We all know the basics of staying healthy, but unfortunately those winter colds manage to catch up with us sooner or later. We're aware of the old wives' tales, but there is some logic in following those go-to remedies that get passed down through the generations. My Nana used to swear by a mug of hot water with the juice of a whole lemon squeezed into it, along with two paracetamol tablets at the first sign of a cold (essentially a Lemsip)! But a hot drink and a boost of vitamin C is not bad advice at all.
Here are some of those go-to tips we think are worth listening to, for keeping your immune system in good shape as the winter nights start drawing in.
Wrap up warm
Although you can’t ‘catch a cold’ from being cold, your immune system will not thank you for not dressing warmly enough for the colder weather. We’re more susceptible to catching those winter bugs if we’re run down. This means that if our body is trying too hard to keep warm it might not be focused on keeping you healthy. It also slows down circulation, meaning that white blood cells might not spot any intruders fast enough to keep a cold at bay.
Keep those vitamin C levels topped up. Our bodies use vitamin C but can’t produce it, so it’s important to include it in your diet. Our Genie Live Sodas have over 70% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and you can also get it from a range of fruit and veggies such as: broccoli, red peppers, strawberries, kiwi fruit, oranges, and tomatoes.
Vitamin D supplements are also worth considering in the winter months, as we normally get this from the sunshine which doesn’t appear often enough in the UK during the winter! Ensuring you get a broad range of fruit and veg is the best way to get the vitamins our immune systems need to function properly.
Get enough sleep
Eight hours if you can. Sleep is essential for both our physical and mental health, and we need a decent amount every night in order for our bodies to get on with the general background maintenance work that needs doing to keep us fighting fit. If you have trouble sleeping - don’t worry, catch up when you can. Rest in general is vital, so even if you’re not able to drift off as quickly as you would like, rest up anyway.
Relax in the bath
Baths are underrated! They’re fantastic for getting your blood flowing, improving circulation, and reducing stress levels. Stress can lead to inflammation, which can compromise our immune systems. So make time for a warm bath and anything else that helps you to relax.
Look after your gut health
It’s all about the microbiome. Simply put, the quality of our gut microflora may effect our immune response in a positive or a negative way. Beneficial bacteria in the gut have the potential to reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system in a more anti-inflammatory way.
Inflammation is a crucial function which protects our bodies from harm. If our gut bacteria are not in good shape and we eat a largely processed diet, our immune system may shift out of balance and trigger inflammation we don’t want or need.
Keep your good gut bacteria levels up by including fermented food and drinks in your diet, like kombucha, kefir or kimchi, as well as probiotics. You can do this easily with a Genie kombuchas or with Genie Live Sodas, as we pack each one full of probiotic cultures.
Similarly to having a bath, exercise is great for improving circulation and for managing stress levels. With good circulation, white blood cells travel more freely around the body, and are more likely to spot any sort of problems or infections early and get to work fighting them off! From a 30-minute walk to a 5-mile run, as long as you don’t overdo it and cause any muscle injuries, it’s a great way to keep your immune system working at its best.