There’s so much information out there right now. But most of that is just focussed on the fear – how many people have died and what precautions you should take so you don’t end up with the same fate. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this pandemic isn’t cause for concern but instead of worrying about all the things you can’t control, focus on the things you CAN. Your health being one.
You see, the health of your immune system is what controls if you get symptoms from any sort of virus. Or ultimately an auto-immune condition like thyroidism or arthritis. In order for your immune system to work efficiently, it requires more than just a Vitamin C and Zinc tablet every day.
So I’m going to discuss some things you can do to improve your immune system and as a result, your overall health.
It’s important to understand that the immune system isn’t just located in one part of your body. It’s in your blood, cell membranes and lymphatic system among other areas. But what you may not know if that 70% of your immune system is held in the gut.
Yep, you read that correctly, 70%.
Once you realise that, you begin to understand how important it is to eat food that nourishes you rather than something that’s just convenient. Plus the impact eating poorly on a regular basis can have on your overall health.
So obviously, you need to be eating well. And that means plenty of green leafy veg such as spinach, kale, savoy cabbage and broccoli. Deficiency in folate, which is what green leafy veggies contain in abundance, has been shown to have a direct impact on your immunity. People don’t tend to get enough of this in the diet and I know some of you may not be a fan of kale – trust me, I’m not – but if you chop it up really small and add it to a home-made curry (not from a jar!) or a stir fry, you don’t tend to notice it.
It’s all about thinking of ways to ‘liven up’ the dishes you normally have. Who says you can’t add chickpeas to your chilli or mash peas in with your potato topping on a fish pie? Throw convention out of the window and try new things.
Reduce your wheat intake. Your body generally doesn’t process this very well (particularly with the grade of wheat used in products these days and the additional nasties that are added) and this will have an effect on how well your gut functions. Alcohol is one a lot of people struggle to avoid or reduce. If you are one to have a drink every night or binge at weekends (even if it’s just once a month) rather than just consuming alcohol every so often, you are more likely you are to have what’s called ‘leaky gut’. This is where the cells of the gut lining separate more than they should, allowing large food particles to seep through into the ‘external’ body. The result being the immune system tries to fight off these ‘intruders’ and the result is increased inflammation. If your body is under constant stress trying to deal with the foreign objects swimming around outside the gut, your immune system will obviously be compromised and you’re more likely to pick up colds and flu. It’s also a path to more severe conditions like arthritis, thyroid issues and fibromyalgia.
Ever wonder why you drink loads throughout the day but just end up going to the toilet a million times? It’s because tap water is actually not that hydrating unfortunately. It’s devoid of most minerals and therefore just goes straight through you rather than doing its job and hydrating the cells. Filtered water, either through a Brita jug or good quality bottled water with a very small amount of Himalayan pink salt/electrolytes added, will ensure that the water actually enters the cells in your body and truly hydrate you. And hydrated cells work better – it’s as simple as that!
The lymphatic system has a key role in maintaining your immunity. It isn’t just located in the ‘glands’ that you hear people talk about when they have a cold, it’s a network across the entire body. It is the first line of defence against disease and where the production of immune cells is located. In order for the lymphatic system to work efficiently, we need to move throughout the day. This is so the muscles can massage the veins (where the lymph fluid has been emptied and containing all the bacteria/foreign matter) and move the waste towards the kidneys for clearance. Whether its a 5 mile jog or 10 minutes of yoga, it will all help.
Your circadian rhythm can be regulated with light, temperature and even food. Sleep deprivation and/or quality have been shown to have a direct impact on immune function. Also, the ability of your immune cells to deal with pathogens varies throughout the day. That’s why it’s ideal to keep to your normal routine (as best you can at the moment!). Get up whenever you would usually on a working day and eat at the same times. If you can have half an hour outside that will also help boost your immune system via increased Vitamin D levels. Plus the sun is a natural mood booster, which we can all do with!
Ideally you want to be doing exercise at the beginning of the day and wind down as the day continues. If you can, stop all electrical ‘stimulation’ i.e watching tv or scrolling through Facebook, at least 45 minutes before you go to bed. You can’t expect to be asleep when you’re brain has been processing something it saw 10 minutes earlier. It’s also important that when you go to bed, the room isn’t too hot – or cold – and that you have as few electrical items in the bedroom as possible. You’re trying to give your body the best possible environment so that you drift off within 10 minutes.
An increase in cortisol has a direct impact on your immune function because it reduces the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells) in the body. Reducing stress may seem like an obvious one but there are things you can do immediately. One of them is don’t watch the news! There’s so much stuff broadcast that makes you fearful and isn’t always in your best interests. Just be careful where you get your information from, look at who may stand to gain from a particular outcome.
I’m not interested in conspiracy theories, I just try and look for the evidence rather than hearsay.
Stress can also be increased by things you do on a daily basis. Trying to cram too much into one day, smoking, poor diet. These all put stress on your body in various ways, which means it, can’t function optimally. Take some time for yourself each day (I meditate in the morning). If that means you have to say “no” to a person who asks you to do something then do it. You won’t be able to help anyone if you aren’t looking after yourself and that sometimes means putting you first.
My mantra is this: Don’t worry about things you can’t control. It will only make you more stressed. (Yes it takes practice!)
Supplements should be the last addition once you’ve got the above sorted. They should preferably be ‘prescribed’ by someone who knows what you are deficient in. Please don’t buy things from a standard pharmacy or over the counter, they are low quality. Ones you order online through a reputable company are going to be more expensive but are more potent and therefore you require less of them.
Some things to note. Capsules are the least effective. Not ineffective but your body has to work hard to break down the shell. 1) This will be a waste of energy and 2) they have to get to your digestive system before they can start being absorbed. Powders are the next best as they are ‘bio-available’ i.e they are ready for your body to use immediately upon entering the system plus more of the product enters the bloodstream. Plus they are easier on your digestion than a capsule.
As you can see, despite everything that is going on you are absolutely able to improve your immune function very quickly right from home, it just takes the smallest step forward. We all know that some people want that extra bit of accountability and there is even evidence out there that shows it can get you around 95% better results by getting it so if you’d like to talk about getting your own personalised immune boosting program in place then contact us now