By having balanced lifestyle and diet you can boost your immune system and fend off nasty colds and flu’s.
1. Eat fermented foods everyday. For example, pickles (yum!), sauerkraut, miso soup, tempe, apple cider vinegar (which contains the ‘mother’), kefir, kimchi, good quality yogurt, sourdough bread and kombucha.
If you are buying miso paste, pickles or kraut from supermarket make sure that the product has not been pasturised, as this destroys the nutritional benefits of these foods. To be honest your are better of buying it locally or making it yourself- it’s fun and really easy! Here’s a link to make your own sauerkraut.
Fermented foods act like a natural probiotic which will help protect your existing microbiome and support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Good gut health is the basis of your immune function.
In the morning to start your day try a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water (its intense but good for you), serve pickles/ kraut with your eggs or your avo on sourdough toast or put a dollop of good yogurt on your cereal/ oats/ porridge. In the afternoon for a pick me up try a teaspoon of miso paste with boiling water, you could add some grated ginger to make it more warming and tasty.
2. Bone broth- everybody is raving about it for a reason. It's a perfect Chinese medicine broth - warming, nourishing, healing and immune boosting. It’s rich in gelatin which helps seal and heal the gut, improving digestive function and reducing inflammation.
I've just started stocking an organic powdered version in the clinic. Try combining 1 tsp bone broth powder and 1 tsp miso paste for an afternoon pick me up. You can also add some steamed vegetables like broccolini or zucchini, to turn it into a quick healthy meal.
*Hot tip! If you are getting a cold go and have a Pho beef Vietnamese soup! The combo of bone broth, fresh herbs, lemon, protein and goodness can really help you sweat out a cold before it invades.
3. The nape of the neck in Chinese medicine is known as the, "Gate of Wind". This is where various pathogens aka ‘evil's’ can enter the body e.g. cold, wind and damp. Hence, wear scarves and hoodies and always blow dry your hair as it gets more chilly to protect yourself from invasion in the neck area.
4. Slow cooking is my favourite thing about the cooler months. If you don't have one, do yourself a favour and invest in one. The best ones are an all in one slow cooker/ rice cooker/ pressure cooker and soup maker, which saves heaps of storage space on your kitchen. There are so many nourishing vegan, vegetarian and fall of the bone carnivore dishes to enjoy. If you’re going to slow cook meat, such as Osso bucco or lamb shanks, ideally go for organic. The Feather and Bone butcher in Marrickville is great!
5. Acupressure this point everyday to boost your immune and energy. Stomach 36 (ST36) is located 4 finger widths below the base of knee cap and one thumb width out form shin bone. You should feel a 5-10c depression there. Press the point on both sides of body, hold the point for 2 minutes while deep breathing.
This point is also great for digestive issues, self esteem, reducing anxiety and boosting your calming earth energy.
6. Meditation has so many mental and physical health benefits. Even 5-10 minutes a day will help reduce inflammation, help you relax, reduce cortisol (stress) levels, thereby enhancing your natural immune system. There are so many meditation apps to choose from to make mediation accessible (I use Headspace).
7. Last but not least, acupuncture is good for your immune system. If you think of your body like a car, it obviously needs a petrol, a regular service and a oil change. So many of us in the modern age don't make the time for self care or downtime, meaning their 'car' never gets serviced. Regular acupuncture treatments are like a tune up for your body and mind, keeping everything running smoothly and you are much less likely to fall apart!