7 Steps to Winter Proofing Health

When the mercury drops, the dreaded common cold, flu and now COVID-19 tend to rear their ugly heads. So how can you prepare your body for the cooler months and keep yourself fighting fit throughout winter?

Try adding these seven winter-proofing tips to your lifestyle and give your immune system a boost.

1. Get more Vitamin D

Vitamin D is made in our skin following sunlight exposure and is also found in oily fish like salmon, eggs, mushrooms and fortified dairy. It is essential for keeping your immune system firing and helping to fit infections1. In winter, we are exposed to more infections and spend less time outside in the sun. It’s the time we need vitamin D the most, but most of us end up not getting enough. Help boost your vitamin D this winter by including a couple of serves of oily fish each week, adding mushrooms to pasta, risottos, soups and salads, and enjoying eggs at breakfast or as a snack. Kanguru’s Wellness Blend also contains Vitamin D. Be sure to get outside into the sun each day too.

2. Boost your antioxidant intake

Winter-proof your immune system by eating a diet high in antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E. Antioxidants work to protect cells from damage thereby keeping your immune system firing2. The best way to boost your antioxidant intake is by eating more plant-based foods. You’ll find vitamin A in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach and rockmelon, while berries, capsicum, oranges, tomatoes and Brussel sprouts are sources of vitamin C. Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, avocado, sunflower oil and peanuts.

3. Improve your mood with omega-3 fats

Omega-3 fatty acids like those found in salmon and tuna have been found to reduce the risk of depression and dementia and help improve mood3. Their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects are thought to promote healthier brain cells and reduce brain deterioration4. Just two serves of salmon a week will give you a good hit of omega-3 fats. For a delicious evening meal, try barbecued Atlantic salmon with dill risotto, green beans and asparagus.

4. Stay hydrated

It can be hard to stay hydrated in winter, particularly if you are constantly feeling cold and don’t get thirsty. In fact, research shows that in cold weather the body’s thirst response is diminished to enable the body to conserve heat and urine production is increased because our body thinks it doesn’t need to conserve water5. Staying hydrated supports the immune system by helping to fight off infection too. Carry a water bottle with you each day and aim to drink 2L of fluid.

5. Workout regularly

Daily exercise is a great way to protect your immune system this winter. Getting your body moving releases cytokines that help tune up your immune system so that it is better prepared to deal with an infection6. In other words, exercise helps your immune system respond faster and more effectively to infections. Any amount of exercise is better than nothing, but for the best immunity boost aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day.

6. Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is vital for a healthy functioning immune system. Studies show people who don’t get enough sleep or good quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus like the common cold7. A lack of sleep can also affect how quickly you recover if you do get sick. Sleep deprivation decreases the production of protective cytokines that help your immune system fight infection. To stay fighting fit, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Try to get into a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.

7. Manage your stress

Life today can be stressful, and while a little bit of stress can be a good thing, too much is bad for your health. Stress increases your cortisol levels which, particularly when the stress is chronic, weakens your immune system and your body’s ability to fight illnesses and infections. To help keep your health in check, take some ‘me’ time each day. As little as 15 minutes is all you need to help lower your stress. Just find an activity that works for you – it could be meditation, going for a walk, reading a book or taking a bath. The options are endless.

 References:

    1. Cantorna M, Rogers C and Arora J. Aligning the paradoxical role of vitamin D in gastrointestinal immunity. Trends Endocrinol Metab 2019;30(7):459-466.
    2. Puertollano M, Puertollano E et al. Dietary antioxidants: immunity and host defence. Curr Top Med Chem 2011;11(14):1752-1766.
    3. Li F, Liu X & Zhang D. Fish consumption and risk of depression: a meta-analysis. J Epidemiol Community Health 2016;70:299-304.
    4. Gomez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2008 Jul;9:568-578.
    5. Kenefick R, Hazzard M, Mahood N and Castellani J. Thirst sensations and AVP responses at rest and during exercise-cold exposure. Med Sci and Sports Exerc 2004;36(9):1528-1534.
    6. Nieman D and Wentz L. The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defence system. Journal of Sport and Health Science 2019;8(3):201-217
    7. Cohen S, Doyle W et al. Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Arch Intern Med 2009;169(1):62-67.
    8. Segerstrom S and Miller G. Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychol Bull 2004;130(4):601-630.

Kanguru contains a unique blends of core botanicals, balanced B Vitamins and minerals, natural caffeine, and no sugar.

All designed to support your body’s natural immunity, recovery and energy.

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