The festive season is upon us, meaning a change in weather, more alcohol and later nights. Now is the time to start building up our defences so we don’t come crashing down with a cold or flu come NYE. Below are some tips on ways to boost your immunity from Lucy Jones. Plus there’s a sneak peek into the Self-Defence Breakfast we held last week celebrating the launch of Kefir into Tesco. 

  1. Eat a range of vitamins with every meal to ensure you’re giving your body what it needs. Vitamins A and B can be found in a brightly coloured diet, including a range of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E has anti-oxidant properties, and can be added to meals by using nuts, seeds and olive oil.
  2. Zinc is powerful in boosting immunity and fighting colds, often reducing the length of illness. It can be taken as a supplement, or easily incorporated into diets by eating lean meat and fish, milks, nuts, seeds and beans.
  3. Friendly bacteria, found in probiotics, significantly reduces viruses and how long they last. Kefir contains high levels of probiotics and different strains, as well as being high in protein and vitamins.
  4. Staying hydrated is essential in maintaining health and fighting illness. Alcohol can suppress the immune system, so drinking plenty of water and monitoring alcohol consumption over the festive season is key.
  5. Food hygiene is often overlooked as part of staying healthy. Public places and transport harbour bacteria and can easily spread winter illnesses, so making sure you wash your hands before cooking and using hand sanitizer before eating can keep germs from spreading.
  6. Make sure you’re getting sufficient calories when following a healthy diet, and getting a range of different foods, which will all supply different nutrients. This is crucial for energy and mental performance.
  7. Overindulgence across the festive season is normal for many of us, but it can cause bloating, sleep disruption, worsening of IBS symptoms and impact energy levels. Enjoy your favourite festive foods in moderation, and be aware of how significantly larger portions of fatty and sugary foods might impact your digestion and mood.
  8. Adequate sleep, to complement a good diet, helps support the immune system and maintain necessary energy levels. Although many people can function well enough on little sleep, a minimum of seven hours is needed to keep you functioning at your best.
  9. Keeping active, alongside a healthy diet, can boost your immune system. However, extreme exercise can put increased pressure on your body and reduce immunity, making you more prone to illness. Make sure to adjust your diet according to your activity regime.
  10. Many foods are especially helpful in promoting good health. Oranges, for example, are a great source of Vitamin C, and garlic has antimicrobial properties which can reduce infection. People are often unaware of the nutrients of many foods and often buy into health myths, so it’s a good idea to eat a range of foods to benefit from all their properties.