Sleep deprivation can directly affect the production of infection fighting antibodies and cells. Throughout the cooler months, ensure you are getting quality sleep every night; 8 hours is recommended for optimal body and brand functioning, while keeping your cortisol levels (i.e. stress levels) in check. The hormone cortisol can impact the body’s production of antigens, which are fighting off disease. Taking the time to do breathing exercises, or deep breathing daily will keep those stress levels down naturally. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and walking, are also gold for this!
Gut health and immunity are intricately linked, with over 80% of our immune system being found in our gut. Fibre and polyphenols are a fantastic way to encourage your internal systems to stay healthy; add 2-3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal to your porridge or smoothie, ensure you are eating wholegrains, nuts, and seeds daily, and supplement your diet with a gut health powder such as the Edible Beauty Gut Replenish, designed to balance gut bacteria and improve digestion, this food based powder provides an extra boost to support building your body’s ongoing resistance and immunity.
Those gorgeous golden rays promote immunity! If you aren’t getting your daily dose of vitamin D, whether through exercise, enjoying lunch outside, or your work commute, you can begin to feel not only a little sluggish, but a tad moody too. A low level of vitamin D can weaken your body’s natural defence system, therefore making you increasingly more susceptible to contracting a cold or flu.
Hot tip, you can still get sunburnt in winter. Make sure you are protecting your complexion, and apply SPF before exposing yourself to the sun. If it’s a natural formula you’re after, try the Basking Beauty Natural Sunscreen enriched with vitamin E and rosehip oil to further nourish your skin.
One of my favourite herbs for boosting immunity is andrographis. This herb has been given the status of a ‘herbal antibiotic’ and traditionally was used as an alternative to antibiotics. Taken in capsule or tablet form – warning, it can be quite bitter, so be prepared for a kick if adding to liquids or teas.
Garlic is a very traditional antimicrobial food/herb and whilst it can ward of friends (hello bad breath), as well as bacteria and germs, the presence of allicin is what provides it with such great immune boosting properties. You need to crush or slice garlic to receive these benefits, so I suggest creating a garlic oil dressing to add to your greens. Alternatively, if you’re brave enough, chop the cloves finely and literally gulp down 1-2 a daily – the most heroic way to boost your immune systems some might say.
The humble ginger root is also antimicrobial, and helps most in eliminating congestion. Its powerful anti-inflammatories will help keep the puffiness of colds at bay, with the silicon promoting healthy skin at the same time. Ginger, cinnamon, and orange juice are welcome additions to any diet, to support the body’s natural defence against cold and flu.
Stay squeaky clean
Ensuring that you are regularly washing your hands or using a hand sanitiser when water is not available, is crucial to keeping germs at bay. Regularly wiping down desks, benches, and surroundings is also critical. Tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender oils all have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which are able to fight and kill harmful bacteria. Add them to your oil diffuser, pop them in homemade cleaning products, and use diluted versions of them on your skin / pressure points as essential oils.
Treat your body and mind with kindness, nourishing yourself from the inside out, and following these effective lifestyle changes you can walk away from winter without a sniffle in sight.