· Get enough sleep! Not only sufficient hours rest but supporting your circadian rhythm or ‘sleep-awake’ cycle. Our body works on a 24 hour clock – the release of hormones, our blood pressure and other physiological functions and when we are sleepy or hungry works on consistent rhythms. Research has shown that certain immune genes are most active at certain times of the day/night and activity of these genes is directly affected by behaviour sleep-awake patterns. Ways to support your circadian rhythm is to ensure dark exposure before bed and getting sufficient light exposure once awake, also retiring to bed as well as arising at the same time each day.
· Don’t over do it! Our immune system is directly affected by our nervous system so we must support our mental health. As well as getting enough sleep we should also be getting enough down time and relaxation to balance out a busy and hectic work schedule. Book a holiday or do a day trip to the beach, get a massage or find a quiet spot to read a good book. Similarly, this is also important for those who exercise – ensure sufficient recovery! Every now and then have three consecutive days off training to let your body rest and repair – you will feel the difference.
· Eat fresh and clean – this includes fresh fruit and vegetables for the vitamin C and bioflavonoid content, lean proteins like fish, eggs, meats and unprocessed carbohydrates such as lentils, beans, brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat. This will allow a consumption of various nutrients and minerals for your body (especially digestive system) to function optimally.
· Support your digestive system! Did you know that 70% of our immune cells are located around our gastrointestinal tract? This gut-immune connection is fascinating but logical, for example poor diet and antibiotic consumption can take a heavy toll on our immune cells due to the burden on our gastrointestinal tract. Nourishing our beneficial flora or ‘good bacteria’ that resides on the surface of our digestive cells is essential for optimum immunity as they influence cellular communication to ensure our body has the protection from ingested pathogens. You may want to consider a therapeutic dose of these bacteria via capsule or powder or simply incorporate fermented foods such as good quality yoghurt (no added sugar). I prefer Jalna, Bornhoffen or Barambah Organics brand. In addition to this, enough fibre in your diet which helps to feed and colonise the good bacteria.
· Consider taking herbs! Herbal tonics are a fantastic way to build your immune system due to the influence of white blood cell production and overall vitality to the body. Astragalus membranaceous is a Chinese herb that strengthens the immune system, reduces the impact of stress, supports the cardiovascular system and is blood-building to support energy and vigor. The best way to receive the right herbal medicine for you is to visit a Naturopath or Herbalist that can dispense an individual formula.
· Up your vitamin D levels – whether this is through 15-20 minutes of daily sunshine or supplementation of at least 1000 IU per day. It is a vitamin synthesized by the body that is crucial for a healthy immune system , low levels have been linked to cancer and autoimmune disease as well as putting yourself at the risk of infections.
· Other practices that can improve your immune health include drinking both green tea and holy basil teas, reducing your alcohol consumption and taking spirulina. Ladies to look after urinary tract immune health, regularly consume dark purple/red fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, red cabbage, cranberries, beetroot, rosehip and hibiscus tea as well as lowering simple sugar consumption (confectionary, biscuits/cakes, soft drinks and other sweetened foods).
If you are susceptible to recurrent infections or would like an overall health check, book a consultation with Laura today, Ph. 0421323888.