With winter now upon us and a global pandemic dominating the news, it seems we are being bombarded with tips on how to boost our immune systems to better ward off winter viruses. From superfoods and supplements to cleansing juices, you’ve probably heard of most of them. But do they really work? And if not, what does? 

Diet & Supplements
A healthy diet rich in a wide variety of colourful fresh fruit, veggies & wholegrains is fundamental to supporting our immune system in fighting off a range of infections. No single “superfood” or vitamin supplement can replicate the benefits of the complex interaction of nutrients we get from eating a healthy variety of foods. Best to think of ways to add more fruit and veggies to each meal than taking a pill – more delicious too! 

Regular exercise is important for a well-functioning immune system and the good news is it doesn’t need to be strenuous. Just 150 minutes of movement a week is all it takes; that’s a 20 minute walk each day or a 30 minute walk most days. This can be incorporated into your everyday activities such as getting off the bus one stop earlier or taking the stairs instead of the lift. It’s a great way to relieve stress too which adds to the immune-boosting effects.

Chronic lack of sleep has been shown to suppress immune function and is very common in today’s 24/7 world. Most adults need around 7-8 hours each night; not staying up too late and keeping electronic devices out of the bedroom is a great start to getting a better night’s sleep.

The best and most scientifically backed way to help our immune system fight off infections is through immunisation. From influenza, pneumonia and chicken pox (just to name a few!) right through to Covid-19, immunisations offer the best protection against many of our nastiest bugs. Most of them work by prompting our own immune cells to produce antibodies so that when we are exposed to the germ, our bodies are able to mount a swift and effective response.

More information
To book an appointment for tailored advice on how you can best help your immune system this winter, including checking your immunisations are up to date, click here.

For more ideas on how to support your immune system this winter check out Nutrition Australia.

Photo by Javier Balseiro on Unsplash

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