It’s that time of year again when we all need to take extra measures to stay healthy and strong to combat the cold and flu season.
One way to do this is to ensure that your immune system runs at peak performance. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work in tandem to serve and protect the body. It’s the body’s built-in protection system to fight infectious organisms and other invaders.
There are many common practices that can help maintain immune function, such as staying well-rested, regularly exercising and eating a healthy diet. Below are a few more specific tips to help keep your immune system resilient and strong during the height of flu season -- and ultimately all year long.
1. Smart supplementation.
A smart defense begins with a solid offence. One of the best ways to give your immune system the boost it needs is through carefully selected, high quality supplements and vitamins. Check your labels and stay clear of synthetic ingredients that your body can’t recognize -- or absorb. Your health won’t benefit from fake or modified ingredients—in fact, they can cause more harm than good. Naturel Collagen dietary supplements are naturally sourced and utilize real food sources.
Here is a short list of our “super-star” supplements that will keep your immune system smiling from the inside-out:
Most of us already know that collagen is great for the skin, tissues, bones and slowing down aging but did you know that collagen hydrate supplementation is also good for the immune system? Colvita is our flagship collagen supplement. It comes in a capsule form and is made from fish-derived collagen hydrate. Colvita is significantly different from the powdered hydrolyzed collagen you’ll find in the stores today. Collagen in hydrate form has been preserved -- not processed -- so the collagen is bio-available and easily absorbed by the body. Collagen helps reduce inflammation and contributes to optimum gut and digestive health. The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” of our body. A large percentage of serotonin is produced in the gut lining and in our immune system, as well. Ensuring we have a healthy gut is not only essential for our digestion but also for immune function, mood and energy levels.
Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system. So if you are not getting enough of this vital vitamin -- you will be more susceptible to colds and flu. Also, worth a mention: Did you know that the majority of “vitamin C” supplements on the market are synthesized ascorbic acid in crystal form? It is usually produced using corn dextrose, also known as E300. Natural vitamin C is not ascorbic acid! High-quality vitamin C extracts can only be extracted from vegetables, fruit, plant shoots, etc. This is exactly why Vitamin C-olway is one of the best Vitamin C supplements available today. Its simple, yet powerful formula taps extract from bitter orange, and extract from buckwheat sprouts. An extra added bonus is that Vitamin C is one of the only nutrients that prompts collagen production, the youth-enhancing protein.
2. Eat more antioxidant rich foods.
Inflammation is a central immune system function. However, when it is out of balance, it can cause serious damage. During the flu season, it is a good idea to include more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Specifically, antioxidant-rich foods will protect your cells from the effects of free radicals and can help keep inflammation at bay. Some examples of antioxidant abundant foods we reach for during the winter months include berries (blueberries, raspberries and goji berries), nuts and seeds (pecans, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds), dark green veggies (broccoli, kale, beans and spinach) as well as orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots.
3. Watch your sugar intake.
Not only is refined sugar terrible for your skin – it also weakens the immune system. The occasional moderate indulgence is OK -- but be sure it is preceded by enough protein to offset the sugar “high.”
4. Colder weather calls for warm foods and beverages.
Many ancient healing practices such as Chinese medicine and acupuncture confirm that cold foods in the winter months are not good choices for a number of health reasons. According to one health expert, eating cold foods can “stifle your fire” which leads to poor digestions. “This will create stagnation in the form of undigested food within the stomach and large intestines. Where there's stagnation, there's no movement, and where there's no movement, there is also pain and discomfort.” Seek comfort foods, such as healthy soups and broths – we also love warm breakfast bowls this time of year.
5. Consume more plant-based protein.
Make a point to amp up your healthy protein intake this time of year. According to Dr. Natasha Turner ND, “Protein is essential for immunity, for maintaining healthy body composition, for blood sugar balance, for tissue healing and repair, for muscle growth and for the production of hormones, chemical messengers and digestive enzymes in the body.” Some high-protein vegetable sources include, lentils, spinach, broccoli, peas and mushrooms. For a winter-warming meal that delivers a healthy punch try a bolognaise style spaghetti sauce and substitute the meat with a combination of exotic mushrooms such as immune-boosting shitakes. If you have a spiralizer, zucchini or “zoodles” is always a delicious substitute for pasta noodles.
Prevention is also important of course -- so remember to wash your hands often. We recommend using an all-natural soap. Wellness Mama has a great explanation why we should avoid anti-bacterial soaps. Our Collagen Wash Gel is also a beloved, gentle body wash that the whole family will embrace.