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Get through winter in great health!

As we head into winter, we wanted to touch on keeping yourself healthy throughout the winter to optimise not only your health but also your productivity.  Nothing derails goals like being sick, so let’s begin by looking at key lifestyle strategies that not only reduce your likelihood of catching a cold, but also protect your health in many other ways.

Get enough sleep

One of the most important healthy habits is to routinely grab at least seven hours of sleep per night. And don’t be embarrassed if you need more; for adults, “normal” sleep duration ranges from 7-+ hours of shut-eye every 24 hours.

Smiling attractive young women in winter

You could fill several books with what we’re learning about the benefits of sleep, including memory consolidation, mood stabilization, and insight formation. But one thing that’s been clear for a long time is that sleep supports your immune system, and you need enough of it on a regular basis for optimal protection from pathogens.

Not sleeping leads to inflammation in the body, which increases your chances of catching a cold. 

Minimise stress

Your body experiences stress in response to perceived threats. The problem isn’t that your body automatically revs up to run away from a predator. It’s that our minds can see threats — and instruct our bodies to react against them — on a chronic basis.

The alarm clock going off? Stress response. An unfriendly email from a coworker? Stress response. A traffic jam on the freeway? Fight or flight, even if it’s got nothing to do with survival.

Being chronically stressed wastes huge amounts of energy, and a lot of that energy comes from an immune system that’s in constant reaction mode. Over time, chronic stress can exhaust your immune system and lower immunity leading to a reduction in the number of natural killer cells in your body. This leaves you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria.


While moderate exercise can enhance the effectiveness of the immune system (as well as enhancing metabolic health, brain health, mood, and self-control), that doesn’t necessarily mean that more is always better. It turns out that frequent rounds of high-intensity exercise can actually lower immunity.

But if you keep it moderate, a regular exercise routine can trigger your immune system to produce anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects throughout your body. 

Keep your hands clean

When washing, go for a good lather, as soap tends to work mechanically rather than chemically. The lather forms pockets called micelles that trap and remove germs, harmful chemicals, and dirt from your hands.

And get in the habit of not touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands to prevent virus transmission through mucous membranes.

Eat a diet rich in whole plant foods

Your immune system thrives on good nutrition, while poor eating habits can weaken it. Just like us, plants have to defend themselves against pathogens. And since they can’t run away, they rely on chemical means to repel and destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When you eat those plants, you ingest some of those compounds for your own immune system to deploy. Thus, food is one of the best types of natural cold remedies.

One class of immune-boosting plant nutrients is antioxidants, which are essential for disease prevention. While all foods contain some antioxidants, plant foods are the primary source, containing, on average, 64 times more antioxidants than animal-based foods.

Whole plant foods also contain several micronutrients that have been shown to protect against viral illness, including zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, and others.

Keep up good habits right through the winter and you could avoid many of those nasties that float around or crawl around…they have many modes of transport!

Stay warm and healthy!


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