How TO SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
As the border opens soon many Queenslanders are feeling nervous. Clients have been asking asking me what they can do to stay well this holiday season so here are a few tips you can use to keep well.
Make sure your gut is healthy and your gut lining is robust as 80 % of our immune cells are made in the gut. Our immune system relies on a nutrient dense diet so its important to eat wholefoods. Include 2 serves of fruit and serves of vegetables daily. Eating an abundance of plant foods, particularly high phytochemical (colour pigment) in plant foods which is why we recommend selecting a rainbow of coloured vegetables and or fruits. Especially green leafies and berries, buy local and organic fresh fruits and vegetables where possible. Don’t forget to include nuts and seeds, and plenty of legumes.
Cut out gluten and dairy if your sensitive to it. Gluten sticks to the gut lining and stimulates the release of zonulin.Zonulin is a protein, synthesized in intestinal and liver cells, which modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract. The opening of these tight junctions in the gut wall can be come damaged and lead to “Leaky gut, or “intestinal permeability.” This is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles such as proteins which can result in food sensitivities. Other substances such as bacteria to “leak” through the intestines into the blood stream. The foreign substances entering the blood can over time lead to food sensitivities and inflammatory reactions leading to conditions such as migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, or autoimmune disease.
Research has shown that intermittent fasting not only keeps the weight off but gives your body time to do general maintenance like cleaning away potential cancer cells while giving your immune system a boost. Recent trials suggest eating within 10 hours and fast for 14-16 hours several times a week for optimum health benefits.
Spice up your diet
Add garlic, onions, spices such as ginger & turmeric as well as herbs such as rosemary and oregano to soups, dips and other dishes to support your immune system. Don’t forget the bone broth as the collagen will help mend your gut while supporting your connective tissue and joints (see recipe below for turmeric coconut chicken soup).
Fermented food such as sauerkraut, Keffer, kombucha, miso, Tempah, kimchi are great additions to your diet daily. Sauerkraut and kimchi are easy to make yourself see recipes included below. They contain friendly bacteria which help digest plant fibre in your gut to produce certain vitamins such as K as well as keep the bad guys in check reducing symptoms such as flatulence, abdomen distension and bloating after meals.
Cut out the sugar
Sugar acts a toxin in your body and works with your reward system in your brain. Studies have shown that 300grams of sugar can suppress the immune system for 2 hours. Sugar and processed food also tend to make your body more acidic causing pain and inflammation. Sugar and carbohydrates are addictive and can result in cravings. If you feel you’re having trouble book in for a kinesiology addiction balance.
Water & Movement
Don’t forget to drink clean filtered water and reduce your caffeine intake. Include green tea and mushroom extract to boost your immune and antioxidant status. Exercise is important for immune health as well as mood so move every day and if working at a desk, make sure you get up every hour and stretch. Move outside and catch some sun in early morning or after the hot sun has passed in the afternoon to get some vitamin D. Vitamin D is an important hormone like substance which supports not only bone health but your immune system. A recent study demonstrated that Vit D deficient subjects were 11 % more susceptible to catching an infection.
Feeling well rested in the morning is essential for mood and general wellbeing. 6-8 hours sleep is recommended but this can vary with individuals. Limit blue screens such as phone if filter not available an hour before bed. Have a bath, read a book or listen to a meditation before going to bed. If you tend to worry; write a list of things on paper and possible solutions so you can let go of them before bed
Important supplements to keep you well during the next outbreak
· A multi vitamin/mineral complex from a health professional or health food store. Cheap formulas from the supermarket or chemist contain synthetic ingredients which your body doesn’t recognise and can’t utilise
· Ascorbic acid or vitamin c with bioflavonoids; 1gram every 2hours when symptoms such as sore throat begin. Back off dosing to 4-6 hours as symptoms subside and or you reach bowel tolerance (diarrhoea)
· Vitamin D will depend on your health circumstances
· Zinc increase your daily dose as symptoms arise