It's that time of the year again – when Jack Frost nips at our noses, and the common cold creeps in like an uninvited party guest.
Yes, it's officially poorly season! But let's be honest, as busy mums, we don't get the memo that it's okay to be unwell. Our little ones need us, and the washing certainly won't wash itself, will it?
So, how do we navigate the wintry challenges of being poorly while still maintaining our supermum status? Fear not, because I'm here to share some tips and tricks to help you prevent and conquer those winter illnesses like a champ!
1. The Fundamentals - As obvious as it may sound,... regularly exercising, prioritising sleep and eating a nutrient dense, balanced diet is probably the easiest way to prevent colds and other illnesses. General self-care is essential for your health.
2. Green Veggies - Did you know? Studies show that eating cruciferous vegetables sends a chemical signal to the body that boosts specific cell-surface proteins for efficient immune-system function! Cruciferous vegetables include: cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and similar green leaf vegetables.
3. Vitamin D - With the sun well and truly hiding now until next year, it is important to get your daily dose of Vitamin D which most of us fall short on. Low Vitamin D levels can not only cause a weakened immune system but also symptoms such as poor bone growth and cardiovascular problems. Try and get as much daylight as possible and include food sources high in Vitamin D like egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon and canned tuna. You can also find good Vitamin D supplements to support you over the winter months when our intake is lower. Choose a supplement that contains D3 as it is better at raising your blood levels of Vitamin D.
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4. Activity & Exercise - Regular movement and activity increases the movement of white blood cells. White blood cells are the body's immune system cells which help to fight disease and illness. When we exercise the white blood cells move more rapidly and can detect illness earlier than they might have before.
5. Rest up - Sleep is one of the most underrated forms of supporting our immune system and those who sleep more show a greater resistance against viruses. This also applies to disturbed sleep, so Mummas with little ones, get that sleep training in and make a schedule where possible where Dad can take over and Mummy gets the night off sometimes too!
6. Chill out - Cortisol helps the body to fight disease and inflammation. The constant release of the hormone in people who are chronically stressed lessens its overall effectiveness. Did you know? Caffeine increases your cortisol hormone and too much can lead to negative health affects, try reducing your caffeine and including more hot drinks like green tea.
Prevention is always the best method. However it is inevitable we will get ill at some point. Germs just have a way of hanging around for the right moment ... so how do you keep your diet and fitness on track if you are sick?
1. Taking a break is ok! When you are fighting off a a bad flu, your body needs rest! It is already working over time trying to ward off infection. There is NO scientific evidence that you can sweat out a cold, however, some people may find some relief from light exercise as exercise releases happy hormones and can subside pain. Dependant on how bad you feel will determine what you can do. Literally listening to your body is the best thing you can do right now.
2. Cravings? For some people feeling ill supresses their hunger. For me I become a monster craving animal wanting everything and anything sweet or carb heavy. The reason we have these cravings is like the relief you get from exercise, eating indulgent foods releases hormones that influence our mood making us feel better for a little while. But, eating healthy is more important than ever when you are not well, your body needs all the extra support it can get!
3. Hydrate! Staying properly hydrated will alleviate your symptoms so you feel better faster and can help your immune system to work efficiently.
So the answer isn't rocket science, lots of rest, lots of water and plenty of nutrient dense foods and then as you feel better you can start to slowly increase your activity back to full blown Supermum mode!
Want to learn more about getting healthy and preventing unwanted illness and feeling the best version of yourself? Check out the fit mum Diet Coaching programme and not only can you work on getting healthy but you can get in the best shape of your life and feel incredible! All without giving up the foods you love.
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