A common question when winter approaches is: how can I boost my immune system? Illness and infection are one of the great fears when the seasons turn cold and gloomy. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid being exposed to all manner of viruses with work and other social gatherings; so how can we protect ourselves from this threat? There is the flu injection, which in my opinion is not always as helpful as it claims to be. There are other ways – natural and healthy ways to fight the onslaught of germs and give your immune system a boost.
- Take care of your Zinc intake. Most people look to Vitamin C first, but without Zinc even the vitamins are useless. Zinc is involved in the development and functioning of infection fighting white blood cells, and therefor necessary in building a solid immune system. Zinc can be found in lean red meat and seafood; and in lesser quantities found in nuts, wholegrain bread and some fortified cereals.
- The next step is making sure to get enough Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps protect the body’s cells against the damage from infections. If you consider taking a vitamin supplement you must remember that the human body can only absorb 30 – 180mg/day before the absorption rate starts deteriorating, and taking more than that in the hopes of quickly boosting you immunity will not work. Vitamin C can be found in fruits and vegetables. A good rule of thumb is, the brighter the fruit or vegetable – the more beneficial.
- Keep hydrated. We often forget that we need to drink fluids, especially during winter. In summer we have the heat to remind us – but the reality is we need just as much hydration in winter. Drinking water is always recommended, try some hot water and lemon. Or if you really can’t bear water, drink fruit juice. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that coffee or hot chocolate will boost your immune system; but tea can help – especially the proudly South African rooibos.
- Also keep exercising. Don’t specially join a gym, just for the winter – especially if you are not going to go. Just try to be more active. Take the stairs; play with your dogs or children; if you can, do some simple stretches before going to bed and the stretches might even help you sleep better. Follow this link to get some great before bedtime stretches: Fitness Magazine
- Finally, take a good multi-vitamin. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a good multi-vitamin for daily use. Make sure that the ones you choose are comprehensive and also that they suit your needs. Remember that there are brands where you need to take tablets 1 a day, and also brands where it is twice a day – so read the instructions carefully.
So, give your immune system a great boost by following these five easy tips; and be glad you decided to go with the natural choice.