Whether you love it or hate it, there is no escaping the realities of winter. Cooler temperatures, increased rainfall and a lack of sunshine all mean an increased risk of getting sick. If you feel like your immune system could do with a bit of a hand, we've compiled a list of natural immune supporting strategies that should help you make it through the cooler months healthy and happy.
1. Increase your intake of vitamin C.
Upping your vitamin C intake is one of the simplest and most effective ways to ward off any nasty viruses that may be floating around this winter. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to strengthen cell walls and protect them from any infectious agents you might come into contact with. In order to support your immune system, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends increasing your vitamin C intake to around 200-400mg per day and to keep this up daily as vitamin C cannot be stored in the body. Camu Camu is an excellent superfood to eat more of during winter due to its incredibly high vitamin C content. Other foods high in vitamin C include blackcurrants, citrus fruits and kiwifruit.
2. Eat zinc-rich foods.
Along with vitamin C, zinc is another crucial nutrient your body needs to help keep you well this winter. Zinc helps to ward off infectious bugs by ensuring our immune cells can work properly and has been shown to reduce the risk, severity and duration of colds and flus. Zinc rich foods include seafood, especially oysters and mussels, meat, poultry, chickpeas, lentils, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
3. Eat more seaweed.
This recommendation may come as a surprise but the health benefits of seaweed are nothing short of amazing. Certain seaweed species contain a starch-like molecule called Fucoidan which has been shown in many studies to have immune supporting properties. Foods to eat more of include wakame, kombu and mekabu or you could try our sustainably harvested Organic Wakame and Mekabu Seaweed Powder or Immune Defence Capsules.
4. Consume foods rich in pre and probiotics.
Having a healthy balance of gut bacteria is another important step in supporting your immune system. These good microorganisms help us fight off harmful viruses and bacteria which is why we should be eating pre and probiotic foods every day. Good sources of prebiotics include vegetables such as onion, garlic and artichoke as well as fruit (especially the skin). Probiotic rich foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yoghurt and miso.
5. Eat more antioxidant rich foods.
Antioxidants are amazing free radical scavenging molecules and are very important for general health and wellbeing. During the winter months, our immune system is in overdrive as it fights off all the nasty bugs going around, however, this can create even more free radicals which is why our need for antioxidant-rich foods in winter can increase. Foods rich in antioxidants include herbs and spices such as turmeric and cinnamon, dark purple or red berries especially Acai and Maqui, dark leafy greens and other brightly coloured fresh fruit and vegetables.
We hope these tips help you keep fighting fit this winter.
You can also click here to see our whole range of immune supporting superfood products.