitamin C-rich smoothie to boost your immune system.
Garlic Roasted Vegetables
- Assorted vegetables (broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, etc.), chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a bowl, toss the chopped vegetables with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the vegetables evenly on a baking sheet.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are tender and slightly browned.
- Serve the garlic roasted vegetables as a nutritious side dish to provide essential vitamins and minerals.