When was the last time you saw some sun?

Getting adequate levels of Vitamin D is essential in winter. Vitamin D could rightly be described as a "miracle nutrient" for your immune system as it enables your body to produce well over 200 antimicrobial peptides which are indispensable in fighting off a wide range of infections.You are up to 11 times likely to get a cold if you are low in Vitamin D. Most of us will be getting low in Vitamin D in late winter. We recommend Clinicians Sunshine Vitamin D for a top up at this time of the year and spending some time outside with arms and legs exposed.

Wash hands

Sounds simple but it's the number one way to stop the spread of germs. Experts recommend washing hands every few hours and in particular after using the toilet and before meals. Give them a wash after touching someone else's phone or keyboard at work.

Dose up on vitamins and minerals

Iron, zinc and vitamin C are also key to a healthy immune system. But before popping supplements, boost your dietary intake of these substances. Look for dark, leafy greens and red and yellow vegetables, which are all high in antioxidants.

Rest up

Regular sleep is vital to staying healthy. Don't let yourself get run down. Those who aren't well rested are more likely to get sick.

Keep exercising

It's hard to get motivated when it's cold and dark, but your body has to work overtime to get warm, so you can burn more kilojoules on that early morning walk or run. Find an exercise partner to keep you motivated and if it's too cold outside, go to the gym or do laps at an indoor pool.

Clean up winter mould

Mould can trigger nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, respiratory infections and worsen asthma and allergic conditions. So move your spring clean forward to autumn.

Save your skin

Cold air, wind and heating will dry out your skin, so keep your face and body well moisturised.

Stay hydrated

Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. If cold water is unappealing when the mercury dips, try boiled water with a slice of lemon. The moisture will also help make mucous membranes, including those in your sinuses, more resistant to bacteria.

Go with your gut!

With 70-80% of your immune tissue located in your digestive system, a healthy gut could be the key to a healthier winter. Probiotics are the good bacteria naturally found in many fermented foods. Getting a good dose from foods like sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, yoghurt, kefir and kombucha or a Probiotic Supplement will help to boost your healthy bacteria levels, restoring the balance needed to keep your immune system strong.

Eat well

Keep your immune system in shape by making sure you're eating a healthy diet. For your body to be able to respond to infection, it needs to have enough protein, so enjoy lean meat, fish and poultry.

Get vaccinated

The seasonal flu jab provides 12 months of cover against the major strains of flu including the 2009 pandemic swine flu. If you're considered at risk (for example over 65, pregnant, or have a chronic illness), the government picks up the tab.

Quit smoking

Smokers are far more susceptible to upper respiratory infections, which tend to strike in winter. Even if you're a social smoker, now's a good time to quit and clear your airways.

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