Supplementing your diet this winter

Just when everything is slowly getting back on track, we go and write a blog about how to combat cold and flu-like symptoms.

But in all honesty, now is precisely the right time of the year to highlight what you can do to maintain a healthy immune system and to give it the best chance of fighting those pesky microbes that can affect your wellbeing.

Feeling “under the weather” has happened to the best of us. It’s natural, as no one is impervious to nature’s dark forces. So let Models Direct give all our models (and no-model readers) the advice that will have you skipping through winter and feeling your best as the nights draw in.

First things first: what do we mean by our “immune system”? What is it? Well, we all have one, although the “system” is in fact many biological processes that protect an organism from diseases or other foreign conditions to maintain our optimal working state. Our immune system is a huge, multifaceted group of cells, proteins, organs and antibodies that works constantly to detect and prevent harmful invasion of viruses, bacteria and parasites.

One of the best known elements of our immune system are white blood cells (leukocytes), which circulate the body and monitor the presence of pathogens. On a more rudimentary level, your nose hair is also part of our immune system, as they collect moisture and filter foreign particles from entering the nasal cavity. Now, we bet you didn’t know your nasal hair is part of our immune system! Another immune fact: 70% of our immune system is found in our digestive system (our gut!)

The most effective way to maintain an effective immune system is to stick to a healthy, balanced diet, to exercise, and to get some proper sleep. But which are the best supplements to take to help our immune system stay in tip-top condition and keep those pathogens at bay?

·       Vitamin C – A water-soluble vitamin, also known as ascorbic acid. Our bodies don’t store it, so we have to obtain this well-known vitamin from foods such as citrus fruits and vegetables. Supplements are widespread and easily procured. It is commonly used to boost our immune system.

·       Vitamin D – Usually obtained by UV light from the sun, this vitamin is turned into a hormone called calcitriol. Cool, huh?

·       Echinacea – a flowering plant that is used as a remedy for colds.

·       Folic acid – a water-soluble vitamin that helps form red blood cells.

·       Selenium – An essential mineral and antioxidant.

·       Zinc – This important micronutrient affects how our cells respond to infections, and can reduce inflammation.

·       Cod liver oil – contains fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Stick to a healthy lifestyle (don’t forget to drink plenty of water!) and don’t be afraid to try these supplements in conjunction with a sensible diet. As ever with supplements and medication in general, it’s advisable to consult with your doctor or GP before using.

Stay healthy, be safe, and we all should get through this winter without any major scrapes!