With season changes, especially during winter season when we spend more time indoors (when indoor air could possibly be even five times more polluted than outdoor air) – no wonder we are more vulnerable to viruses and lower immunity, especially if we have not properly recovered from previous colds and flu.
When we get stuffed up nose from having a cold, it is just our body alerting us that we are either not giving our body what it needs or exposing it to what it can not handle… The truth is, it is not us that get ill, but our cells, so, health of our body is dependent on the health of our cells.
To avoid getting ill, taking valuable time off work and even prolonging our time being ill, our best line of defense is always developing a healthy, active lifestyle. Feeding & protecting our cells on a daily basis will not only make our body stronger to face common viruses, but also minimise its exposure to free radicals that cause cell damage and make us age faster and develop more serious conditions…
Here are some strategies to keep your immune health strong:
1 Reduce stress and get plenty of sleep and rest: I would like to start with sleep and rest as, for me, this is the weakest link. 2-3 days of lacking sleep and I am in trouble despite the fact that I actually take really good care of my body. There are many reasons for this, main one being that our body’s cells count on good sleep in order to repair & regenerate themselves. Lack of sleep can raise levels of fat storing hormone cortisol that impairs our food choices the next day, which have further repercussions on our energy levels, weight management and general health. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night and here is more about sleep & our health if this topic is of a particular interest:
2 Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables: A nutrient-rich diet is important as it is exactly the lack of nutrients that lowers our immunity. Minimum five portions of fruit and veg a day are recommended. Plants are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and immune-boosting substances known as phytochemicals, which help protect us against disease.
Try to eat them raw to preserve their nutrient content, although some like carrots and tomatoes, have more nutrients when cooked slightly.
3 Protect your Digestive Health: This could easily be the most important point of all as scientists now believe that 80% of our immunity is in our digestive tract. Bad digestion also impairs our immune health as absorption of nutrients is compromised and no amount of nutrient intake can help if those nutrients are not being absorbed by our cells. Here is a more elaborate advice on how to protect your digestive system if this is of a particularly high interest to you:
4 Build an exercise habit: To keep colds and viruses at bay, it is very important to get active and start a healthy exercise program. It is worth noting that exercise, especially a lot of it, also causes free radicals that cause oxidative stress and damage to our cells, so it is paramount that our exercise efforts go alongside a nutrients-rich healthy & clean diet that contains free radical fighting antioxidants. This will strengthen body’s immunity and defenses as well as repair the damage exercise causes to our muscles. On top of that, you also get many benefits of exercise:
• Increases energy.
• Reduces stress.
• Builds stronger bones and muscles
• Improves Sleep.
• Improves strength, balance and posture.
• Opens us for great social opportunities and to meet new friends; gym classes especially are great ways of meeting like-minded people.
• Gives us pride and sense of achievement when we meet our goals.
• Helps depression.
• Helps weight loss/ management and tones our body.
• Encourages healthy competition: training with a friend can help you try even harder!
• Alleviates period pain!
• Reduces high blood pressure and the threat of coronary disease & a stroke.
5 Stop Smoking! We all know the facts now: smoking leads to many serious illnesses such as lung disease, so start cutting back now! Only one single cigarette generates approximately one quadrillion free radicals. Can you even imagine this number?
6 Include a high quality supplement in your diet. This STILL seems to be a controversial point, which always puzzles me and I think it is because it is much misunderstood. The “pro-supplement” case is very clear – nutrition in our plants is at least 4 times less than it was 100 years ago! These days we get oranges with no Vitamin C, Spinach with very little or no Iron, etc.
However, it is not as easy as just popping a supplement and that is not what is suggested here. Because not all supplements are created equal and majority of those on the market are totally useless.
An effective supplement is the one that contains many types of antioxidants combined properly and well absorbed by the body. Anything less than this is not effective if not even hazardous. The best instruction I can give is to avoid cheap supplements and go for pharmaceutical grade instead of just food grade available on our high streets & online portals.
If drugs (that are chemicals) work to regulate certain processes, there is no reason why naturally occurring & health essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (that are also chemicals that our bodies well respond to and depend on) would not work too. They are, however, not to substitute, but to supplement an already healthy diet if we want to see any results from taking them.
Cells that are healthy from a clean, nutrient rich & sugar free diet will absorb nutrients easier as well as there will be more to be absorbed from a quality supplement. This is a bullet proof combo!
Well rounded Vitamin & Mineral supplement is a great place to start. These are the ones that my family and I use:
Other elements that cause free radical damage of our cells are prolonged exposure to sunlight, pesticides, pollution, medications, food additives, food (in particular processed food), etc. These all deplete our immunity and we can take measures to avoid or minimise our exposure to them.
Also, keep surfaces in your house clean and make sure you improve air circulation in your home by opening up windows regularly.
I hope the above was valuable and highlighted areas where you may need to pay extra attention in order to extra bullet proof your Immune Health.
In the mean time, stay strong & healthy and feel free to explore your current wellness and find out how well you may be doing and where you may be falling short by taking an online wellness test below…
Until next time, yours in health,
HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR DIET? Take a FREE Online Wellness Test
It takes only a few minutes answering some key questions in relation to your health, nutrition and lifestyle is able to give you ideas where you may be falling short in your lifestyle choices and how to improve it.
You then have an opportunity to reach out to me for support in areas where you are unable to make changes yourself…