Focus on immunity – winter wellness nutrients and where to find them

Focus on immunity – winter wellness nutrients and where to find them

Author -  Healtheries Naturopath

Winter is finally here, it’s time to start thinking about your immune system to help you stay ahead of the cold season.

Immunity: it’s not all about diet 

If you’re like many Kiwis, that means looking at your lifestyle, and changing up a few of your summer habits. 

For example: 

  • You may need more sleep: nearly 33% of New Zealanders are sleep-deprived[1] at the best of times. Getting enough sleep is essential to maintain healthy immunity, so it’s especially important not to let yourself go short over winter. Aim for early nights when possible, and make sure you get the recommended 6-8 hours your body needs. 
  • You may need to remind yourself to hydrate: 75% of your body is made up of water, and water loss of as little as 1%[2] can create negative effects. You might think that dehydration is purely a summer concern – but cold, windy weather and air conditioning can dry you out just as quickly as the sun.  So keep a sipper bottle handy – and remember that hot herbal and fruit teas can be just as hydrating as cold water if you prefer them.          
  • You may need to adjust your exercise routine: moderate activity is well known to help keep your immune system healthy[3]. But overdoing it – especially over time – can actually have the opposite effect. It’s important to stay active during the colder weather – but pay attention to what your body tells you as well. If your routine feels unusually hard, or you’re more tired than normal, don’t be afraid to back off a little.   

Of course nutrition is essential too

Lifestyle factors do play a major role in how well your immune system copes with the challenges of winter. But the foundation of healthy immunity will always be a balanced, nutritious diet. That means lots of whole, fresh foods; and limiting sugar, alcohol and processed food. In particular, an immunity-supporting diet focuses on foods that are rich in nutrients such as:          

  • Zinc: this trace mineral is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in several of your body’s immune mechanisms. Specifically, your white blood cells use Zinc to help them produce the right kinds of antibodies to fight off winter bugs. You can find Zinc in foods like seafood (particularly oysters and mussels), wholegrains and pumpkin seeds.          
  • Selenium: another antioxidant trace mineral, Selenium packs a big immunity-supporting punch. Locally produced foods tend to be low in Selenium because New Zealand soils don’t contain much of it. You can, however, find it in seafood and imported nuts – and especially Brazil nuts, which are extremely Selenium-rich. ·         
  • Vitamin D: often known as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D is produced when the cholesterol in your skin is exposed to sunlight. Of course, there’s less sunlight over winter, so your body may need a dietary top-up. Eggs, butter, fish livers or oil and sprouted seeds are all fairly good sources.   

Don’t neglect your Vitamin C intake! 

The best-known immunity-supporting nutrient, however, has to be Vitamin C. This antioxidant, water-based vitamin helps support your immune system to help keep you healthy especially during the colder winter months. It also plays a role in your body’s response to stress; and since stress can affect immunity, it’s important to keep your Vitamin C levels topped up. Most fruits and vegetables contain at least a little Vitamin C, but some foods are naturally rich in vitamin C such as superfruits like Blackcurrant and Goji berries. 

If you’d like a convenient way to get more Vitamin C into your diet, why not try NEW Healtheries Vit C with Superfruits? 

Healtheries Vit C with Superfruits are chewable Vitamin C tablets that are naturally flavoured with real New Zealand Blackcurrant, Goji and Acai berries. They’re formulated without any artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners; and they’re available in two strengths:          

  • Healtheries Vit C 500mg with Superfruits combines a lower strength, family-friendly dose of Vitamin C with the extra great taste of real superfruits Look for Healtheries Vit C with Superfruits in the health section of selected supermarkets nationwide!