As you all know, winter is on its way… and so is the flu season! It seems that every year it hits more and more of us down, with weakened immune systems due to poor nutrition and lack of essential minerals. This year already, flu rates are higher than ever and as they say, prevention is the best cure! Here are a few simple tips that can help you feel fit and healthy and keep any nasty winter germs at bay. Reduce Stress: Everyone at some point in the lives feels stressed. Whether it is from your job, a relationship or money, we have all felt it. Stress is a normal part of life but when high levels of stress drag on for long periods of time, this is when it can be damaging, suppressing your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and flus. Of course, there are days when we would all love to run away to a private island for an hour of peace and quiet out of our busy lives- but how do you manage stress when a holiday is not on the horizon anytime soon? Here are some tips in managing stress levels, before it becomes a health problem and has a snowball effect! Time Management- By effectively managing your time and following a routine, diary and structure your day becomes more predictable, without meetings and deadlines creeping up on you. Write to do lists- By writing daily, weekly and monthly lists you know what is a priority today, for the week and not due for a month. This way you will feel less overwhelmed with a task list in front of you. Prepare for the day- pack your meals, organise your clothes and set up the day in the best organised manner you can to start your day on a positive note! Enjoy the little things and learn to laugh about the things out of your control. Exercise regularly, even a 10 minute walk is better than nothing! Enjoy time outdoors in the fresh air, vitamin D will help your stress levels too! Get enough sleep!!! Don't watch tv in bed, go to bed at a reasonable time and try to sleep without an air conditioner on. Sleep 8 Hours: Lack of sleep not only leaves us feeling slow and sluggish, studies show that if we do not get enough sleep, the number of antibodies our immune system makes is reduced by half!! When our bodies are tired and run down from lack of a good nights rest, we are more likely to catch colds or other infections. Some key points to ensuring a good night sleep: Set a regular bedtime, a good routine will assist your body in preparing for good nights sleep! Wake up at the same time. Don't watch tv in bed. Ensure you are not hungry before bed. Write any last minute things you need to do the following day down, so that you are not thinking about them all night long. Winter weather is made for cuddling, make the most of it! Make Breakfast a Must: Whoever said “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, was absolutely right! Skipping breakfast can lead you to problems when is comes to losing weight and actually keeping it off. A good nutritious breakfast sets you up for the day ahead. It kick-starts your metabolism and tells your digestive system to fire up. A breakfast rich in folate and magnesium has immune boosting properties that help to fight off colds and flues. So start the day right and eat a healthy breakfast everyday. I have created a blog, with free recipes for some of my favourite smoothies, these make great breakfasts on the run for those with busy lives! Drink 2-3 Litres of Water a Day: Water is like liquid gold to our bodies. It helps to balance our body’s fluid level, energises our muscles and improves bowel function. Adding a slice of lemon to water will give your bodies a natural flush and helps your body perform its jobs most effectively. Drinking lots of water also improves skin quality giving our skin a natural glow. Did you know a HUGE 70% of Australian's are suffering with extreme dehydration? Dehydration can lead to many problems, that can be easily fixed by ensuring adequate water intake. Ensure you are getting enough Vitamin C: We associate vitamin c with oranges and citrus fruits, but did you know there are many other foods high in vitamin c to assist our immune systems? Capsicum Kale Broccoli Papaya Strawberries Power Up With Proteins: Not getting enough protein in your diet can weaken your immune system. Protein is packed full of the amino acids our bodies need for growth and repair. Protein boosts your immune system so it can fight against nasty infections that attack. A diet rich in protein supports a strong and healthy immune system so make sure you try to include fish, eggs, veggies and grains in your diet! These are just a few of the many ways we can help our bodies beat colds and flues this season. Remember prevention is the best cure so if we can take the steps to strengthen our immune system, our bodies will be much better off.