Immune Boosting Winter Wellness Tips - The Health & Wellbeing Studio

Written by Melbourne Naturopath Bree Jenner

A Healthy Gut

Balance is key when it comes to gut health.  Much of our immune system is derived or affected by the gut.  We can nourish the balance of bacteria by eating a diverse range of wholefoods including vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes that are rich in prebiotic fibres.  Prebiotics help to feed and nourish beneficial bacteria in the gut.  Including probiotic foods in the diet can also help to increase the diversity of the bacteria we have by introducing or increasing different species.  Probiotic foods include yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir.


Building Blocks

Our immune system requires a number of supportive nutrients from our food to function at its best.  This includes fighting infection, optimising our natural defenses and maintaining our energy.  Some of the particularly important immune-boosting nutrients include zinc, vitamins D, C and A, protein and complex carbohydrates.


Moving and Snoozing

When you’re feeling under the weather, it might be difficult to hear the subtle whispers of our bodies as they try to communicate with us – pounding heads, congested sinuses, aching muscles.  Treat yourself with kindness during this time with lots of rest and gentle exercise.

Keep your germs to yourself by staying at home from work or school to rest and minimise your stress where possible.  Cough and sneeze into your elbow, or a tissue (that you can throw out immediately) if needed – no hankies!! – and wash your hands regularly.

Rug up and go for a gentle walk outside if the sun comes out, or some gentle yoga or stretching can be helpful.


Slow Sweet Food

Trust that nature has got the goods.  Local, seasonal foods are purpose built to be at their peak for flavour, availability, abundance (which means affordability!), and nutrients – think bright Autumn colours such as oranges, reds, yellows and deep greens, rich in vitamins A, C, E and minerals including zinc.

Cooking your foods low and slow in winter helps to break them down making them more digestible.  This means that your body can concentrate on keeping you well, rather that focusing on digestion and trying to warm you back up after a cold smoothie.  One-pot, slow-cooked soups, stews and poached fruit are perfect to keep the nutrients in the one dish too, and saves for cleaning up!

Vegetables from the allium family such as onion, leeks and chives are a great addition to meals that add sweetness as well as an abundance of immune-boosting nutrients.  Root vegetables are often rich in complex carbohydrates for extra energy without the sugar crash.  You can also sweeten warming drinks with manuka honey for an anti-bacterial hint of sweetness.


Level Up

Seek professional support, especially if your symptoms are worsening or not resolving, such as a fever above 38C, or lasting more than 4-5 days.  If you are bringing up mucous that has turned green, your infection may now be bacterial, and need additional support to resolve.  Painful coughs, difficulty swallowing or breathing, repeated vomiting or rash might indicate a more serious infection.

Whilst you are recovering, minimise your stress by delegating or outsourcing tasks – delegate household chores to well family members, get groceries or pre-cooked meals delivered or call in favours from friends for school drop-offs.


For more information or for a tailored personalized plan chat to one of our Naturopaths

© The Health & Wellbeing Studio Camberwell, Melbourne 2019


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