Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sick Of Being Sick? A Naturopath’s Guide to Boosting Your Immune System (And Keeping Your Family Well!) This Spring

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It’s SPRING! Huzzah! But, are we out of the woods when it comes to ills and chills? Boost your immune system now with these helpful tips from Naturopath Erin O’Hara.

If things at your house have been anything like those at what feels like every other home in NZ this winter – you’ve had a fair bit of sickness to contend with. If you haven’t taken a few sick days off this year, you’ve likely had to take a few because your kids have been sick – or someone has come in contact with Covid and you’ve had to hunker down.

But, winter is behind us, right? Surely things will be fine from here out??

Eep, unfortunately, as Erin O’Hara tells us, a change in weather also beckons a change in bugs. Great.

But, there are things we can do about it! We talked to Erin about how to keep our immune systems strong and viruses at bay so we can all keep trucking and make it through to Summer with some annual leave left to enjoy!!

Bask in the glory

When possible, get outside and soak up the sun with your family. Vitamin D is important in keeping your immune system ready to fight infections so make sure you get plenty! If the weather doesn’t play ball, make sure to stock up on foods that contain Vitamin D such as oily fish, and eggs.

Minerals are key

Iron, zinc and selenium help nourish the immune system and keep body cells active and healthy. Mineral-rich foods include nuts, seeds, meat, fortified cereals, kale, broccoli, quinoa, and pulses. For the little people in your life, you can always hide the good green vegetables in a pasta bake!

Naturopath Erin O’Hara

Catch up on sleep (when you can)

Getting enough sleep is one of the key ingredients to keeping strong and healthy. I know how hard that is to read when you are a working mother but rest is important to keep your heart and other organs functioning correctly. Try to stick to a routine as much as possible and allow yourself and your children to get plenty of rest while they are sick (even if this means they’re up a little later in the evening).

Run like the wind

Regular exercise promotes good cell circulation, improves mood, energy levels, heart health, and prevents weight gain. Kick a ball around at the local park with your kids after school or take an easy stroll around the neighbourhood after dinner to keep the bugs at bay!

Lay off the sugar

Refined sugars negatively impact the body’s defence structure. Sugars increase inflammation and damage cells. To curb a sweet craving, eat more foods with protein and fats to stabilise your sugar levels. For the littles, swap out chippies and cookies with hummus and brown rice crackers or a delicious bliss ball as a treat.

Try to minimise stress

When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced making us more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone cortisol can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system so while there is always stress as a mother, try to find those moments of calm, carve out time to relax with a cup of tea and drop the guilt. A healthy family is a happy one!

Erin O’Hara is a naturopath & Medical Herbalist who combines her knowledge of Naturopathy and Science to provide an integrative and evidence-based approach to wellbeing. She has been involved in the Health and Wellbeing Industry for about 20 years through extensive University study (BSc and BNatMed), scientific research, and an intrinsic passion for health & wellbeing.

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