As health care becomes increasingly expensive, prevention is the way forward for many of us. Honestly, Doctors bills can get ridiculous! With winter here, this is the best time to make sure your body has the support it needs to combat winter ailments.
The immune system involves a complex system of cells that are distributed throughout your body, explains Andrea du Plessis, a nutritional expert at Vital Health Foods. The immune cells are circulated through your bloodstream and have higher concentrations where harmful organisms are most likely to enter your body, such as your respiratory and digestive systems.
Also, your nasal hairs help filter out airborne pathogens, and are aided by your mucus, which traps particles and germs.
Young children and toddlers are more susceptible to colds and flu mainly because their immune systems have not matured yet. Natural vulnerability to infections, poor nutrition, and the ease of virus transmission in a crèche environment explain the higher incidence of respiratory infections in children compared with adults. “Vitamin A, in particular, is important to help maintain the immune system, and many children under the age of 5 are found to be deficient, which further opens the gate to infection,” says Du Plessis. Foods rich in vitamin A include eggs, liver, and full-cream dairy products.
Vital has introduced Vital Kids Immune Support (200ml, R89), a delicious raspberry-flavoured syrup packed with the immune-support nutrients vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc.
In adults, the challenge with immune support is more complex. Nutrient shortages are exacerbated by poor eating habits, the increased requirements of pressured lifestyles and nutrient depletion due to smoking and the use of medication. Important nutrients to help stave off winter colds and flu are Vitamin C and D. Du Plessis advises eating guavas and oranges, which both contain concentrated doses of vitamin C.
Sunlight plays an important role in the production of vitamin D, so during the cloudy months, stock up on eggs and tinned oily fish to help get your recommended daily dose of vitamin D.
“Busy lifestyles, lack of sleep and exercise; and stress are all major factors that put the immune system under strain,” says Du Plessis.
Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week will help stimulate your immune system. And try to get enough sleep: losing even just one hour of sleep can decrease your body’s defences the next day.
Vital Immune Support Tablets (30, R89) are expertly formulated with immune-supporting vitamins and minerals to help improve immune function.
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