Winter wellness: Immunity tips from the experts

Lucy E Cousins
June 6, 2016

There’s a lot to love about the cooler months; crisp early mornings, soft knits, hot coffees in cold hands. Not to mention a legitimate reason to huddle up to your dog or cat for warmth.

But winter also brings bursts of family flu, never-ending sniffles on public transport and raspy coughs in open-plan offices.

The good news is with a few simple steps it’s easy to stay healthy all season-long. We asked our favourite experts to share their winter health tips so that you can enjoy the best of the coldest months.


The Naturopath: "Eat well and seek out the sun"

Sydney-based naturopath, Belinda Kirkpatrick says the secret to winter wellness is in what you eat: “Food can be your medicine! Eat immune boosting foods such as onion, leek, shitake mushrooms, tumeric, parsley and fresh beetroot most days, and aim for 7 types of veggies daily.

Try to avoid sugar and excess alcohol, which can lower immunity. And finally, spend time in the sun (if you can find it!). Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to improve immunity and decrease duration of colds and flu.” 


The Health Blogger: "Sleep for longer and look after your gut"

Founder of healthy cooking blog, The Fit Foodie, Sally O’Neil, says the cooler months are perfect for sleeping in: “Get 7-8 hours sleep every night, no cheating! The body rejuvenates and strengthens when it’s at rest. If needed, take an afternoon nap (no arguments here, right?).

Also increase your intake of probiotics; keeping a healthy gut is very important to keep a strong immune system. Probiotics are good bacteria that can be found in whole and fermented foods, such as raw sauerkraut, miso, kefir, and kimchi. If you want to keep it simple, yoghurt also does a stellar job, but look for plain versions to avoid additional sugar. Your body and immune system will thank you.” 


The Health Coach: "Help your body with supplements"

Wollongong local, and owner of Body Mentality, Alex Georgeou believes in boosting our diets:  ‘There are definitely a few basic supplements I always recommend to my clients for when winter hits. The first is garlic, which can reduce the risk of infections and the common cold by as much as 60%. Then there’s Vitamin C, which if you take it everyday can reduce the duration and frequency of illness. And finally zinc – an essential mineral for our bodies. Research has shown zinc can aid our immune systems, and, if taken early enough, may prevent any flu and cold symptoms from worsening.” 


The Celebrity Trainer: "Get outdoors to train"

TV’s original Bachelor, chiropractor and founder of the Robbards Method, Tim Robbards swears by exercising anywhere but the gym: “The benefits of outdoor training are proving far more beneficial than we think. It boosts your mood and productivity; you train muscles you can’t train in gym on a treadmill; it improves your cardio and strength at once; increases balance and flexibility and nearly every exercise works your core as well!”