Dr Zoe Williams highlights nutrition and lifestyle as key to supporting immunity
As winter ‘sniffles’ start doing the rounds as increasing numbers ramp up their days in the office – Linwoods Health Foods’ ambassador and regular contributor to TV’s This Morning, Dr Zoe Williams, has revealed the secrets to supporting immunity naturally.
Williams’ ambassadorship for the leading health food brand ties in with the launch of its new Functional Range, which includes Immune Support – specifically formulated to help support the maintenance of the normal function of the immune system – in time for the darker nights drawing in.
NHS GP Dr Zoe has given her backing to the product with a recent post on her Instagram, and has revealed exactly what she recommends for keeping the immune system healthy, and winter bugs at bay.
She said: “As nights – and mornings – get darker and the weather begins to turn, it really signals the time of year that we tend to see winter bugs and prevalence of associated infections ramping up. It’s likely we’ll notice it even more this winter, as we’re in contact with many more people than this time last year, when the UK was in various states of lockdown.
“Our awareness is also likely to be heightened as the spotlight is firmly on Covid booster jabs and flu vaccinations – as well as the emerging news of the new anti-viral medication aimed at fighting symptoms of Covid in the most vulnerable.
“However, a healthy immune system is vital at any time of year, to keep us well and defend the body against infections. The immune system is complex with many components, and its initial response is usually pretty fast in fighting off infections – but when it doesn’t, you can get ill. When you experience symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, and sore throat, they’re actually a result of your immune response, which is trying to get rid of invading agents.
“It would be wonderful to develop a silver bullet immunity aid, but the reality is there are no quick fixes. Whilst some people live with compromised immune systems due to underlying health conditions, or the medicines they need, many of us can help protect ourselves in various ways – including diet and lifestyle.”
- Supporting Immunity: Iron it out
“Iron contributes to the normal function of the immune system, and it’s not uncommon for levels to be compromised in females due to increased demand brought on by the menstrual cycle. As well as green leafy veg, try almonds, sunflower seeds and meat which are all great sources. Adding a source of vitamin C – like lemon juice – to plant sources of iron can help to increase its bioavailability…which means it helps absorption.”
2. Supporting Immunity: Vitamin D-lightful
“Vitamin D plays a key role in contributing to normal immune function. As it can be challenging to get adequate amounts through safe sun exposure during the winter months, it’s recommended to supplement with 10µg per day in the UK during this period. You can top up your intakes with foods like salmon, milk and mushrooms.”
3. Supporting Immunity: Super seeds
“Seeds and wholegrains are really beneficial in adding a host of vitamins and minerals to our diets. Linwoods’ ‘Immune Support’ seed blend is packed with nutrients that help towards maintaining the normal function of the immune system. It’s laden with all the good stuff like sprouted milled flaxseed, hemp seeds, milled Brazil nuts and Ganeden BC30 probiotic cultures. The blend also provides natural sources of selenium, iron and zinc– as well as omega-3, protein, fibre and important vitamins like vitamin D3, vitamin C and vitamin B12.
4. Supporting Immunity: Get some Zs
“Wellbeing plays a huge role in optimising immunity, and a major element of wellbeing is sleep. The stress of our daily lives means we might experience prolonged periods of insomnia or poor-quality sleep, which makes us less able to fend off bugs. There’s a reason why we take to our beds when we get poorly. When we sleep, our immune system ramps up which can help to combat the source of infection, through a type of inflammatory response. Sleep could even impact our immune system’s ‘memory’ when it comes to recognising and reacting to antigens.”
5. Supporting Immunity: Out in the cold
“The pandemic taught us all the value of access to outdoor space. Not only do we get those important hits of vitamin D outside, safely, in summertime sunlight but we can also get in some stress-busting exercise which can really contribute to the natural function of your immune system, all year round. Exercise is a great way to keep your body in top condition and it can also help to reduce stress and support your body in fighting infection. Now, the great British weather at this time of year isn’t always conducive to getting outside, so if you’re more of a gym bunny, just remember that basic hand hygiene is the most effective way of stopping bugs entering the body. Also avoid touching your face, and make sure to maintain your personal space whilst out and about. And if you’re wearing a face covering, be sure to wash or change it regularly.”