It’s super easy to boost your immunity this January with these top tips from Nutritionist Zara Syed…
It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement and indulgence that comes with the festive season and as a result, we often tend to neglect our health. Come January, many of us feel unwell and run down.
Here are a few simple steps to boost your immunity at the start of the New Year!
The immune system needs water and so does the rest of our body to transport nutrients and flush out toxins. It’s essential that we replenish fluids lost during the day (when we go to the toilet, through our skin or when we sweat), with further risk of dehydration if you’ve had alcohol the night before. Investing in a re-usable water bottle to keep with you when you’re on the go can be a really good way to ensure you are staying hydrated during the colder winter months. Top it up with hot or cold water and add herbal tea bags or fruit to make it more interesting!
Focusing on essential nutrients involved in maintaining a healthy immune system can help to fight off infection and reduce risk of illness.
Vitamin C is famous for its role in supporting immune function and contains powerful antioxidants. Boost your intake through a range of fruits and vegetables e.g. red and green peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi and green vegetables. Pack these into smoothies, soups, salads or if you’re out with friends, order a side of broccoli or spinach with your meal.
Vitamin D plays a huge role in the regulation of our immune system and it won’t come as a surprise, that lack of sunlight during the winter months means that you may be at risk of deficiency. UK Government guidelines recommend that we should be taking a supplement (10μg) daily, from September to March. Please speak to your doctor or a nutrition professional to ensure you are including a high-quality Vitamin D supplement with the correct dosage for you. Similarly, including Vitamin D rich foods such as egg yolks, full fat dairy products and oily fish will ensure you are getting a small amount through your diet.
Zinc is an important micronutrient needed for many processes in the body, including immune function. Zinc deficiency affects around 25% of the world’s population and may increase your susceptibility to harmful bacteria and viruses. Include foods containing zinc such as seafood, liver, beef, baked beans and poultry. This may be a challenge for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet, in which case I would advise focusing on fortified foods, legumes and wholegrains.
And finally, we can’t forget about stress, which can weaken immune function, increasing our susceptibility to colds and infections. Gentle exercise can support and reduce the negative impact of stress – why not try Yoga or Pilates instead of your gym session once per week? If that isn’t your thing or you just don’t have the time, try to incorporate some movement into your day. Get off the tube or bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the rest of the way, go for a walk at lunchtime or if all else fails, get up from your desk and walk around the office.
*****This blog is not intended or implied to be a substitute for seeking professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Information provided here is general, and not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease or conditions. Please contact your GP or private health consultant, if you have any personal health concerns, or consult a registered nutritional therapist for personalised dietary and lifestyle advice and guidance.
Written By: Zara Syed, Registered Nutritionist (mBANT) MSc BSc (Hons), DipION, CNHC | Guest Blogger
Zara is a Registered Nutritionist, with a degree in Biochemistry and a Masters in Clinical Neuroscience. She offers private 1-1 consultations at APPI in Wimbledon Village and The Queen Anne Street Medical Centre. In a world where we are overwhelmed with confusing and often conflicting information around what a healthy diet should look like, Zara offers her clients the opportunity to set up a clear path towards optimal health, through bespoke nutrition programmes. She also works closely with local schools and corporate clients, delivering tailored talks and workshops.