Modern Australian

How to supercharge your immune system for cold and flu season

  • Written by Tess Sanders Lazarus

With restrictions slowly easing, now more than ever Australians are looking for ways to supercharge their immune system as they return to regular life.

Dr Vincent Candrawinata, (affectionately known as Dr Vincent), the world’s foremost expert on phenolic antioxidants and founder of Renovatio, has revealed that by boosting your immune system during winter you are more able to fight colds and flu, as well as combating viruses such as COVID-19.

“The easiest and best way to prevent getting unwell is – and has always been – to employ general healthy-living strategies,” Dr Vincent said.

So, what actionable, easy steps does Dr Vincent recommend for boosting your immune system and practicing preventative care?

Prioritise fruits and vegetables

“Fuelling your body with foods that are high in antioxidants is proven to boost your overall health and wellbeing, and help protect you from viruses in the cold and flu season. Fruit and vegetables are nutrient-dense and have anti-inflammatory properties to help build up your body’s immune system defence. Dark leafy greens, berries, salmon and sweet potatoes are some of the ‘must-haves’ as the cold and flu season kicks in,” Dr Vincent said.

“Whilst energising your body with nutritious foods, it is also important to avoid excess sugars and processed foods. These foods, as well as restrictive-eating that can lead to malnourishment, dramatically decrease your body’s immune function.”

Dr Vincent added, “starting your day with a well-balanced, nutrient-dense breakfast will support your immune system throughout the day.” He recommended consuming a mix of healthy fats, fruit and vegetables, as well as a good source of protein. “Opt for meals such as a smoothie, vegetable omelette or avocado brekkie salad!”

Keep up your exercise routine

Getting out of bed early on a cool winter’s morning will be easier when you hear breaking a sweat can reduce your risk of catching a cold.

“On top of all of the other benefits of regular exercise, such as improved cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and controlling body weight, research has revealed that people who exercise regularly report fewer colds. Exercise promotes good circulation that stimulates cells and substances of the immune system to move freely around the body and do their job more efficiently,” Dr Vincent added.

“Exercise is a natural immune-booster!”

Catch plenty of Z’s

Sleep is a key player in supercharging your immune system – it is the secret for a flu-free winter. While you sleep your body heals and repairs blood vessels, and produces more infection-fighting antibodies. These are two important factors for good physical health and fighting infectious diseases.

Dr Vincent recommends aiming for a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night, and to take a 20-minute power nap during the day if you do not reach that.

Flu-proof your home

“There are a number of easy, small steps you can take to eliminate the chance of contracting or spreading a virus in your home. This cold and flu season, pay particular attention to keeping surfaces clean. Phones, computers and desks are often contamination hot spots,” Dr Vincent said.

Another way to supercharge your immune system is to improve the air circulation in your home. Opening your windows more often and adding indoor plants to your space are two ways you can filter the polluted air in your home.

“Make sure you maintain good humidity in your home, especially when you are sleeping with the air conditioning or heater on. Dry air can cause dry and flaky skin, congestion, and inflammation in your airways and throat.

“The simple act of placing a glass of water on your bedside table can make a huge difference when you wake up in the morning.

“The final precaution you can take this cold and flu season is washing your hands regularly. Eating, caring for someone unwell, treating a cut or wound, using the bathroom, touching an animal, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing are key times that you should wash your hands (for your safety and those around you).”

Boost your body’s antioxidants

“It is common for your diet not to deliver your body with all the micronutrients and antioxidants it needs – supplements can be the answer and have beneficial effects on your immune system. This is especially the case when your lifestyle may harm your immune system; in particular the impact of alcohol, stress, processed foods, lack of sleep, and smoking,” Dr Vincent said.

“Our whole body is made up of cells. Activated Phenolics are powerful antioxidants that neutralise a wide range of free radicals to protect your cells from infection and inflammation.

“Viruses move through your body by attaching to cells. By strengthening your cells, you are reducing the capacity of viruses to spread through your body. Healthy cells also mean less illness and disease.”

Renovatio Bioscience extracts these phenolics from Australian apples and activates them to produce turbo charged health and wellness products that are available throughout Australia, online and through retailers such as Woolworths, and in many other countries across the globe.

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