Tis' the season to catch Flu over the festive season - Immune boosting tips to help prevent it happening to you

 

During the festive period it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement, planning and organising that comes along with Christmas and forget about your health. However, the last thing you want, especially after all the preparation, is to get poorly and be unable to enjoy the festivities!

Our experts share their top tips to support your immunity this merry season and beyond…

1. Boost your immunity with broccoli

“Although we think of fruit as being high in vitamin C, vegetables are often better sources. This is certainly true for broccoli, which can contain more than our RDA of vitamin C in just 100 grams (about one third of a head of broccoli). Broccoli also has anti-inflammatory properties and can support detoxification too, both of which can help us to stay well – or feel better faster. Because heat can destroy vitamin C, broccoli must be only lightly cooked to get the most benefits – steam it for no more than four minutes,” explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.

“Although we think of fruit as being high in vitamin C, vegetables are often better sources. This is certainly true for broccoli, which can contain more than our RDA of vitamin C in just 100 grams (about one third of a head of broccoli). Broccoli also has anti-inflammatory properties and can support detoxification too, both of which can help us to stay well – or feel better faster. Because heat can destroy vitamin C, broccoli must be only lightly cooked to get the most benefits – steam it for no more than four minutes,” explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.

“Although we think of fruit as being high in vitamin C, vegetables are often better sources. This is certainly true for broccoli, which can contain more than our RDA of vitamin C in just 100 grams (about one third of a head of broccoli). Broccoli also has anti-inflammatory properties and can support detoxification too, both of which can help us to stay well – or feel better faster. Because heat can destroy vitamin C, broccoli must be only lightly cooked to get the most benefits – steam it for no more than four minutes,” explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.

“Although we think of fruit as being high in vitamin C, vegetables are often better sources. This is certainly true for broccoli, which can contain more than our RDA of vitamin C in just 100 grams (about one third of a head of broccoli). Broccoli also has anti-inflammatory properties and can support detoxification too, both of which can help us to stay well – or feel better faster. Because heat can destroy vitamin C, broccoli must be only lightly cooked to get the most benefits – steam it for no more than four minutes,” explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.

“Although we think of fruit as being high in vitamin C, vegetables are often better sources. This is certainly true for broccoli, which can contain more than our RDA of vitamin C in just 100 grams (about one third of a head of broccoli). Broccoli also has anti-inflammatory properties and can support detoxification too, both of which can help us to stay well – or feel better faster. Because heat can destroy vitamin C, broccoli must be only lightly cooked to get the most benefits – steam it for no more than four minutes,” explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.

If you’re struggling to incorporate broccoli into your everyday diet, try adding the sense* for Gut Health superfood powder (£21.99, Boots), which contains this superfood as well as ginger root, coconut and rosemary, to not only support your immunity but digestion too!

2. Up your H2o!

“Your immune system relies on water. It carries nutrients to your cells, carries waste and toxins away from your cells and out of your body, keeps body temperature stable, protects joints and keeps the lining of your mouth hydrated and moist, reducing susceptibility to colds. Drinking plenty of water will also help your body deliver nutrients, flush out waste and dilute mucus, helping eliminate bacteria and viruses that can make you ill,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist (http://www.glenvillenutrition.com).

3. Don’t be overly cautious 

“We need some exposure to germs to actually build our immune system. Of course, we need to be sensible, with measures such as washing our hands fairly regularly – especially when exposed to germs, and avoiding spreading germs where we can. But avoid overusing anti-bacterial gels, wipes and sprays, as they can actually weaken your immune system and make you more prone to catching a bug when you are exposed to one,” explains Cassandra.

4. Up your heart rate

Exercise helps to reduce the impact of the stress hormones, which can make us more vulnerable to colds and flu. “Normally, when these hormones are released we are in ‘fight or flight’ mode and we are going to spring into action. So, when we are active this actually helps dissipate the stress hormones instead of them building up and causing havoc on the immune function,” explains Marilyn.

4.Opt out of winter bugs with omega 3

"Try to eat oily fish three times a week (sardines, anchovies, herring, salmon, mackerel). They are rich in Omega 3, which not only help reduce inflammation but also increase airflow and protect the lungs from colds and respiration infections. You can also go for a high quality supplement to make sure you get enough of Omega 3, such as NHP’s Omega 3 Support, made from pure wild deep sea fish oil (www.naturalhealthpractice.com, £29.77),” explains Marilyn.

5. Mix up the temperature of your shower

A simple way to boost your immunity is to change the temperature of the water to either hot or cold every two minutes in the shower. This works by increasing two types of white blood cells called Monocytes and Lymphocytes. The immune system is stimulated by your body trying to warm itself up from the cold water, while switching to hot water every now and then stimulates your body’s detoxification system. The fewer toxins we have in our body, the more your immune system is better able to deal with bacteria and viruses,” explains Cassandra.

 

7. Spruce up your cooking with garlic

“Add a touch of immune-boosting magic to your diet by using garlic. Garlic has been used for centuries and is known for its protective properties. Acting as a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, garlic boosts natural killer-cell activity and increases the efficiency of antibody production,’ explains Marilyn. 

8.The sunshine vitamin

“One of the signs for a vitamin D deficiency is that your immune function appears below par and the incidence of illness and infections are frequent, with recovery times being longer than normal,” explains Nutritionist, Alix Woods. To make sure you’re getting your daily dose of vitamin D, try sense* for Busy Lives superfood powder (£21.99, Boots) which also contains an array of vitamins and superfoods. These include baobab, which supports optimal energy release, as well as hemp that helps to decrease hormonal imbalances, to give your mood a boost. You can sprinkle this on your food, or add to your favourite smoothie, or simply mix with water.