Winter is coming and, especially with the cold and flu season, it’s important to know what we can do to keep a strong and balanced immune system. Here are five tips to keep you healthy during the colder months.

1. Boost your diet

  • Eating foods that are high in vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong, so include fruit and vegies such as lemons, kiwifruit, capsicum and broccoli in your weekly shop.
  • If you’re struggling to get the recommended two serves of fruit and five serves of veggies each day, try juicing them.
  • Ensure your diet also includes plenty of lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and use lots of herbs and spices.

2. Exercise regularly

  • It’s vital to keep your workout regimen up during winter, with a recent study showing that a moderate level of regular exercise has a long-term cumulative effect on immune response.
  • Study participants who went for a brisk walk several times a week reduced the number of sick days they took by about 40 per cent.
  • Regular aerobic exercise, five or more days a week for more than 20 minutes a day, rises above all other lifestyle factors in lowering sick days during the winter cold season.
  • But don’t go overboard. Overly strenuous exercise releases the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body, which can weaken the immune system.

3. Stay connected

  • Socialising helps strengthen your immune system by keeping you active and reducing your stress levels, so avoid the temptation to spend most of your time on the couch this winter.
  • Invite friends over for dinner or host a games night, visit local museums and art galleries, wrap up warm and go for a walk in the park with your family or plan a cinema date with your partner.

4. Scrub up

  • Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness as it limits the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. This is important during winter when we tend to cough and sneeze more frequently. Wet your hands and lather up with soap for 20 seconds to help dislodge germs and rinse well under running water.

5. Sleep well

  • Lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your immune system, making you more vulnerable to catching colds.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine, such as listening to soft music or soaking in a warm bath. Avoid watching TV or using your computer just before bedtime and turn the lights down low an hour before you turn in for the night, as it will boost the release of melatonin in the brain.
  • Also try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

Speak to our Pharmacists or Nutritionists if you need advice with selecting the most beneficial supplements for you. We want you to get well, feel well and stay well this winter.