Ever wonder what happens to our bodies when the temperatures rise and fall as the year passes? Why is it we’re more prone to get sick during certain months of the year?
It may seem like our bodies go through seasonal changes and the fun fact is that they do! Learn more about how your body copes with the changes of the season and what you can do to help your body manage.
Seasons Come and Go
The changing of seasons is as inevitable as the passage of time. From sweating through the summer days to shivering during the cold winter nights, our bodies put up with a lot as the year progresses.
But what exactly helps our bodies regulate and get through these changes relatively unscathed? It’s our immune system.
What is the Immune System?
An immune system is something we all have, and it is actually made-up of cells, tissues, chemicals, and organs which all work together to keep us fighting fit.
The primary function of the immune system is to protect the body from infection. To do this, the body produces white blood cells which act as fighters against foreign invaders, like viruses, bacteria, and irregular cells.
The white blood cells work by identifying the foreign particles that have entered the body, they then produce antibodies to help fight it. When your immune system is working well, these functions will occur, and it will also memorize the attack, so that if these foreign particles enter the body again, your immune system will recognise it and actually respond quickly.
However, because there are so many components that make up the immune system, it’s inevitable that things can go wrong. Sometimes, our immune systems can be overactive or underactive. And sometimes, our immune systems can be weakened by lifestyle factors.
Overactivity of the immune system is usually related to allergies and autoimmune illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis. They are caused by the immune system overworking and attacking normal cells and components of the body.
An underactive immune system can be a result of illnesses and medical treatments, or people can be born with an underactive immune system. When your immune system is underactive, this can result in an increased risk of infection.
A weakened immune system can be caused by lifestyle factors including prolonged periods of high stress, lack of sleep, a diet lacking in fruit and vegetables, little activity or exercise, vitamin D deficiencies and anxiety.
How do the Seasons Affect the Immune System?
There are two main factors when it comes to the seasons affecting the immune system.
The first being the change in weather. As the weather gets cooler, the parts of the immune system that do the heavy lifting become more and more active. So, they are working hard to fight off illnesses and viruses, like colds and flu, which are more common during the cooler months.
Interestingly, the colder weather can trigger conditions such as arthritis, and these genes are working hard to ease the discomfort associated with this condition as well.
If your immune system is weakened or not at its best, you may find it difficult to stave off colds and flu, or you make take a lot longer to get over them.
The second major factor is lifestyle influenced. The changing of the seasons coincides with many celebrations, holidays, and life events, all of which can raise stress levels. It’s as important as ever during these times to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking the time to relax when you can and eating a balanced diet.
Superfoods for the Seasons
A simple thing you can do to make the changing of the seasons and the added pressure on your immune system easier to manage is modify your diet. In addition to fruits and vegetables, there are some incredible superfoods that can help supercharge the strength of your immune system and keep you fighting fit.
We put together a few of our favourite immune strengthening superfoods.
Siberian Pine Needles
Hailed as being a bit of an all-purpose healer, Siberian Pine Needle Tea has become a popular addition to many people’s routine. Known as the natural antiseptic in Russia, Siberian pine needles contain incredibly high levels of Vitamin C. As you may be aware, Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is vital for a whole host of bodily functions – from boosting the immune system to aiding the production of collagen in the body which can lead to an improved appearance of skin.
But it’s not only the benefits of Vitamin C that you can enjoy with pine needle tea! Pine needles also contain high levels of Vitamin A, which helps keep your immune system working properly. Vitamin A also plays a role in keeping your vision healthy, in red blood reproduction and regeneration of skin and hair.
It’s also pretty simple to make a cup of pine needle tea, all you need to do is crush or grind a couple of grams of the needles and brew in boiled water. Once it has steeped, just filter the tea and you’re on your way.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
The Lion’s Mane Mushroom has long been a favourite superfood and it’s for good reason. The Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been used for centuries throughout many Asian countries due to its nutritional benefits and the fact that it is super rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – all the things we need to keep us strong and healthy.
The benefits associated with Lion’s Mane Mushroom are most commonly associated with the brain, the gut and the heart. Some studies have found that lion’s mane may help stimulate the growth of brain cells because of some of the compounds that are found in lion’s mane. When it comes to your gut health, Lion’s mane is believed to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria which can cause stomach ulcers. And when it comes to heart health, research has found that lion’s mane may help reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
These are not the only benefits associated with Lion’s Mane Mushroom, but if we kept going, we might be here all day! You can try Lion’s mane for yourself with our Australian grown Lion’s Mane Mushroom here.
The maca root hails from the mountains of Peru and in recent years, has become one of the most popular superfoods in the health and fitness world due to its amazing health benefits. It is usually made into a powder or supplement form, and can be taken by itself through supplement capsules, or added into your favorite drinks and food.
What makes maca so beneficial is that it is packed with antioxidants which could improve how the immune system of the body functions, working to shield you from any damaging internal and external changes due to the seasonal shifts.
Maca has a subtle nutty flavor to it, and this makes it one of the best superfoods to add to your pre-workout smoothie, morning coffee, or oatmeal breakfast. You can even let your imagination run wild and include maca into sweet treats or in homemade protein energy bars.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Extract
This mushroom is called its unique name due to its unmistakable likeness to a turkey’s plumage. However, despite its eye-catching appearance, this magical mushroom has so much more in store for our bodies. It is widely known as a health booster which enriches the body’s immune system and has been used as a traditional herbal supplement for many years in cultures all over the world.
Some of the major benefits that the turkey tail mushroom extract provides include protecting our bodies against antioxidants, boosting one’s immune system, and balancing the gut environment within our bodies. It is a simple and effective way to revitalize our bodies during the changing of seasons, boosting our energy levels, and improving our bodies’ health and resilience against disease.
A Final Take
It’s important to do what we can to keep our bodies fit, healthy and well-protected all year round, and especially when the seasons change. One of the simplest ways you can help give your body the boost it needs to stay healthy is by nourishing it with the right foods.
And that’s where we come in. Here at Superfoods Australia, we stock a huge range of superfoods that you can easily add to your diet. From powdered extracts to tinctures, and everything in between, we’ve got your immunity boosting superfoods available to be shipped all over Australia.
Keep your body protected with Superfoods Australia.