The days are slowly getting shorter and we will soon find ourselves in the midst of winter, making it harder to escape the colds and flu going around. Here are a few of Evergreen’s top tips to support your immune health, and to help to keep colds and flu at bay.
The sunshine vitamin
A great place to start if you hope to keep both your and your family’s immune systems in tip-top shape is by supplementing vitamin D. The popular ‘sunshine vitamin’ is very important for proper immune function and is hard to come by in the winter months. The Vitamin D Council has stated low levels could be linked to the increased frequency of respiratory infections. When it is supplemented it has been seen to help reduce the severity and duration of chest infections. A study in University College Cork has shown that up to one in eight people in Ireland have a deficiency. The elderly, coeliacs, and those who study or work inside are most at risk. Vitamin D is available in a variety of potencies, with something suitable for every age range.
Bump up your meal’s nutritional value
When it is cold and wet outside, quite often we don’t want the chilled salads or ‘light’ meals which are so much more appealing in the warmer months. Instead we gravitate towards rich and hot foods, but this does not mean we need to compromise the nutritional levels. Porridge in the mornings can be given a nutrient make-over by adding omega rich chia or flax seed, chopped kiwi that is chock full of vitamin C, sweet and nutritionally dense goji berries, and drizzled with a delicious honey. Try to always include side salads with your hot meals, and maybe toss a little sauerkraut through these to get all the benefits of fermented foods, which are excellent at supporting your gut flora. We are learning that the bacteria in our digestive tracts can have a huge influence on our immune health, so if sauerkraut is not for you, consider replacing your usual cosy winter soups with delicious Japanese fermented miso soups which are rich in both flavour and benefits.
Preparation is vital
This time of year is called the cold and flu season for a reason. It is possible for those winter bugs to slip past our defences. In preparation for this happening, make sure you and your family are ready, so that your recovery can be as quick as possible. Double check your cupboards and medicine boxes. Ensure everything is in date and that you have enough of your preferred products to overcome any winter bugs. This could include all sorts of aids, ranging from your favourite essential oil to burn at home (like eucalyptus or thyme ), your tried and tested remedies to combat your symptoms (like echinacea, ivy thyme and manuka honey ), and maybe even some handy ingredients to throw together foods which are nutritious, comforting, and easy to prepare. Above all, if you do not feel in tip-top shape, stay at home and rest as much as you can.
To pick up what you need to prepare, and for even more tips and ideas on avoiding colds and the flu, visit Evergreen and have a chat with the trained and qualified staff in-store or shop online at evergeen.ie