Winter and getting sick. They go together like, well, a sneeze and a tissue. unfortunately, catching a sniffle is not just a minor inconvenience for many families with children who have special needs. Compromised immune systems, seizure disorders, and a myriad of other factors mean that one person’s cold could end up as a trip to hospital and a medical emergency for your child. Keeping them firmly ensconced in a bubble, while momentarily tempting, is not an ideal solution. really, it isn’t. So how can you prevent the dreaded lurgy from descending upon your family? and what is that dreaded lurgy, anyway?
Not actually getting sick
Obviously, prevention is better than cure. Most of the usual winter lurgies are caused by viruses, which means antibiotics won’t cure them, so you are left with trying to manage the symptoms and sleepless nights. How is it even possible that Wi-Fi exists and yet we can’t figure out how to cure the common cold?
Prevention means keeping on top of all the usual healthy living advice: eat plenty of healthy food (up the fruit and veg and cut down on the sugars and carbs); keep hydrated; get enough sleep; make time for exercise; and try to get outside and see the sunshine, if possible. We have some great tips from a naturopath on ways to keep your immune system as healthy as possible this winter.
Top 10 tips from a Naturopath to keep you healthy this winter
Staying healthy this winter doesn’t have to be difficult or take a lot of time. By following some simple tips and incorporating them into your daily life you can keep your immune system strong and skip the winter health blues.
1. Bone Broth
Good digestive health is imperative to a healthy immune system. Having bone broth daily will help to heal Leaky Gut Syndrome and will also protect your intestinal integrity. So use Bone Broth in your soups, stews, pasta sauces, risottos or anywhere else
2. Heal your gut
Your digestive system has a direct link to how our immune system performs. Make it a part of your daily health regime and incorporate a good quality probiotic daily and eat probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir (water or milk) and good quality yogurt. These help to maintain the bacterial balance within our digestive system which in turn keeps our immune system healthy.
Garlic is God’s gift to health and contains anti- bacterial and anti-microbial properties as well as reduces blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and is a natural anti-histamine. A little mix you can make up to keep those nasties away: gently warm 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds in 100ml of Apple Cider Vinegar (don’t boil), take if o the heat and add in about 10 peeled and crushed garlic cloves and mix through. Strain the mix, add 2 tablespoons of raw honey and use it as both a medicine and salad dressing.
4. Vitamin C
An old faithful and something you can easily get from both your diet (fresh fruits and vegetables) and as a supplement from any pharmacy or health food store. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, which is great not only for the immune system but also for our cardiovascular system and skin.
Zinc is one of those minerals that serves many purposes in our body and deficiencies can lead to poor immune function, neurological issues, leaky gut, hair loss, skin conditions, food allergies and diarrhoea just to name a few. Supplementing with Zinc can be done by increasing Zinc containing foods to the diet or using a commercial supplement. Foods high in Zinc include beef, baked beans (home made versions not those sugar filled commercially available varieties), cashews, egg yolks, ginger, herrings, liver, milk, lamb, oysters, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, wholegrains and yeast.
This could be a whole section in itself, as far as how effective the right herbs are to keeping us healthy this winter. Echinacea, Andrographis, Golden Seal and Olive Leaf are great all-round immune boosting herbs, as well as brilliant at supporting the body to perform its natural immune function by promoting an increase in your white blood cell count. Additionally, using herbs such as Yarrow, Elder and Peppermint combined as a hot infusion is fabulous as a remedy for colds and flu, too, as they have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal and a diaphoretic e ect on the body.
So simple, yet during the colder months something we often forget about. Water flushes out toxins from our body, supports the production of lymph, keeps our bowels working well (if we don’t drink enough water then we will often su er from constipation) plus it supports mood and concentration by keeping our brains hydrated.
A very important aspect of a healthy immune system is simple yet something we find so difficult. Like growing children, we need our sleep otherwise we’ll find our immune system becomes compromised and we become susceptible to illness. As adults we require eight hours of sleep per night to enable our body to produce hormones, proteins and chemicals to maintain a healthy immune system. Sleep deprivation leaves us more vulnerable to viruses and bacterial infections.
9. Manuka Honey
Manuka Honey contains strong anti-bacterial properties that have been found to be effective against digestive, skin and throat infections. When a sore throat hits a spoonful of honey doesn’t just make the medicine go down, it is the medicine. It can be used topically for skin infections, burns and blisters and is great to use on a daily basis just for health maintenance.
Fresh juices provide our bodies with a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep our immune systems healthy throughout the winter period. Combining ingredients such as kale, spinach, broccoli, beetroot, brussel sprouts, apples and berries provide the body with high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which keep our immune system healthy. Add in some ginger and garlic and you’ve really got yourself a winter warmer.
Sonia Tzerefos N.D
Naturopath, Western Herbalist, GAPS Practitioner Specialising in children, in areas such as Autism, ADD, ADHD, behavioural issues, digestive disorders and recurrent illness.
www.abetteryou.com.au [email protected]