How to boost your immune system this winter: 10 tips to make a difference

How is winter usually for you?

Just another season, or the time of the year that you dread because you are too often unwell?

Every year doesn’t have to be the same. Here are 10 easy tips to implement that can make a huge difference this year:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in vitamins A, C and E (the antioxidant vitamins): kiwifruits, papaya, peppers, pineapple, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, spinach and sunflower seeds. Try to have them raw or slightly steamed as cooking kills vitamins.
  • Eat foods rich in selenium and zinc, the antioxidant minerals: Brazil nuts, tuna, shrimps, sardines, salmon, turkey, chicken, lamb, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, cashews and lentils.
  • Get your daily fix of vitamin D. Nothing beats natural sunshine, but in the UK you are unlikely to get enough during the winter unless you go on an exotic holiday. So the next best thing is vitamin D supplementation: look more specifically for vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 together, as they are more bioavailable to our body.
  • Don’t forget your omega-3 fatty acids, either as a fish oil supplement or as a food. Best are the SMASH fish: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herrings. Aim at a minimum of three weekly portions.
  • Add to your cooking as many kitchen herbs and spices as possible: they all are antimicrobials, but especially black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, rosemary, sage, turmeric, thyme.
  • Some other potent antimicrobial foods are garlic, ginger, horseradish, onion, lemon and Manuka honey.
  • Sleep enough. It is estimated that humans need seven to eight hours of daily sleep. It is all the more so important in winter that it is the time when the body repairs itself and fights infections.
  • Exercise and/or spend time outside. An excellent way to stay away from people who are unwell and spread their germs but also to strengthen your immune system. 
  • In case you caught a cough with mucus, stay away from dairy products and bananas, as they are two mucus-forming foods.
  • Fasting (or reducing your food intake to water and bone broth) is often a great way to let your body fighting an infection efficiently, as it won’t have to deal with digestion.

I wish you the very best of health this winter. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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