Sipping pumpkin lattes, baking ginger spice cookies, and spending time with loved ones are a few of our favourite things to do during the festive season. The last thing we want is to be down with the terrible cold and flu viruses that are spreading like wildfire.
Here are a few tips on how to boost your immune system naturally to stay safe.
Turn that latte golden: Turmeric has been used for centuries as herbal remedy for healing wounds as it has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It also has powerful antioxidant effects, it blocks free-radicals and stimulates the body’s own natural defence mechanism. The best way to increase absorption of this magic ingredient is to dissolve it in a good fat such as coconut milk and simmer it slowly, hence the popularity of golden lattes. Turmeric is also paired with black pepper in savoury recipes to enhance absorption. Here is a simple golden latte recipe from BBC Food using simple ingredients turmeric, cinnamon, coconut milk, ginger and black pepper.
Eat your greens: Turns out your mum was right to push you to finish eating your greens. Rich in iron, folate, and vitamins A, C and K, dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale will boost your immunity. Best way to increase absorption of iron from leafy greens is to pair these with foods that contain high levels of Vitamin C content such as lemon, orange and beets. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron content. Pick a hearty vegan recipe from Deliciously Ella with kale, pomegranate and avocado salad and a drizzle of tahini dressing. Who knew eating greens could be so much fun.
Top up with probiotics: Prebiotics and probiotics are essential to maintain a healthy gut and promote good bacteria. This will, in turn, help boost your body’s immune response towards the flu virus. Some studies claim that you may be able to enhance the effectiveness of the flu vaccine by pairing it with pre and probiotics before and after getting vaccinated. Simple and indulgent ways to consume probiotics is through fermented foods, such as yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and pickles that contain live bacteria. We recommend adding a good prebiotic and probiotic supplement to your diet. Look for a plant-based supplement with timed release. Our favourite: Wild Nutrition.
Wash hands often: Wash hands often with warm water and soap. Remember, using antibacterial soaps and products that claim to kill 99% of bacteria are not necessary as they may increase the bacteria’s resistance with repeated use. That means if you were to contract the infection, antibiotic medication will not be as effective. Triclosan and triclocarban are synthetic antibacterial chemicals used in personal care products. Not only is there limited proof of their efficacy against diseases, but there is also evidence of their harmful effects on human health and the environment. In fact, in the United States, soaps containing these synthetic antibacterial agents were banned in 2017. In the EU as well, the use of triclosan in personal care products is under investigation. Try natural hand soaps instead that are easy on the skin and better for the planet.
Remember, overuse of antibacterial cleaning and hand wash products that contain pesticides will lower your body's natural immunity by killing the good bacteria around you. This will have a direct impact on your gut health. Once the body's natural balance of good and bad bacteria is disturbed, no amount of kimchi can fix it.
Keep a clean home: Keep your home surfaces clean with natural cleaning products, especially ones formulated with natural essential oils. These ingredients are safer than introducing harsh chemicals such as chlorine and ammonia in closed spaces. The harsh chemicals found in everyday household cleaning products cause indoor air pollution, causing more harm than good. Many naturally occurring essential oils have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and have been used for centuries for cleaning purposes. On that note, our blogs about negative health risks associated with toxins in everyday household cleaners and why the overuse of chemical disinfectants is linked to long term health issues.
At Spruce, our mission is to bring you high quality home and personal care products that are safe for you, without any toxic chemicals, and safe for the planet. Spruce refillable cleaning products are free from single-use plastics and harmful chemicals.
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