Kick off your spring wellness lift

Coughs, colds and COVID have plagued many Australians this winter and, with spring approaching, we’re all hoping to leave the germs behind.

But to fight off the pattern of sore throats and runny noses, your body’s immune system needs toughening up with the help of some extra care and attention.

Here, we share expert tips on how to be at the top of your game so you can make the most of all the fun the sun will soon bring.

Nutrition is No.1

Eating a balanced diet has been been drummed into us on more than one occasion, but what does a balanced diet actually look like?

“To sum it up, just eat real food,” said nutritionist Fiona Kane.

“I would just call a basic diet, so that means meat and veg, nuts and seeds. And rather than eating things that have all the right ingredients, eat the actual ingredients.”

Protein is vital to a strong immune system, but is often left out of daily diets. Pair some meat, fish, eggs or tofu with a colourful range of vegetables and your body will thank you, Kane said.

“Start with protein and then add colour,” she said.

“The idea is, throughout your week you’ll have all the colours, greens, yellows, reds and oranges, all of the colours represent different nutrients.

“A lot of them contain vitamins and minerals that are supportive for your immune system, but they also feed different bacteria in the gut and your gut bacteria is a big part of your immune system.”

Stick to a basic diet of real food: nutritionist Fiona Kane.

Bone broth is an instant pick-me-up for any ailing immune systems. Make it yourself by adding bones to soups and stews, or pick up some powder sachets at your local health food shop and just add boiling water.

Be sleep strict

No matter how well you eat or exercise, you can never be totally well if you don’t get enough sleep.

Try to limit late nights because they commonly come at a cost.

“When people stay up late to get stuff done, within a week they almost always come down with something,” Kane said.

“If you have been sick, it’s important to understand how much you need to sleep. And if your body needs it, your body needs it.”

The Sleep Health Foundation recommends adults aged 18 to 64 need seven to nine hours of sleep, while those 65 and older need seven to eight. Children aged six to 13 need nine-11 hours each night and teenagers from 14 to 17 need eight to 10 hours.

Exercise according to where your body’s at.

Exercise right

Avoid heavy workouts when your body is on the mend. Exercising too hard while your immune system is in a phase of rebuilding can do more harm than good.

“It’s about knowing how much and when,” Kane said.

“When you do exercise, you will flush your bacteria from your lungs. But often gentle exercise that is manageable for where you’re at is better than caning yourself at the gym.”

Shift stress

Learning how to manage stress levels can be incredibly difficult. One way to make things easier on ourselves is to limit our intake of alcohol and sugar because higher amounts of both than usual can undermine your body’s immune system.

“It’s well known that eating sugar reduces your immunity for several hours after you’ve had it, so it’s a good idea to reduce the sugar while you’re trying to boost immunity or trying to recover,” Kane said.

“Alcohol can be another stress on the body, so I think it’s a good idea to back off on anything that puts stress on your body and to be aware of that.”

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