With increasingly cold weather around the corner and more people sniffing on the daily commute this is a great time of year to focus on immunity. 80 percent of your entire immune system is located in your digestive tract so we’ll be concentrating on the gut and how we can support it in keeping us healthy this winter season.
Read on for our top flu-fighting tips to get you through winter!
Juices and Juice Cleanses
Following a juice cleanse can be a great way to give your gut (and therefore your immunity) a boost. Our gut will always prioritise digestion over repairing itself so drinking vegetable juices that are free of fibre gives your gut a break and allows it to restore.
We love Imbibery juice cleanses – these cold-pressed organic juices can be delivered to your home or desk for a 1-3 day cleanse. If you already have a juicer then make an extra effort to include low-sugar, green juices in your diet.
Probiotics are a staple for good gut health and strong immunity as they work by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in your large intestine. If you have dwindled in taking a probiotic supplement then now is the time to get back on the case!
H&H Content Editor, Molly swears by Symprove – a liquid formulation containing four strains of live and active bacteria. The 12 week programme is designed to up the number of good bacteria in your gut and is a simple addition to your daily routine.
If you prefer a quick fix, we also highly recommend the high-potency Elixa Probiotic. This 6-day programme provides your gut with half a trillion good bacteria in each dose and can be taken as a preventative measure or to support your body during recovery if you do succumb to a bug.
Fermented foods are wonderful for increasing the number of good bacteria in your large intestine. Including these in your diet is an easy way to increase immunity and get the good guys occupying as much space as possible so that foreign bodies have nowhere to latch on to your gut lining.
Try Laurie’s Beet Kraut for something a bit different to the traditional cabbage sauerkraut. Another H&H favourite is the raw coconut and sauerkraut pots by Rhythm. These delicious snacks are perfect for a mid-afternoon indulgence or even as a dessert. You can find these little pots in most Wholefoods!
We can use supplements to support our immunity to the pathogens flying around. A mixture of herbs, vitamins, minerals and probiotics can all contribute to a healthy you. For prevention, try a high quality Vitamin C powder and a good multivitamin. At H&H we are embracing the 2016 turmeric trend and are never far away from a cup of Pukka’s Turmeric Gold tea or the Wholistic Turmeric tablets.
Wellness Formula is another super complex that helps support your body’s immune functions, especially when you can feel that cold coming on or a flu-ey headache indicating more to come.
We all know that we are what we eat. Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables and natural wholefoods helps keep your gut in check and our blood replenished with immune-supporting cells.
There are also some foods that are particularly good at supporting the effectiveness of probiotics and the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Enter prebiotics. These wonder-foods provide fuel for the probiotics and bacteria that build our immunity. Prebiotic foods include onion, garlic, leek, asparagus and dandelion root. You probably have most of these in your diet already but the key is to eat them raw. Try adding raw garlic to salad dressings, or making homemade hummus to have as a snack. Pop some finely shredded leek into your salad or sprinkle finely chopped asparagus on a soup.
When we are stressed, the hormone corticosteroid is released. This is bad news for our immune system as it lowers the number of white blood cells (the good guys who fight infections) in our body. With the run up to Christmas (yes, it’s not that far away!) and often a greater workload after the July-August lull, it can be a busy time of year.
Make sure to take time out to rest and relax. Think hot baths with Epsom Salts, reading your favourite book in a cosy jumper and scheduling in that yoga class you keep meaning to do. Most stresses in life are down to our perception of a situation, so keep your cool by practicing deep breathing and ask yourself if things are really as stressful as they seem.
Finally…if you do get sick
Drink plenty of water, stick to natural wholefoods and be kind to yourself. You could also try drinking a small cup of bone broth before each meal. Bone broth contains an incredible array of minerals and other nutrients that can be readily used by the body to heal and restore function and boost immunity. We highly recommend ordering online from Osius, The Bone Broth Company. The broth is homemade in Herefordshire from organic bones and arrives frozen ready for you to heat up – the perfect solution if you don’t feel like standing over the hob to make it!
Wishing you all a healthy end to the year.