Support Gut Health and Strengthen The Immune System To Safeguard Yourself and Your Family
With Summer now being over and the weather being a little all over the place at the moment, now is the season where we start to see colds and flu appear. With all the media coverage of the latest coronavirus and the world health organization declaring this Coronavirus as a worldwide medical emergency, it’s enough to have some people feeling a little anxious and concerned about both themselves and their family’s health.
While it is important to be alert, and yes it is becoming more and more of a concern daily, we should not let the media cause us fear! It’s important that we act smarter and educate ourselves, not just rely on media coverage.
While the World Health Organisation is putting a focus on regular hand washing, staying away from others who are sick, wearing masks and avoiding touching our faces or rubbing our eyes, which are all important practices, what they rarely mention is the importance of supporting a healthy immune system through a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle practices.
Did you know that 70-80% of our immune system is situated in our gut?
What we choose to feed our gut, influences the health of our gut, which in turn affects how strong our immune system is.
We cannot underestimate the importance of eating a healthy diet and flooding our body with the nutrition it requires to support a healthy immune system that is able to fight against infection.
Eating a healthy diet that is rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals will help to support a healthy gut which in turn will strengthen a healthy immune system.
When our immune system is strong we are less susceptible to picking up colds, flu’s and infections that we come in contact with and if we do manage to get sick, we are quickly able to fight off infection with it being less of an impact on our everyday life.
Gut Healing and Immune Boosting Hacks
You Can Start Today:
Make sure you are eating at least 5-6 serves of antioxidant-rich vegetables daily. While fresh is best they do need to be consumed quicker. Having some frozen veggies on hand may be a great option when time is poor or in times that quarantine may need to occur.
Go for a variety of different fruits and vegetables, which will supply your gut with a variety of prebiotic and probiotic strains. The more diverse the diet is, the better the health of the gut.
Choose produce that is in season where possible. As seasonal produce is harvest at its peak, it contains its full nutrient and vitamin content, allowing for a bigger dose of nutrients to be flooded into the body.
Make sure you are getting enough healthy fats in your diet including avocado, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, fatty fish and olives. Healthy fats are required for healthy digestion and the healthy function of detoxification pathways, helping to excrete nasty unwanted toxins from the body.
Drink plenty of clean filtered water regularly throughout the day to help hydrate and flush out toxins from the body, your lungs and keep our bowel movements regular. Be aware that not all water is created equal. Not all water is capable of flooding your cells with the hydration it requires
Limit foods that will suppress the immune system including sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, caffeine. This is especially important when you are sick! Your body cannot easily heal and recover if you are feeding it foods that are only going to suppress your immune system further.
While diet is always number one, unfortunately diet alone is just not enough. With nutrient depleted soils and more chemicals added to our foods these days, our food supply is much more nutrient deplete, making it harder for us to get all the nutrients our body requires from food alone. This is where supplements come into play to help fill the nutrient gaps in our diets.
So what immune boosting nutrients can we be looking for to take in supplement form to strengthen our immunity?
Liposomal Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant that has been shown to be effective in a number of studies to strengthen the immune system against viruses and pathogens. Studies are currently being done in China on intravenous Vitamin C for Coronavirus. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n12.shtml
When supplementing with vitamin C, choose liposomal as a high dose vitamin C option where possible. Liposomal forms of vitamin C are more bio-available meaning they are more readily absorbed and utilised by the body making them the best form of vitamin C to high dose. Liposomal Vitamin C is gentler on the gut as compared with regular Vitamin C.
Having adequate Vitamin D levels is essential for overall good health and our ability to fight disease and infections.
Do you know your vitamin D status? Many people are not at optimal levels high enough required for good health. Most people do not know their Vitamin D status as this is not something that is tested in routine general blood tests. Low Vitamin D levels could be an indicator of poor immunity.
While Vitamin D can be taken in the form of a supplement, the best way to get Vitamin D is through sun exposure. Make a conscious effort to get outside everyday and get some fresh air, soak up some natural vitamin D, with just 10-15 minutes sun exposure per day.
If sun exposure is not possible for you, I suggest taking a Vitamin D3 (active form) supplement. Even if you are not particularly low, topping up Vitamin D levels can not hurt, to support optimal health.
