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How To Prepare Your Immune System For Winter

Every year when April comes around, we start to slow down, admire the foliage and start to think about Grandma’s comfort food, Netflix binge sessions under a blanket and hot chocolate because one thing we know for sure in April, is that Winter is not far away.

Winter truly is a magical time. Mother nature attempts to heal herself after her intense workout over Spring and Summer and the hemisphere lets out a collective sigh as we hunker down till the next Spring blossoms remind us to lose weight and get beach ready.

Unfortunately, winter is also synonymous with extreme cold, colds and flu and smaller irritations like dry skin (which might be a bigger problem than you think).  Winter conditions are prime conditions for illnesses like influenza, bronchitis, pneumonia and even the global pandemic we find ourselves in, also known as “The Virus Which Must Not Be Named (*cough* Rona *cough*).

While there are ways to safeguard yourself around illness around winter, like taking the flu shot, (no illness is ever 100% preventable), but the good news is you certainly can have a bag of tricks to help support your immune system, especially now, during a global pannekoek.

Here are a few things you can do this year, to boost your immune system and give your body a fighting chance this winter:

Vitamin D

No. Not the kind you pick up at the bar on your way out after a night of dancing. The vitamin supplement you get at the pharmacy.  Believe it or not people tend to get depressed during winter months, and here’s the kicker – they are not just being extra.  Studies have shown that in Winter months or in countries like England where the sun is not enjoyed as often as sunny South Africa, people tend to suffer from depression due to the lack of Vitamin D, which as we know we get indirectly from the sun as our bodies produce Vitamin D3 when exposed to UV Rays from the sun. This winter depression is often called S.A.D. or Seasonal Affect Disorder and comes from lack of exposure to the sun. So, since depression negatively affects your immune system, either commit to spending 20 minutes a day in the sun or get a good Vitamin D supplement.

Eat healthy

I’m sorry to tell you that your mom was right. In addition to Vitamin D, mentioned above, fruits and vegetables contain high levels of vitamins that assist your body to fight off infections and bacteria and leave you feeling good all round. If “rabbit food” really isn’t your thing, find a good multi-vitamin supplement from your pharmacist, although it should really be a last resort, or used in conjunction with a healthy eating plan.

Do NOT avoid old wives’ tales!

Yes, you read correctly. Do not dismiss those “silly” remedies that your grandma used to tell you about, some of them are amazing. Things like cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric. There is a reason these flavours are associated with winter seasons. Cinnamon and nutmeg have properties that not only boost your immune system but have other medicinal properties as well, such as cinnamon being said to help lower blood sugar levels, and if you have ever had a stye in your eye, you have heard an old lady tell you wash your eye out with borrie/turmeric. That is because it is a natural anti-inflammatory.  So bring those old spice bottles closer when you cook, it certainly won’t kill you.

Stay hydrated

This is really a no-brainer, or at least it should be.  Water helps to flush toxins from your body.  How do you know if you are drinking enough water? For the average person 6 – 8 glasses of water a day is sufficient. Some people need more, some need less. A rule of thumb is, your pee should be yellow, not orange. If your urine is persistently dark, you may want to see a doctor, just in case. And no…coffee doesn’t count. In fact it has the very opposite effect of drinking water. We are in a global Panini…don’t look for shortcuts.

Get it on

Now we have your attention. Many studies have shown that an orgasm, whether with a partner or achieved solo, not only releases endorphins and relieves stress, but has other health benefits including boosting your immune system.

Craig Stadler is a contributing writer for the Anova Health Institute, and these are his views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and its affiliates.

 

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