Quick Tips for Fighting Flu Season
We are fast approaching the “Sick season”. Colds, Flu, Fatigue; they’re sneaking up on us, waiting for an opportunity. One defence system compromised and BANG- they’ve got you, often taking several weeks to recover. Today I’m going to give you insight into the reasons we are sicker in winter, tips to boost your immune system and of course a delicious recipe which will kick start your immune system and help you stay fighting fit.
Why do we get sick in winter?
We are surrounded by bacteria and viruses (pathogens) all year round yet it is during winter that they seem to take over our bodies. Our immune systems just don’t seem to function as well in the winter time. But why?
During the winter months most people will move away from fresh fruit and salads as the staple diet and instead lean on stodgy comfort foods.
A decrease in sunlight leads to reduced Vitamin D levels which causes a drop in energy and immune function.
People also tend to exercise and generally move less – favouring warmth seeking and conserving energy.
Points 2 and 3 lead to a craving for stimulants such as coffee, sugary treats and alcohol. So not only have we removed the most powerful source of vitamins and minerals but also increased intake of depleting substances.
What can we do about it?
Take charge! Do not succumb to the idea that sickness is inevitable. Follow these few simple tips and you will find yourself healthy and fighting fit this winter:
Eat fruits and veggies of every colour: Every colour fruit and vegetable has their own unique healing properties. Eating just 6handfuls per day will boost immunity, and increase energy and metabolism. Try vegetable curries, warm vegetable salads, vegetable burritos, chunky soups or veggie salsa (see recipe below).
Maintain optimum zinc levels: Zinc is essential for the development and function of your white blood cells and antibodies. Want to check your zinc levels? Click here to book a 5minute zinc taste test.
Reduce sugars, caffeine, white flour, alcohol: all of which are very low in nutrients. Keep your energy up instead with exercise, vegetable juices, green tea, fresh foods and a good quality multivitamin.
Be sure to drink a minimum of 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Good hydration is essential for good health and circulation. If you find it hard to drink cold water in colder months, try herbal teas to increase your water intake. Green tea with Jasmine is my favourite.
Increase immune boosting foods: garlic, turmeric, lemons, ginger, chilli, tomatoes, cabbage, pineapple, green leafy vegetables. Each have powerful healing properties as they contain high amounts of essential nutrients.
Minimize stress: Stress hormones reduce the power of your immune system and cause a poor healing response. Take time out for yourself each day and practice relaxation techniques.
Exercise regularly: Regular, moderate exercise improves immune function as it boosts circulation to carry essential nutrients around the body, increases sweating and boosts your endorphin release. Aim for 30minutes exercise of some sort every day, yoga is perfect for enhancing the immune system while also reducing stress – double hit.
Get enough sleep: Your immune system does its repair and rebuilding while you are asleep at night and tired bodies crave sugar and caffeine.
Help others around you: Even if you take good care of yourself, there is only so long that your immune system can continue to fight when it is surrounded by sickness. Share this article and any other helpful information you come across, to your friends, family and colleagues. The healthier your circle is the healthier you are.
Now for the recipes
This immune boosting recipe incorporates several immune boosting foods in one dish. It’s simple to prepare and absolutely delicious. This can be used regularly to boost immunity or to treat a cold or flu– but most of all it tastes great. Use as a dip with fresh baked vegetable chips, sauce for chicken with fresh salad, spread thickly on a slice of toasted bread for a mid-morning snack or in a delicious home-made vegetable burrito.
3 Roma tomatoes
1 cup sugar snap peas
¼ head of red cabbage
¼ Lebanese cucumber
1 red capsicum
1 small red chili
1 small green chili
Extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp chopped mint
2 tsp chopped coriander
Chop all salad vegetables to chunky pieces and mix in a bowl. Finely chop garlic and add to mixture along with mint and coriander. Squeeze in the juice of lemon and lime and stir well. Drizzle 1 dessert spoon of extra virgin oil and finish with balsamic vinegar.
Tom Yum Tea
(think of it as a spicy watery soup)
1tsp apple cider vinegar,
1 chopped clove garlic,
1 tsp cayenne pepper,
1 tsp turmeric,
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp chopped coriander
Take all ingredients and add to a tea strainer or tea pot mixed with hot water. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes before drinking.
Easy Cure – Garlic Tea
While Tom Yum Tea is the most effective, if you are low in energy or ingredients this quick and easy cure will be the next best thing. Garlic tea is natures anti-biotic and can quickly bring down a fever. It’s pungent flavour can also help to clear the sinuses and sooth a sore throat but be sure to have a jug of water ready as it will make you thirsty.
Method: Take 1-2 cloves of garlic and chop roughly. Add to hot water and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes before serving.