Lifestyle

Winter is Coming

Prepare your immune system

OPINION

With the winter season upon us, and this year being significantly different from last year, it is important that we ready our immune systems for the potential barrage of cold and flu viruses that could be floating around.

by Adam Tafau I     18 May 2021

Raw Vegetables

Last year we were all locked up due to Covid-19, and we were probably the healthiest we could be in terms of not being exposed to cold and flu viruses.  This year will hit us a little differently and I am already seeing the full impact of friends and co-workers being taken down with colds etc.  We should prepare now as well as we can, given the fact that many countries are still fighting the impacts of Covid, and had to endure this during their winter seasons.  Here are some of my top tips to make sure you can prepare yourself and your family’s bodies to be able to fight the winter scaries.

 

EATING PLENTY OF FRUIT AND VEGGIES

Eating fruit and veggies doesn’t need to be super expensive.  Some of the best ways to still eat these foods are by buying seasonal – this means looking at the items that are the cheapest (cheap doesn’t mean less good for you) this means that they are in the best growing conditions and there is plenty to go around.  Some of the more expensive items will grow better in the warmer seasons – hence more expensive, so don’t let cost throw you off by thinking they aren’t good for you.  You can also get great recipes from the Countdown supermarket website, as they regularly have the recipes from the TV show ‘Eat Well for Less’ which can save you plenty of time and money. 

 

If time is a limited resource you don’t have to eat fresh veggies – frozen veggies are just as good for you and can sometimes be cheaper.  Adding more fruit and veggies to your diet and meals can also bulk them out, and fill your tummy with foods that can help strengthen your immune system

 

KEEP UP WITH REGULAR SLEEP AND EXERCISE

In the colder months, it can be easy to stay inside and keep warm, and become less active.  To keep our body working like a well-oiled engine, we need to keep moving it (as well as feeding it fuel).  Where possible you need to maintain a level of regular exercise – whether that be the same levels you might have in the warmer seasons, or slightly less.  If you decrease the amount of exercise, this too can impact your body’s ability to continue to work in your favour and protect you from viruses.

 

As well as exercise, maintain a healthy amount of sleep.  It might be easier to sleep for longer or become less active, but this will have a negative impact on your ability for your immune system to remain active.  Almost everything in the human body is interrelated and connected – from body parts to functions of the body.  And unfortunately, if you don’t move or use your body, it (along with its functions) will all shut down together.  Where possible, keep regularly active and maintain average amounts of sleep – anywhere between 6-8 hours is what the average adult should aim for.

 

GENERAL ADVICE FOR WINTER

If you usually eat well, exercise regularly, and get a decent amount of sleep hopefully you will be fine.  However, sometimes your body will submit and give in to getting the odd cold and flu – it is bound to happen.  But if you can prepare as best as you can, then hopefully it will lessen the blow from the colder months.  Other considerations are those that we have been told during the Covid-19 pandemic – such as coughing into the inside of your elbow, regularly washing hands and even wearing masks can also be helpful; or even getting the flu vaccination (Just be sure that you are aware of when you can get the flu vaccination if you are also getting the Covid-19 vaccination).

 

I hope you find these tips useful, and stay healthy NZ!