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A Nutritionists Guide to Avoiding Colds + Flu

How lovely is it that we are in the middle of such a gorgeous warm autumn – reportedly the warmest on record!

But with the change of seasons we will see nasty little viruses appear. Now is the best time to really nourish your body with some great foods, lifestyle measures and perhaps supplements to build up nutrient stores ready for winter.

This change in weather can affect people in different ways; as we tend to spend more time indoors and in closer contact with people, we are more susceptible to the viruses that can lead to the common cold.

Here I will share with you some great nutrients that are the building blocks for a healthy immune system; where you can get them from your diet; as well as how to boost your health with some good quality supplements.

 Key immune boosting nutrients:

The following nutrients are key components of our diet when it comes to the health and function of the immune system. Our immune system needs lots of TLC and support for it to work in a harmonious state. There is no doubt a balanced immune system is a happy one.

  • Vitamin A & Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Probiotics
  • Zinc

Where do I get these?

  1. Vitamin A & beta-carotene – found in orange coloured veggies, such as carrots, sweet potato, papaya and of course oranges. Essential for the health of our mucus membranes in the body.
  2. Vitamin C – oranges, berries, capsicum, broccoli and kiwi fruits to name a few. A potent antioxidant as well as increasing cold & flu fighting white blood cells.
  3. Vitamin D – a great vitamin; it can be deficient in children in winter (due to lack of sun exposure or being in doors). Get outdoors on winter sunny days and enjoy eggs and oily fish. Vitamin D not only aids bone health but scientists now see its benefits in modulating the immune system defences.
  4. Probiotics and gut health – a healthy digestive system provides the basis for a good immune system. Did you know that 70% of our immune system is in the gut, so it pays to look after it! Enjoy natural full-fat yoghurts, kefir milk/ yoghurts and fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut and tempeh. If necessary take a high quality, broad-spectrum probiotic supplement.
  5. Zinc – just wonderful for the immune system, this mineral is a key player in the body’s immune response. Enjoy seafood, pumpkins seeds and organic meats.

Other important tips:

  • Try to avoid the unnecessary use of anti-biotics, excess sugar, stress, excess gluten and processed foods; all of which can alter the good bacteria in our gut biome. Remember antibiotics will only help when the infection is bacterial. Many colds and coughs are viral based.
  • Soup for the soul – it’s true, chicken, veggie or bone broths will heal. A great vessel for getting nutrients in. Bone broth has become popular of late and rightfully so; extremely full of nutrients that are great especially for the gut.
  • Get out in the great outdoors! Sunshine for extra vitamin D; viruses love indoors, that is where we are more at risk of catching the bug. Open the house and allow fresh air in when possible.
  • Avoid sugar – sugar feeds those nasty bugs and depletes the white blood cells that are the basis for a healthy immune system.
  • I also like to pop tea tree, peppermint and lavender oils in a diffuser and leave it to infuse the house; a great natural air purifier.
  • Rest & reboot – if time allows, restoring the body is a great way to heal.

Following these great tips is an effective way to get you and your family’s health ready for the season that many people can dread.

Be the boss of your immune system and thrive in the winter months!

Kim Holmes, Nutritionist from the Healthy Little B

Kim

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