6 Ways to Support Immune Health Holistically

17 June 2019
lemon and ginger tea image

Winter is a challenging time of year in Melbourne. With our immune system fighting to keep us warm, less exposure to sunlight during the day and spending more time indoors, sickness and illness are common. Our philosophy involves optimising our diet and lifestyle to prevent disease and promote wellness. Our top tips on how to support immune health holistically in winter include:

  1. Eat warming foods - In winter, cold and raw foods are harder on our digestive system and require more energy for us to break down.  Homemade chicken and vegetable stews, crockpot meals, soups and broths are easier to digest in winter. They are also healing and soothing to the lining of the gut and can breakdown mucus that accompanies colds and flus. So as best you can, try to avoid eating cold and raw foods in winter.
  2. Consume foods high in vitamin C - Vitamin C enhances the functioning of the immune system by boosting the activity of your white blood cells (which protect you from invading pathogens and viruses). Studies have shown that Vitamin C can reduce the severity and duration of the common cold by 23%.  Foods high in Vitamin C include silverbeet, spinach, cabbage, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, capsicum, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Including these foods in your diet will help support your immune system.
  3. Eat good quality fats - As the weather gets colder, the barrier of our skin is compromised and becomes dry, chapped and cracked due to lack of moisture in the air, increased time spent in heating and taking hot showers. Oily foods rich in natural healthy fats such as tahini (sesame paste), avocado and oily fish (e.g. salmon) are ideal to help retain the natural oils in our skin and moisture in our bodies over the cooler months
  4. Drink plenty of fluids - Hydration is important during winter to help regulate body temperature and support to function of your cells, tissues and organs. Aim to drink at least 2 litres daily of water (room temperature or warm), organic herbal teas (such as our immune tea) and bone broths.
  5. Be mindful to look after yourself - Traditionally, winter is a time for slowing down, spending more time indoors, and taking time to rest and recover.  Mindfulness meditation and light exercise (yoga or walking) can help to reduce inflammation and support the functioning of the immune system.  Bodywork (e.g. massage, Shiatsu) can also help negate the immunosuppressant effects of stress thus supporting you during the colder winter months.  Prioritise caring for yourself this winter to support your immune health.
  6. Supplement with immune supporting herbs and nutrients -  Herbs such as Astragalus, Echinacea and Andrographis can enhance and modulate the functioning of your immune system by stimulating the activity of white blood cells and promote the production of antibodies to help your body fight infection. Certain nutrients are hard to get in winter (e.g. Vitamin D from sun exposure) so supplementation may be required. Consult with one of our experienced practitioners to find out what herbs and nutrients will best support you this winter.

To have a tailored diet and lifestyle treatment plan for you this winter to maintain your health and wellbeing, book in with one of our Melbourne Naturopaths by calling us on 98940014.