Our immune system is unique to each of us, but there are certain supplements that we can all take to help support immunity, especially through the winter months, and with all the virus variants circulating at the moment, our immune systems need all the help they can get! I take supplements all year round, but in winter I increase them to give my immune system an extra boost.
My supplements for immunity
My daily, all-year-round regime consists of a daily Live Bacteria probiotic capsule, a multivitamin/mineral tablet, and a small glass of heavily diluted fresh orange juice into which I add two 1,000 mg scoops of vitamin C powder, three drops of vitamin D3 + K2 equating to 1,000 ius of vitamin D, and a drop of vitamin A. On alternate days, together with the Live Bacteria probiotic capsule and multivitamin/mineral tablet, I will either take a Quercetin capsule or a Invivo anti-viral capsule.
If I feel as though I am coming down with a virus, I will get a glass and pop a Beechams powder in it, add the juice of half a lemon, two or three scoops of the vitamin C powder, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of Echinacea fluid extract and a teaspoon of elderberry syrup. I may also add some fresh orange juice and top up with glass with hot water. It makes a wonderful hot toddy.
I explain all about my supplement regime, and show all the above products, in this video.
How you can further boost your immune system over winter
If you find that you fall ill as soon as the temperature drops, sneezing and coughing your way through cold and flu season, it’s probably a sign that you need to work on bolstering your immune system. We all know people who seem to sail through the colder months, showing no signs of even a sniffle, so let’s take a closer look at some of the things that these people are probably doing to maintain their immune system and live healthily all year round.
Exercise is the single most important thing you can do to stay well and reduce time off work. Although scientists aren’t really sure why, research suggests that consistent exercise gives your immune system a boost. It might be that moderate heart-pumping workouts spark a rise in the germ-fighting cells in your body – or that they lower stress hormones that can dampen your body’s defences. Either way, get moving! Just 30-60 minutes a day of activity is enough.
If you can’t carve out a half-hour or longer block in your day, divvy your exercise up into shorter sessions – as long as each activity is at least 10 minutes, you’ll reap the benefits. However, if you are ill, don’t exercise. It will deplete your immune system more. You need to rest so that your immune system can heal you.
Consider your stress levels
Excessive, prolonged stress is detrimental to the immune system and will make you more prone to infections and disease in general. We can all suffer from overwhelm from time to time, so remember to take time out for yourself.
Mix up your meal plans
Fad diets won’t do your immune system any favours. It won’t serve you or your immune system to cut out entire food groups; instead, eat a wide variety of healthy foods. There’s not just one specific nutrient or food component that’s linked to staying healthy, instead it’s about synergy. If you are detoxing this January, be careful not to have too many cold juices/cold food. The body needs warmth/heat in winter. Eating hot food and drinking hot drinks is a bit like stoking a fire and will help keep your core warm. If your core gets cold, it may deplete your immune system.
I love my slow cooker in winter. It gets used several times a week. I make up hearty stews, soups and curries, using either beef with a good amount of fat, or chicken, and I add lots of veggies to it, as well as herbs and spices. I then serve it with extra vegetables, such as carrots, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower.
A few other dietary tips:
- If you are blood type O, you need lots of meaty stews such as the ones I mention above made in a slow cooker. But don’t neglect the veggies either! Aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as gingery stir-fried asparagus, roasted curry cauliflower, sautéed garlic spinach, fresh tomato salad, or grilled mushrooms. Fruits and vegetables play an important role as they are full of antioxidants that build up your immune system.
- Drink green tea. It may increase the number of an important type of immune cell, called regulatory T cells, according to one study.
- Take probiotics. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that stressed-out students who took these ‘friendly’ bacteria had fewer sick days than those who didn’t. Even if they did catch a bug, they recovered faster. You can read more here. You can get probiotics from foods like yoghurt, miso, kimchi and kefir, or take them in capsule form, which is what I have done for the past 30+ years.
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