With the festive fun in full swing, it’s easy to find ourselves rushing from Christmas parties to late night shopping and before we know it, were faced with something that’s defiantly not on the Christmas list; the common cold! Our immune cells work hard every day to tackle infection, and when we are able to support them, through promoting healthy lifestyle choices, they are more likely to continue working at their best. However with the combination of lower temperature, busyness and potentially some less nutritious choices, we can find ourselves more likely to feel rundown at this time of year.
So, how do we protect our immune function in the months ahead?
Our dietary choices can play a huge part in our immune health.
Working to include a combination of key vitamins including Vitamin C and Vitamin A can be a great place to start.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables such as peppers, kiwis, broccoli and citrus fruits.
Vitamin A deficiency has been associated with a weaker immune system and more potential for infection. Sources of Vitamin A include: carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale.
Adding these key vitamins to a well balanced diet, rich in whole foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables could be a beneficial step when working to maintain a well balanced immune system.
On the Menu: Check out our Thrive cold pressed juice. The combination of Vitamins A and C in this drink could work as a great addition to your diet, particularly in the winter months!
A healthy gut can contribute to a healthy functioning immune system as around 70% of our immune cells live along our gut lining. Healthy gut microbes train our immune system to respond to threats, working to support it to fight off potential diseases or illness that our bodies can pick up every day. Because the gut and the immune system are co-dependent it makes sense to make gut health more of a priority. Working to prioritise a variety of fibre rich, colourful food, eating slowly and mindfully and managing stress can all work as gut nourishing tools. When our gut is unable to function at its best, it is less able to support the functioning of our immune system, making it more likely for us to feel rundown.
On the Menu: The seasonal salads from our in house salad bar are filled with wholegrains and colourful fibre, and the gut nourishing benefits could have a beneficial impact on immune function.
Healthy lifestyle choices can contribute to a healthy functioning immune system, and one of the main areas we can focus on is our sleep. Lack of sleep can make it more difficult to fight infection. According to sleep specialist Matthew Walker; ‘getting 5 hours of sleep per night or less makes us around 4x more likely to catch a cold than getting 8 hours’! Developing a bedtime routine which helps you to wind down before bed and working to get a restful 8 hours could be a great way to support your immune system, alongside your overall health.
Disturbed or broken sleep could be down to a blood sugar dip throughout the night, therefore a small starchy snack before bed can be a good idea!
On the Menu: Some of the ingredients in our Strong smoothie could be beneficial before bed. The banana contains tryptophan, an amino acid which helps to increase the production of serotonin. Serotonin helps to produce melatonin, working to promote sleep. The Almonds are rich in magnesium – a nutrient which helps to relax muscles! What a bedtime snack!
When we are busy and stressed, it activates our sympathetic nervous system and our body goes into fight or flight mode for survival. When our body is working hard to get us out of stress zone, certain systems which we do not need urgently for survival become secondary and at times unable to function. Our immune system can be affected by busyness and stress. Think about when you’re running around at a busy period trying to get everything done; often once we finally rest, we begin to feel run down. In this case the stress has had an impact on the quality of our immune function. Taking a slower pace, not cramming too much on to the to do list and promoting relaxation and rest can be positive immune supporting activities.
On the Menu: Our Holy Cacao and Green Peace smoothies are both rich in magnesium, a mineral which helps to relax muscles and promote rest. The cacao in the Holy Cacao also has mood boosting properties – win win!
Believe it or not, regular time in nature can support our immune function. Trees and plants give off compounds called Phytoncides. When we breathe in these compounds our bodies produce more immune cells needed to fight infection!
On the Menu: grab a take away hot drink with a friend and go and have a walk in nature! Your immune cells will thank you for it!
Specific foods / nutrients
- Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms contain beta glucans, which are types of fibre found in the cells of certain foods, including fungi, which could help to fight inflammation and support the immune system. Hello The Garden’s Adaptogenic Brew!
Lemon, like many citrus fruits is rich in vitamin C working to support immune function. Try our alkalise juice, filled with lots of health benefits and an added squeeze of lemon too!
Ginger is a warming, anti-inflammatory spice which has been suggested to help relieve feelings of nausea. Grab a ginger shot next time you’re passing…down in one!
Curcumin, the compound in turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and could work to support the healthy functioning of our immune system. If you haven’t already, try our hot tonic; I am Well!
Garlic contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties – great for immune support. Find it in most of the dishes on our menu! Yum!
Here at the Garden we make seasonal changes to our menu to provide you with healthy options all year round! We are always mindful of the nutrients we include to ensure customers are getting the best chance of supporting their immune system and overall health. Our Winter menu is fast approaching – be sure to swing by and check it out soon.
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
The ‘Wellness with Anna’ philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health. Often, the tools needed to make a lasting change are already in your toolbox. I offer client led guidance in order to support the progress of an individual working to meet their personal wellness goals. I will not diagnose, treat or take responsibility for bringing about wellness change, but direct, listen and support development.
We work together on a journey to make health a main priority, both physically and mentally.