Olive Leaf Extract:
My all time favourite supplement that I swear by in winter. This is a great one for the whole family to take. Olive Leaf Extract is antiviral, anti-inflammatory, a great antioxidant to fight against oxidative stress and cell damage, protects the digestive system and cardiovascular health, while boosting all round immunity.
N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC):
Is an antioxidant that has the ability to inhibit viral replication and is known for its use in respiratory conditions such as asthma and influenza. NAC boosts glutathione production, reducing free radical damage and inflammation of the lungs, with its ability to loosen mucous in the airways. NAC is also commonly used to help assist with liver detoxification of harmful toxins from the body.
Is an essential mineral that is known to play an important role in supporting immune function and is also plays an important role in the gastrointestinal tract. Zinc may be important in fighting off viral infections and the common cold and flu like symptoms. Zinc intake should be taken with caution as too high doses may be toxic.
Is a glycoprotein that plays an important role in activation of the immune system both systemically and in the gut. Lactoferrin provides antiviral activity against both RNA and DNA viruses. Lactoferrin may be found in some prebiotic and probiotic formula’s.
Is one of the most commonly seen deficiencies in the western world yet it is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions occurring in the body including the immune system and stress response.
If you are feeling quite anxious and stressed right now, with the current health crisis, you may like to supplement with magnesium. Magnesium plays a key role in regulating the body’s stress response and may be helpful in the times of fear and feelings of anxiety.
Astragulus, Echinecea and Andrographis may also be great to support a healthy immune system.
These are just some of the immune boosting natural medicines available to you. There are also many other herbal nutrients which also have great immune strengthening abilities. Be aware that all supplements like drugs, can also have contraindications, may interfere with certain medications and can come with side effects. To be sure that you are taking the right supplement and dosage that is right for you, it is best to get professional advice from your natural health care practitioner.
Get regular movement daily. This does not have to necessarily be a hardcore session at the gym. Find an exercise and form of physical activity that works for you. Exercise has the ability to cause change in antibodies and white blood cells. White blood cells are our defense mechanism against illness, making regular movement important in strengthening the immune system.
While exercise is great to support immune system when well, if you are sick going to do a gym workout may not be the best idea. In times of sickness, slow down on the exercise until better.
You have all heard of the saying stress kills you. Truth be told, stress can have a negative impact on your health. Stress and anxiety suppresses the immune system, affecting one’s ability to be able to fight off infections and illness. This is why it is so important to learn ways to better manage stress.
By letting anxiety and stress take over, these constant negative thought patterns can suppress our immune system, making us more susceptible to the development of illness. A great way to control your anxiety is times of crisis is to practice yoga or take a minimum of 10 minutes a day to practice meditation. Regular practice can have a profound affect on our brain and overall health.
Not sure where to start? Use a guided meditation. There are so many great free guided meditation apps available or videos on you tube. My recommended FREE app of choice is ‘Lets Meditate’
Getting enough sleep consistently will help your body’s cell repair themselves, allowing the removal of toxins and waste byproducts from the body, helping to boost your immune system and fight against viruses and diseases.
A good night’s sleep promotes T cell production. T cells are white blood cells that help fight off pathogens and foreign invaders that enter the body, helping keep your immune system under control.
Listen to your body:
When your body is telling you, you are overworked or sick, learn to listen to it. Look out for the signs, take note of what your body is trying to tell you and slow down. I can’t say I have always been so good at this myself, but going to the gym when you are stressed, overworked and lacking in sleep is not going to do you any favours. Rather than helping you, it is just going to increase the stress, in an already stressed body.
Don’t let a weakened immune system make you more susceptible to getting sick and slowing down your recovery rate in times of illness, get on top of your health today!
Still feeling stressed or a little overwhelmed with all this coronavirus talk? Are you that person who finds themselves always sick?
I am now offering 30 minute health and nutrition coaching sessions to advice on how you can get on top of you and your family’s health now and before the cold and flu season comes into full swing in Australia in the coming months.
Acute consults will be available on request all throughout Autumn and Winter- suitable for immune-boosting advice and personalised supplement prescriptions for the treatment and prevention of colds, flu, and viruses.
To find out more about how I can assist you and your family to better support your immune systems in times of the worldwide spread of coronavirus and the cold and flu season which is upon us, click below to:
Here’s to good health and happiness x