The cooler months can be hard on your health, especially if you’re not adequately prepared. Winter welcomes an array of respiratory diseases, viruses, flus and other infectious organisms that thrive in colder temperatures and prey on weak immune systems. Whether you’re entering Australia’s winter season or travelling to a winter wonderland destination—listen up! Supporting your health is imperative during this time and we’re going to show you how:

Eat foods rich in zinc and quercetin:
Zinc is responsible for many reactions and functions in the body and supporting your immune system is one of them! Zinc helps your immune cells fight off infection by blocking viruses from entering the cell. Intake of this mineral can also reduce the duration of cold/flus and help you feel better sooner. Great sources of zinc are oysters, red meat, legumes, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, peanuts, cashews, eggs and quinoa.

Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral flavanol. Emerging studies show quercetin acts as a potent antiviral agent, preventing the replication of various respiratory viruses such as influenza. You can find this antioxidant in blueberries, kale, red onion, cranberries, broccoli, green tea and black tea.

Embrace complex carbs:
This is the season to embrace winter root vegetables and wholegrains! They not only help to stabilise your blood sugar and keep you feeling fuller for longer, but they are great mood stabilisers. Serotonin, your feel-good hormone, increases after you consume whole foods rich in fibre, starch and complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato, quinoa, oats, barley, whole- wheat bread, pasta, brown rice and buckwheat.

Get outside to exercise:
As tempting as it is to hit the morning snooze button, it’s still important to remain active during winter! If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere sunny during the cooler months, make the most out of it and go for a run or walk outside. Not only are you doing a great service for your mental and physical health, but you’ll boost your Vitamin D levels, which are essential for your immune system to function properly. Just remember to stretch and warm up your muscles before you exercise!

Prioritise hydration:
When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to forget the need to drink water. Winter provides the perfect opportunity to stay hydrated through warm lemon and herbal teas. Green tea is a great source of quercetin, as well as L-theanine, which contains mood enhancing chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. An alternative way to support your immune system daily is by mixing your LAND Essentials ‘Rise Ritual’ with warm water, ginger and raw honey for a delicious winter beverage.

Get quality sleep:
Quality sleep is important all year round, though prioritising rest and sleep is particularly important during winter. Poor sleep can affect your immune system and studies have shown those who do not get enough sleep are more susceptible to the common cold. Your sleep cycle and circadian rhythm are strong regulators of your immune system. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will give you the best chance at gaining the best quality sleep.

By our Nutritionist in Residence, Erin Hall, of the Longevity Nutritionist