Our guest blogger today is Sarah Rotheram. You may have met her around the centre, as she is our in-house qualified Naturopath and Kinesiologist! Sarah has a huge passion for maintaining health and complete wellbeing. In this blog, Sarah shares some great simple tips for how you can strengthen your immune system. Take it away Sarah…
We are all living through uncertain and challenging times during this pandemic. It can be extremely difficult to switch off from the outside noise and things that are completely out of our control.
What does this have to do with my immune system, you ask?
Fear, stress and worry can have a catastrophic effect on our nervous system, immune system and overall health. This is due to the likely disruption of our sleep quality, hormone regulation and gut microbiome, just to mention a few. On top of this, our bodies are overwhelmed with our modern day diet of refined sugars, alcohol, processed foods, artificial flavours, excessive screen time, exposure to toxins, chemicals, sedentary lifestyles and lack of time outdoors. What chance are we really giving our immune system to be strong and robust, to respond to any kind of threat to our health?
This time calls for personal responsibility! Now, is the time for you to take your own health and wellbeing into your own hands, one (achievable) piece at a time. Here are some simple ways to strengthen your immune system through diet, supplementation and lifestyle choices which you can start today:
Hydration | Stay hydrated by drinking 2-3 litres of filtered water daily. Our body is made up of 90% water and our immune system relies on our blood stream to transport fluids, nutrients, and communicate to our vital organs to function effectively. Water is also effective in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it can help prevent toxins from building up and harming your immune system.
Diet | “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates (The Father of Medicine)
Think of food as medicine! A healthy diet is the key to a strong immune system. Eating a whole food diet (preferably organic) with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Reduce processed sugary goods as these suppress our immune function.
Balance of Gut Microbiome | Our gut and immune system are closely linked with about 70-80% of our immune tissue being situated in the digestive track. Healthy gut microbiota helps to regulate immune homeostasis and can help trigger the immune system to eliminate viral infections. This can be done with the supplementation of probiotics along with prebiotic foods such as fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kim chi, coconut water kefir, kombucha), garlic, onion, linseeds, dandelion greens, slippery elm and psyllium husks.
Nutrients to Strengthen the Immune System
Zinc | Helps the immune system fight off bacteria and has strong anti-viral properties. Foods that are rich in zinc include, fish (especially oysters), meat, poultry, whole grains, pumpkin seeds and nuts.
Vitamin C | Is an essential nutrient needed for immune support. Consume vitamin C rich foods such as – paw paw, oranges, lemons, limes, capsicums, rockmelon, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, tomato’s, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, cabbage and berries.
Vitamin A | Reduces viral replication and is needed for a healthy immune response. Consume carrot, sweet potato, beetroot, greens, spinach and kale.
Vitamin D | Can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Eat fatty fish, butter, cheese, eggs or safe sun exposure for your vitamin D hit.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids | Are important modulators of inflammatory and adaptive immune responses. Eat wild caught oily fish; mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, avocado, nuts, seeds, hemp oil/seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and tahini.
Selenium | Helps against oxidative stress and immune response. Eating one brazil nut a day ensures you reach your daily intake of selenium! You can also find this mineral in seafood.
Medicinal Foods | Broths, green tea, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, turmeric and fresh herbs.
Supplements To Help Reduce Viral Load (see a qualified Naturopath or Nutritionist)
Quercetin | Anti-viral properties, anti-oxidant, immune-protective.
Vitamin C | Immune modulation, cytokines modulating, anti-inflammatory.
Zinc | Anti-oxidant, anti-viral properties.
Vitamin D | Immune modulator.
N-acetyl cysteine | Improves white blood status, anti-oxidant.
Immune Herbs | Echinacea, mushrooms (turkey tail, reishi, cordyceps, shiitake), lemon balm, astragalus, catclaw, elderberry, green tea and st john’s wort.
You can also make several lifestyle changes to help strengthen your immune system.
Things like exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, managing your stress levels, meditation, breathwork, cold therapy, infrared saunas, float therapy, spending time out in nature and socialising with those that you love. These are all small actions you can take that significantly boost endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, helping you to become a thriving human!
Whilst getting started can seem overwhelming, find an area that you feel is most achievable and seek out expertise from reputable sources. We are blessed to have incredible Naturopaths, Nutritionists, Personal Trainers/Coaches, Yoga & Meditation Teachers and world class facilities all around us here in Australia.
You absolutely owe it to yourself to have a healthy, happy and wonderful life!