There is so much information out there at the moment on “virus fighting strategies” so I would like to highlight 6 steps that are standard to boosting your immunity.
I have to be honest these are tips that I regularly direct clients, friends and family to every change of season being the most prevalent time for colds and flu. Regretfully many of the public messages we are hearing on health and hygiene are just common sense, things that my grandparents would naturally instil in me - washing hands, eating your veggies, going outside to play, covering your nose and mouth if sneezing or coughing, go to bed early but they have gone amiss! I hope if anything positive comes out of the current situation it will be a reminder that these things are always important for good reason.
Plato “The part can never be well unless the whole is well” its not about fixing one part, our bodies are wonderfully dynamic but they require fuelling on a few levels to ensure optimum function.
Whilst our immune system is centred in the gut there are certain ways to feed it and support it - 6 Steps
1. Vitamins A, C, D, and Zinc - protect against bacterial and viral infections by eating foods rich in these key vitamins. Please consider natural sources rather than supplements (largely unregulated).
Vitamin A - is found in some foods like egg yolks, milk and butter but beta-carotene, which is found in veggies like squash, carrots and pumpkin can be converted to Vitamin A in the body;
Vitamin C - supports the immune system but also helps boost absorption of iron from plant sources. Food sources include red pepper, citrus fruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts, potatoes, cranberries, strawberries and cauliflower;
Vitamin D - can be acquired in two ways : sun exposure and through food such as eggs, liver, fatty fish, butter, fortified milk and some mushrooms. Those of us in Northern hemisphere don’t always get much sun, especially right now, so this is the only time I personally reach for extra supplementation via a liquid spray (which is fastest way of getting into the system). If Vit D is low in the system there may be an elevated susceptibility to infection;
Zinc - shown to have anti viral and anti microbial properties that prevent viral replication. Food sources include cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, cocoa, beef, some shell fish e.g oysters.
2. Eat the rainbow - keep inflammation at bay by consuming a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and other sources of fibre like legumes, quinoa, nuts and seeds.
3. Avoid sugar and reduce processed foods - sugar interferes with our production of white blood cells, impairing our immune response. The reason I really want you to be mindful of processed foods is that they can contain high levels of sugar when we least expect it - I bought a thai curry paste on the weekend and was shocked to see the third ingredient listed was sugar! Please check labels of any processed foods you buy and essentially if sugar is not listed in the first 5 ingredients then its ok as long as they first five are ingredients are pronounceable i.e not chemicals.
4. Sleep - not getting enough sleep dramatically impairs our ability to resist illness. Remember Rest & Digest state allows your body to repair and prepare. 7hrs + with an average of 8 being optimal.
5. Fresh Air - being outdoors has been proven to boost our natural endorphins which then boosts our immunity. I know the weather has not been supportive of getting outdoors but wrap up, wear a rain jacket if necessary and anything from 30min to 1hr of fresh air every day will most definitely help blow away some nasties.
6. Wash your hands - I think we all know this now but a good wash with soap whilst having a sing song, to ensure you are not merely having a splash will also increase your mood. Its a win win.
The above 6 steps will have you focusing on increasing wellness, functioning better and thereby putting you in a better place to decrease and fight toxins. It's a systematic approach to healthcare to optimise immune functioning thats completely in your control. Remember you can take control of your health !