'Tis the season to be healthy

Just over 4 weeks to Christmas and so much to do, card writing, present buying, menus to plan etc and all this on top of everything you usually do.  The last thing you need is to come down with a bad cold or worse flu.  Shopping malls etc are so crowded at this time of year, viruses have the potential to spread like wildfire.  But there are measures you can take to minimise your risk.  Firstly you need to boost your immunity so that viruses cannot take hold.  Below are some ways you can boost immunity through your diet.

  • Eat fruits and vegetables which supply antioxidants, A, C and E. The precursors to vitamin A, carotenoids are found in yellow fruit and vegetables such as carrots, mango, peaches, yellow melons etc. Citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, peppers etc are especially rich in vitamin C.  Avocados, squash, and broccoli supply vitamin E. These vitamins fight free radicals which suppress immunity
  • Avoid saturated fat in red meat, full fat dairy etc which creates toxins in the body which deplete immunity.
  • Avoid sugar, white flour, white pasta, white rice, caffeine (tea, coffee, etc), which deplete the body of nutrients essential for an efficient immune system.  They may also contribute to inflammation in the body which can weaken the immune system.
  • Include whole grains, pulses (peas, lentils and chickpeas), beans, nuts and seeds and oily fish in the diet to supply the immune system with zinc and B vitamins needed in order to work efficiently.
  • Garlic added to casseroles, stews, soups or roasted is a decongestant and fights viruses.
  •  Drink plenty to flush out toxins which may impair immunity.  Warm water with sliced ginger and lemon boosts immunity
  • A probiotic supplement boosts immunity or eat live yogurt and prebiotics such as fermented vegetables (sauerkraut), bananas, oats, tofu, onions etc which encourage the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut.  These 'good' bacteria keep down the 'bad' bacteria, help produce antibodies to invading bacteria and viruses as well as helping in the production of B vitamins and the absorption of nutrients by the gut..
Here are some other ways boost your immunity
  • Keep washing your hands.  This simple measure is very effective at reducing the spread of viruses and one that doctors use.
  • Avoid stress which lowers immunity by reducing the white blood cell count.
  • Get your sleep
  • Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.  These lower immunity by using up nutrients vital to the immune system. 
  • Exercise - this could be because exercise lowers stress but research as to the link continues.
See also 'How yoga helps boost immunity'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/how-yoga-helps-boost-immunity.html

If you do succumb, you might want to try my favourite remedies for colds and flu (coming later this week).

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