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Strengthen your immune system for winter

It’s that time of the year when suddenly everybody in the office gets a cold. The good news is that there are ways to strengthen your immune system naturally.

As you might have heard, approximately 60% of our immune system and more than 80% of the immunoglobulin-producing cells (which helps us fighting bacteria and viruses off) are located is in the gut mucosa, so gut health is extremely important in improving immunity.

Follow these guidelines to give yourself the best chance to avoid it this year.

1) Focus on adding seasonal, fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet (at least 5 portions a day). The vitamins and minerals found in them are essential for the body’s overall balance. Vitamin C has always been one of the most talked about vitamins and for a good reason. It has the power to improve immunity, helps blood cell formation and it is a strong antioxidant. Because it is a water-soluble vitamin we excrete it with urine. Therefore, make sure you have sufficient intake on a daily basis and not just when you feel run down.

2) Eat probiotic foods at least 2x a week. These foods naturally add new tribes to your already existing good bacteria. The human microflora is mainly built up in the large intestine but among other places it can also be found in the nose, the mouth, the stomach and the small intestine. Traditional probiotic foods are kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut or kombucha. You can find them in most health shops these days so you don’t need to worry about preparing your own.

3) Eat prebiotic foods 3x a week. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in our gut. They are indigestible carbohydrates that are high in fibre and the good bacteria likes to munch on it. Good prebiotic food examples are chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic and onions.

4) Eat real food. This might sound obvious but processed foods often contain additives and sugars, which will weaken the immune system. Instead look for seasonal inspirations and cook quick and simple meals.

5) Use ginger, garlic and turmeric in your dishes. Their anti-inflammatory properties are very helpful when your body is trying to fight off a cold.

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