As if this year hasn’t been tough enough with COVID-19 derailing almost every element of our lives, we now face a long, cold winter battling all the usual culprits that rear their germy heads this time of year. Cold and flu bugs thrive in the colder weather and we’re more susceptible to catching these seasonal illnesses at this time of year.
I’ve been working hard during lockdown, to think of ways I can help more people. After some great feedback and suggestions from clients, I’ve decided to develop a programme to help you repair and restore you digestive health. I’ll be launching my brand new programme in 2021. It aims to repair and restore digestive function and banish your bloat and your IBS forever!
Spicing It Up – Competition Time!
I’m also trying to make things a little more fun with a little competition!
I’m offering a free place on the programme for the person who can help me come up with the best title for the programme!
Enter your suggestion for the competition here if you have one! Or if you simply want to find out more then enter your details and I’ll keep you updated with exclusive updates around the programme and it’s launch in the New Year.
Take a look at my tips below which can help with overall health as a great starting point for any chronic illness, such as IBS or simply to boost to your immune system.
You might have already had your flu jab but now isn’t a time to rest on your laurels, it’s time to do anything you can to boost your immune system.
As always, our diet and lifestyle have a direct impact on our immune defences and further impact your health if you suffer from chronic conditions. So how can you ‘equip’ your immune arsenal and keep your defences in tip top condition?
Here’s my advice for changes you can make to your lifestyle and nutrition to help support your immune system, increase resilience and fight off winter bugs.
I doubt anyone could say they’ve had a stress free year with everything that we’ve faced but one positive is that people are now more open to discussing their mental health and the impact that stress is having on their lives.
There’s several simple techniques to building stress resilience and it’s important that you treat your mind as well as you do your body. Stress soon manifests itself physically, meaning something that starts off mentally can impact your physical health, causing a lack of sleep, impacting the production of important antibodies and hormones.
Try a combination of the suggestions below to help you to manage stress and as a result, better support your immune system.
Practice some simple breathing exercises to help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Adopting these simple techniques can help to reduce anxiety too.
Meditation apps such as Calm or Headspace provide guided sessions, calming music and mindfulness techniques which are proven to reduce inflammation and increase the production of white blood cells whilst boosting positivity.
Take a look at my recent blog all about Mindfullness and how simple techniques can help you to manage certain health complaints, reduce stress and improve your wellbeing.
Nutrients and vitamins
The big one for keeping our immune system healthy and resilient is to ensure we are mindful of what we eat. Our diet directly impacts our gut and its production of important microbes which link closely to how our body reacts to illness.
We want to keep our nutrient and vitamin levels in balance to avoid deficiencies which make us more vulnerable to certain illnesses or conditions.
Did you know that more than 70% of our immune system is found in the gut? Which means we really need to take care of it to avoid conditions such as leaky gut which can cause inflammation, damage our immune system and lead to other gut related diseases.
Aim for a colourful diet, this will give you an antioxidant boost along with increasing your intake of important nutrients, vitamins and fibre.
Try to avoid caffeine, sugar, processed foods and refined carbohydrates and instead make dietary choices which support a healthy gut and immune system.
There are several vitamins found in our food which have a direct impact on helping to prevent disease and illness and aid the production of protective antibodies and cells.
From Vitamin A which helps to create a protective antibody as well as support our gut in cell regeneration to Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin which reduces our risk of inflammation whilst simultaneously stimulating antimicrobial cell activity.
We can’t always get all the vitamins we need from our diet and so considering a supplement may be an effective way to achieve a healthy balance, supporting your wellbeing and immunity.
As a Nutritional Therapist, I am constantly asked to recommend nutritional supplements and health products, and I am pleased to be a part Zinzino’s growing wellness revolution, find out more here.
I’d recommend Zinzino’s products and supplements in particular for stress and sleep e.g. Viva+ in addition to Xtend and the Balance Oil kits for all round protection and immune system boosting!
Getting a good night’s sleep
You know how groggy you can feel after a bad night’s sleep, both mentally and physically with aches and pains. Getting your forty winks in has been linked to decreased infection and inflammation risk as well as increasing cell production to support our antiviral immune response.
Create a soothing routine before bed, try taking a shower or a bath and lighting a relaxing candle. Creating a routine that your body then expects will help you to drift off naturally as you maintain a consistent sleep pattern.
Avoid caffeine after midday and keep screen time to a minimum in the evenings and you’ll soon be off to the land of nod!
Getting out into nature is a great way to reduce stress and boost your endorphins. Moderate, regular exercise boosts your white blood cells which help keep your immunity levels up, protecting you from illness.
Follow the current guidelines on socialising of course but where allowed, could you exercise with a friend or family member?
Find a new activity that you enjoy, whether it’s a stroll in the park, a yoga session or a kettlebell workout, getting your heart pumping is a great way to manage stress, promote a restful sleep and keep your defences up.
Be aware that HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) can increase inflammation and suppress your immune system. Try to avoid anything too strenuous, it’s better to build up your active time and focus on a more structured approach to exercise rather than quick fixes.
I’m sure by now you’ve got a hand sanitiser in every coat pocket, handbag and glovebox possible but clean living has and always will be an important part of staying healthy and keeping our immune system intact.
I wrote a blog not too long ago about the impact of harmful chemicals such as chemical oestrogens or xenoestrogens which are found in everyday, unsuspecting items from straws to cotton buds.
These chemicals react with our bodies and are often found in single use plastic and packaging but also in our cleaning and personal hygiene products.
Exposing your body to chemicals, pesticides and BPA can impact and alter our immune system, stunting the production of much needed T cells which allow our bodies to respond to infections.
Opt for Paraben, GMO, BPA or Cruelty free products where you can and try shopping locally or in eco refill stores. These kind of products are less harmful to the environment, animals and ourselves.
If you’d like to learn more about the various ways in which you can protect yourself, support and improve your immune system through nutrition and lifestyle, book in a free consultation where we can discuss the best options for your health needs.
For more information around the IBS programme, to be notified when it launches or to enter the competition with your suggestion for the programme name please click here!