It?s officially winter, isn?t it? It?s chilly and gloomy outside and cuddling under the duvet all day long with a cup of hot chocolate in hand sounds pretty tempting, I’m not gonna lie.
But with Christmas just around the corner there is not much time for that. Plus, the hype surrounding the festive season has definitely inspired me to be constantly out and about, choosing decorations for my flat, looking for unique and personalised presents, while simultaneously managing my work projects. 
However, have you noticed that it?s precisely during this time of the year when we tend to indulge a bit more often in unhealthy foods, walking around town with lacking enough vitamin D, thinking about our health only after falling ill.
Let me tell you a story.
In my 2nd year of university there was a mumps outbreak. Even though I?d been previously vaccinated, unfortunately I ended up getting infected. I was immediately put under quarantine with the nurse prescribing me Paracetamol to soothe the pain. And as I have high pain tolerance I thought that I wouldn?t need any tablets? Well, I was wrong!

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The pain was so excruciating that I had to turn to the tablets to get immediate relief. Little did I know back than that my system would end up so sick and tired of my excessive painkillers intake (I?d been also on quite heavy painkillers in the hopes to numb my period pains) that it would eventually develop an allergy towards everything that contains Paracetamol/Ibuprofen which are basically found in each and every tablet that you’d normally take when you’re ill and have fever. Brilliant, eh?  And as I completely refuse to go back to the hospital because of my drug allergy (that makes my lips expand twice their size, and no it doesn’t suit my face, and cover my  entire body with rash) I had to learn to boost my immune system myself without relaying on tablets.

So after this quite of a prelude, I wanna share with you my secrets to avoid getting sick without having to pay the pharmacy a visit.
1. Train Your Immune System Like A Soldier:
You’ve heard how solider have to wake up early to complete their morning workouts out in the cold? Well, I don?t really recommend you do that, however, there is certainly a lesson to learn from them.

Cease layering your body with tons of clothes as you’ll eventually end up spoiling your it. Then what will happen is that every time a door gets slide open with some cold air creeping back inside, your nose will start running, notifying you that you’re on your way of getting an annoying cold. 
Provide your body with tons of VITAMINS. TONS of them. And you know, I cannot really understand people who take multivitamin tablets in the hopes of boosting their immune system when there are so many other ways to naturally supply your body with them. Rather than gulping tons of tablets, why not turn to the old-fashioned way of providing your body with vitamins ? eat some fresh fruits and veggies! 
So you want to provide your body with Vitamin C? Stock your fridge with kiwis, tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, pomegranates and blueberries! And just think about it: it’s the citrus fruits season – so why not take full advantage of them? 

For Vitamin D (the one that the Sun  supplies us with) indulge in fatty fish: salmon, tuna; egg yolks and soy milk.
All unprocessed foods like whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, beans, yeast and molasses, garlic, beetroot will supply you with tons of much needed energy and with the most essential for your immune system – Vitamin B.
For some additional energy and strength – get your daily dose of iron that’s found in the soybeans, cereal, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils and spinach.
To ensure that your immune system is intact stock your body also with some Zinc. To name a few rich in Zinc food: spinach, cashews, beans and – wait for it ? dark chocolate, which according to recent research contains more than most fruit juices. Bliss, eh!? Come on, get it out of the cupboard 🙂 

Having clarified the importance of your daily vitamin intake, I ensure to always start my day with either freshly squeezed juice, home-made smoothie, or if in rush with any other fruit that I could munch into on my way out. No matter the season that?s the vitamin shot I take every single morning to start off my day.
2. Don?t worry be happy!
It?s been scientifically proven that when you excessively worry about getting sick, your cortisol and epinephrine levels rise and weaken your immune system!
And in my experience that?s 100% true! Even when I feel a bit poorly I refuse to stay in bed and act like a victim to the illness. Instead I stock my fridge with tons of vitamins in the form of fruits and veggies, drink plenty of water and tea and voila in a day or so I feel 10 times better. And as Northrup concludes: ‘Whenever nitric oxide levels are high — from anything ranging from positive thought to exercise – you’re actually improving your resistance to disease’
Which takes me to my next point:
3. Keep moving!
I know how tempting it actually is to stay at home and cease making any effort to hit the gym as often as you?d normally do prior to summer :). But let me tell you something, using the cold weather as an excuse is really quite lame.  Why? Coz you can always find an alternative way to exercise when you have no motivation to get out of your flat. For example, I’ve found a few great workouts online, which I complete every single morning. Not only do they wake my senses up, but also put the biggest smile back on my face! If you can still find a time to go to the gym, I recommend that you hit a Zumba or a Kangoo Jumps class, as from my experience they will certainly bring your endorphin levels up.
4. Socialise!

And now for all of you who might argue that joining an aerobics class means meeting tons of people who might be carrying and passing between each other nasty viruses, I’d like to say something back.
First, thumbs up to all extroverts out there! According to Sheldon Cohen , PhD, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, there are actually a few personality factors that are closely related to how your body will react when stumbling upon a virus. He found that introverts are more likely to get ill in comparison to extroverts when exposed to a virus.
‘The explanation isn’t that extroverts interact with more people, and therefore have immunity to that virus. There’s something about being extroverted that seems to protect people.’ So come on guys! Go out and meet up with your friends!
5. Get enough sleep! 

Actually over the last couple of days I?ve been feeling quite poorly due to my lack of sleep. Since I started working in a club I?ve been sleeping less than I?d normally do and unfortunately no matter how much I try to sleep during the day, there is not substitute for the good night sleep. So currently, I?m trying to get at least 8 hours of sleep, 5 days a week, which will certainly raise my melatonin levels up and improve my overall immunity. 
6. Go Red and Green
Yes, red wine is way too rich in antioxidants to miss out on it! So why not have a few sips of it with your yummy dinner? 
Also, rather than having only black tea, it?s time that you go for the green. I know that green tea is not to everyone?s taste, however, today there are some great alternatives to the plain green tea. Why not try Twinning?s Salted Caramel Green Tea instead (here)? It?s not only delicious but will also boost in no time your energy levels up!
7. Keep your hands away from your face 
Especially when you’re out and about you don’t want to allow any viruses coming near your face. Aw, and let me debunk this myth: when its freezing cold you?re actually less likely to get a virus as viruses tend to also freeze! Worry if the temperature skyrockets up, as that?s when the viruses start spreading like a plague.
8. The Holy Trio: Honey, Lemon and Ginger! 

What I?d normally have whenever I feel a bit down or simply for a quick boost of energy ? I either add some of this magical mixture to my tea, or have a spoonful of it.

So slice some lemons in a jar, great some ginger, and then add enough honey to fill in the whole jar. It?s both yummy and incredibly beneficial!
Aw. and here you go a few facts about the great benefits of the Holly Ginger: Fights the Flu/Cold; Detoxifies the body/Clears Sinuses/ Pahrodisiac/ Reduces Muscle Pain and Inflamantion/ Helps ease migrains and menstrual pain/ Alleviates motion sickness and nausea.
Nuff said.

I hope my few secrets helped. If you have any other tips and tricks for boosting up the immune system let me know in the comments below. 

Next Tuesday, I?ll be sharing some home remedies to get better if you?ve already fallen a victim to the flu <3
With all my love,

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