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Are you ready for winter?

01/03/2016

Are-you-ready-for-winter
Here are some great tips on how to prepare for winter and build your immune system during autumn.

With the inevitable drop in temperature comes the increase in winter colds and flu’s.

To help support your immune system in preparation for winter, there are some things you can do during the autumn months that are simple but effective.

1. Natural products and Consistency

When taking any natural remedy to support your wellbeing and immune system, at Comvita, we provide a range of natural products that fit the bill if taken consistently.

Consistency is the key factor when preparing for colder weathers. This includes our Olive Leaf Extract, Propolis, Winter Wellness and UMF Manuka Honey products.

  • Comvita Fresh-Picked™ Olive Leaf Extract contains a range of plant polyphenols that work as antioxidants in the body, shown in ORAC testing to contain 5 times the antioxidant power of Vitamin C.
  • Propolis is made by bees from the resin of particular trees to create a bioflavonoid-rich substance that keeps hives free from infection. For us, Propolis works to maintain a healthy immune system to keep colds and flu’s at bay.
  • The Winter Wellness range contains a number of our star ingredients, such as UMF® Manuka Honey and Propolis, to help with coughs, colds and flu’s, as well as supporting the immune system to get back to normal as soon as possible.

2.    Sleep

As simple as it may seem, getting enough sleep is one of the main regulators of the immune system and how it functions. In fact, sleep patterns not only affect the immune system, but in many other functions in the body, such as cardiovascular health, endocrine function and inflammatory responses.

According to the research published in ‘Sleep Medicine Reviews’, chronic sleep deprivation is classed as less than 6 hours sleep per night on a regular basis and, over time, has been associated with a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, neovascular age-related macular degeneration and hypertension (1).

If you are having problems sleeping, there are some simple options you can try, such as limiting screen time for at least a couple of hours before bed, practicing meditation and relaxation, establishing a bed-time ritual and making sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive. If you are still having trouble, talk to your healthcare professional about ways of getting a better night’s sleep.

3.    Managing Stress

Stress is a combination of challenging or difficult circumstances that the body response to, which has been shown to have a strong connection to the immune system.

Research shows that even short-term stress lasting a few minutes results in mobilization of cells of the immune system to be ready in case there is injury or infection. While this is essential for short bursts of stress, chronic or long-term stress over weeks or even years can result in dysregulation of the immune system and increased risk for chronic diseases and latent virus activation (2).

The Australian Psychological Society recommends these destressing techniques:

  • Learn to identify the warning signs of getting stressed. These will vary from person to person and can be something as subtle as a clenched jaw or feeling irritable.
  • Identify the ‘triggers’ or the things or situations that are usually guaranteed to stress you out. Once you can successfully recognise potential stressors before coming into contact with them, it is easier to think ahead, calm yourself down and stay calm when you know they may happen or learn to avoid them.
  • Routines are important for decreasing stress levels so establish a daily or weekly timetable to help keep you calm. Be sure to include not only essentials like work, study and other commitments, but also exercise, relaxation and fun activities that you enjoy.
  • Eat well, making sure to include lots of fresh vegetables into your diet. If you have a medical condition or are just unsure as to what foods you should be eating, it can help to talk to a dietician or nutritionist about what foods are right for you.
  • Get into the habit of doing regular exercise that you enjoy (and are therefore more likely to do) and that makes you feel good.
  • Spend time with family and/or friends who make you feel good and care about you.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. There are a wide range of techniques and suggestions around, so there should be one to choose from that works for you.

So build up or maintain your immune system this approaching winter by taking Olive Leaf Extract, Propolis or products from the Winter Wellness range, sleeping and eating well, taking control of your stress and incorporating exercise into your daily routine.

References

  1. Faraut, B., Boudjeltia, K. Z., Vanhamme, L., & Kerkhofs, M. (2012). Immune, inflammatory and cardiovascular consequences of sleep restriction and recovery. Sleep medicine reviews, 16(2), 137-149.
  2. Morey, J. N., Boggero, I. A., Scott, A. B., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2015). Current directions in stress and human immune function. Current Opinion in Psychology, 5, 13-17.