As the seasons change it’s common for colds and flu to do the rounds, so to support you, Ben Warren at BePure has compiled a list of tools for parents to use to stay well and build your immunity.
Increase your vitamin C intake
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient. Vitamin C - also known as ascorbic acid - is important for fighting infections. Iworks as an antioxidant to protect our bodies from damage, is involved in the growth of our bones, tendons, ligaments and skin and helps us absorb other essential nutrients, such as iron, better.
Where can you find vitamin C in food?
Fresh fruits and vegetables are our best sources of vitamin C, which help to strengthen our immune system and keep our body healthy. Great food sources of vitamin C include berries, citrus, kiwi fruit, capsicum, and dark leafy green vegetables.
Eat nutrient-rich whole foods
The first thing to ensure is you are eating nutrient-rich whole foods that give you stable blood sugar levels and promote vitality and health. This is key to obtaining - and absorbing - as many essential nutrients as possible to support your body through winter.
At BePure our philosophy focuses on eating nutrient dense whole foods that support your health, while reducing inflammation and illness. This means eating an abundance of fresh seasonal vegetables, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, meat, soaked gluten free whole grains and legumes while avoiding gluten, refined grains, refined sugars and highly processed vegetable oils.
According to the Sleep Foundation a recent study found a direct link between lack of quality sleep and compromised immunity. In summary, if you aren’t sleeping well, you’re more likely to get sick.
The study found that severe sleep loss jolts the immune system into action, reflecting the same type of immediate response shown during exposure to stress.
This means our body has to use vital nutrients to repair ourselves from the lack of sleep, instead of fighting foreign bugs.
Our bodies need time to unwind and repair the damages of the day. Establish a bedtime routine where you go to bed before 10pm each night. In the depth of winter, you can bring this bedtime forward. Switch off the technology at least an hour before going to bed to help your mind unwind.
If you struggle with sleep, test to see if you have a zinc deficiency. Zinc is a key nutrient that helps with sleep. You could also try meditation, chamomile tea, putting your legs up the wall in a resting position for ten minutes or gentle stretching.
Our body is made up of 60% water, so making sure that you are getting optimal amounts of water is essential for feeling good with optimal health and energy.
Water transports nutrients throughout the body, aids in digestion, regulates temperature, facilitates all pathways of detoxification, protects our joints, promotes healthy bowel movements, improves mental concentration and relieves fatigue.
All important for keeping your body flushed of toxins and healthy during the winter months.
How much water should you be drinking? This should be calculated according to your weight. To work this out the formula is:
0.033 litres per kg of body weight, which roughly equates to the following amounts:
- 60 kg = 2 litres
- 75 kg = 2.5 litres
- 90 kg= 3 litres
- 105 kg = 3.5 litres
Stress initiates coping responses in us. In ancestral times we would simply sleep more. Now, we reach for stimulants to prop up our cortisol or sugar levels - caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar or grains. Consuming these things occasionally is not a problem. But all these things place a load on our liver and affect our ability to store and absorb nutrients from our food which then impacts our immunity.
The harder you push your body and mind, the more stress you are under, the more vitamins and minerals your body uses. In times of stress, your body uses more B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc - just to name a few.
When it comes to diet and lifestyle there are a few key things to consider to reduce your stress levels and increase your immunity;
- Try to maintain balanced blood sugar levels by eating a diet that is right for you and your unique body. This includes the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Check the BePure website and take the BePure Macronutrient Profile Test to find out your optimal ratio.
- Set yourself up with a calming morning routine to ground you for the day.
- Activate your rest and digestive nervous system before bed. Some ideas are diaphragmatic breathing or putting your legs up the wall.
- Reduce your intake of coffee. If you have any at all, aim for 1 cup per day before midday.
- In times of chronic stress, I recommend taking vitamin C to help support recovery along with a quality multivitamin.
- Use calming essential oils and herbal teas such as lavender, chamomile, passionflower and oatstraw. These all help to promote sleep.
This is a guest blog by Ben Warren.
Ben Warren is a leading Clinical Nutritionist and Clinical Director of scientific, holistic health company Be Pure.