If there’s one thing you don’t want to get this winter, it’s sick. A runny nose and even a cough can quickly turn into something more serious when our immune system tends to be weaker. While staying healthy can mean that you need to spend a bit more time (in the kitchen) and money (on healthy food and supplements), it can save you from paying exorbitant pharmacy and doctor’s bill. Not even mentioning time off from work!
These next two months we’ll take a closer look at what you can do to keep your mind and body healthy during winter and how Longiva Healthy Ageing Institute can help.
Firstly, let’s take a quick look at why we’re so susceptible to getting sick when it’s winter time.
There are a few reasons that contribute to this and when they join forces, they create the perfect environment that increases the likelihood of you falling ill.
- Dry air dries out the mucous membranes in your nose. The nose is the body’s natural air filter so when your nose is dry it makes the area more susceptible to viruses that it would otherwise expel. If your nose is runny or stuffy it can also force you to breathe through your mouth which can’t filter out bacteria and viruses.
- A poor diet can directly influence how susceptible we are to viruses and compromise our immune system. In winter we tend to reach for sweeter, creamier and more processed foods that we ‘feel’ are more comforting and we neglect fresh foods that are higher in essential nutrients that keep us healthy.
- We exercise less – because it’s cold. We get it, who wants to get up when it’s still dark and cold to exercise when you can stay in bed. Regular exercise is not only good for your waistline and heart but also for your immune system, so when you don’t keep exercising it can influence your immune system’s ability to fight back.
- We get more exposure to bacteria and viruses because we’re cooped up in closed-off warm rooms with more people than usual. Your chances of getting sick increases when you are surrounded by other people with compromised immune systems.
- Bad habits such as binge drinking and smoking also compromise your immune system and make you more susceptible to falling ill.
Now that we know, here are 10 (easy) things you can do to keep your immune system strong and healthy all year long:
- Drink plenty of fluids. “I know I struggle with this in winter but it’s important to continue with good hydration as the air is dryer in winter. Remember it doesn’t have to be only cold water, homemade soups and broths, as well as herbal teas with no added milk or sugar, also count towards your daily fluid intake,” explains Ezette Oosthuizen, registered dietician at Longiva.
- Keep up regular exercise even if this does mean taking a quick walk in your lunch-time or parking a further away from the grocery store entrance.
- Ezette also advises her patients to avoid refined foods and sugars as much as possible as it can have an immune suppressant effect.
- Stress and sleep both affect the immune system in a negative way. Try and reduce your stress levels and use this time to establish a good sleeping routine.
- Proteins are the building blocks of the body including your immune and detoxification systems. “Make sure you include clean protein from both animal and vegetable sources,” says Ezette. Eggs, lentils, chickpeas, green peas and quinoa are all good sources of protein if you don’t eat meat.
- Taking a supplement all year round can help keep you healthy and your immune system strong. Factors such as air-quality, lifestyle, stress and lack of sleep can necessitate a daily supplement. At Longiva we choose NADplus+ Complex for our patients. It combines 19 active ingredients that support healthy ageing, wellness and your immune system. The unique antioxidant ingredients assist in actively targeting free radicals, providing added protection against inflammation.
- Garlic, onions, ginger and spices like oregano and turmeric have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. “Try adding it to soups, vegetable dishes and stews to benefit from it,” suggest Ezette.
- Boost your immune system before you travel or experience a stressful period of time as these events can drain your body and compromise our immune systems, increasing your likelihood of contracting a virus. Our RESIST IV Treatment is specifically formulated with high doses of vital vitamins and minerals to build up reserves against future infections and decrease oxidative stress and inflammation.
- “Add multiple servings of colourful vegetables and fruit to your diet. Think leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts), reds, purples, oranges – all the colours of the rainbow is what I tell my patients.”
- Make sure your gut is functioning optimally as this is an integral part of your immune system. A healthy gut is a healthy body and mind. Fruits and veggies that are high in fibre along with fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, miso and pickles all help to keep your gut healthy.
Feeling run down? This month our LIMITED OFFER is bound to make you feel better: Book 3 RESIST IV Treatments and receive R250 OFF when you purchase your month supply of NADplus+ Complex from Longiva Healthy Ageing Institute.
As an extra bonus we’re also giving you one of Ezette’s delicious recipes for free:
GRANDMA’S CHICKEN SOUP
60ml extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 heaped tsp paprika
6-8 chicken thigh fillets
2 cups chopped green vegetables (eg pak choy,zucchini, spring onion, English spinach)
2 large mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp Tamari/soy sauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 litre chicken broth
2 thyme sprigs
Celtic sea salt and pepper to
Preheat the oven to 170C. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a flameproof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Leave in the casserole dish and set aside. Combine the spices on a plate and roll the chicken thighs in the spice mixture to cover. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, then transfer to the casserole dish with the onion and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients except the thyme and seasoning, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the thyme, reserving a little as a garnish, and salt. Transfer the casserole dish to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and tender. Allow to cool slightly, then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.
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