Looking after your immunity – just for winter or all year round?
At this time of year some of us may be thinking about how we can boost our immunity for the winter ahead and avoid those dreaded winter colds or worse flu. I would suggest however that immunity is the cornerstone or foundation of our health and goes far beyond fighting infections (such as the common cold).
The role of our immune system
Our immune system plays a role in:
- Preventing degenerative diseases (e.g. osteoarthritis)
- Auto-immune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism
- Allergic conditions such as eczema, asthma and rhinitis
If it plays all these different roles perhaps we should start think about supporting our immune health throughout the year and not just in winter as a seasonal preventative measure.
It may be useful to look at some common signs of a dysregulated/struggling immune system and then review what steps we can take to actively improve what is essentially WHOLE BODY HEALTH.
Signs of an impaired immune system
Common signs of an impaired immune system include:
- Constant fatigue
- Aching joints
- Digestive disturbances such as indigestion and constipation
- Weight gain
How to strengthen / boost your immunity
As more than 70% of our immune system resides IN OUR GUT, the gut is a vital starting point to build up our immunity now (and throughout the year) and we can do this by:
- Eating fermented foods on a regular basis such as:
- Kefir – best bought on line from suppliers such as Chuckling Goat or LiveKefir Company for their superior quality (although apologies for the not so pleasant taste) or kefir which can be bought from supermarkets such as Bio-tiful Kefir.
- Organic miso soup (rich warming soup).
- Kombucha – a fermented and slightly effervescent/slightly alcoholic green tea (can be bought from Health food shops including Revital and Holland and Barrett.
- Increasing our consumption of prebiotic foods which include leeks, onions, garlic, oats, asparagus, sweet potatoes, chicory.
- Drinking Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar- diluted in warm water and drink with straw (to protect your teeth!) morning and evening ideally before eating or add to olive oil and use as a salad dressing.
- Drink Bone Broth -helps to heal your gut lining and reduce inflammation and is best made from your Sunday leftover chicken etc but can be bought from supermarkets and online for those of us who are time pressured.
- Take a multi-strain probiotic as different strains have different individual effects in different areas of the gut. You may have read recently that many probiotics are not effective (this is largely due to the fact that stomach acid can destroy the probiotic bacteria before they reach the place where they should be absorbed ie the small intestine so ensure that you buy one which guarantees intact delivery such as those with a stomach resistant gel.
Other simple steps to support immunity
Zinc is an essential trace mineral and vital for immunity so ensure these foods are on your weekly shopping list: meat, shellfish, nuts and seeds, legumes and dark chocolate, and vegetables (which have lower amounts) but include spinach, shiitake mushrooms, beet greens and sweet potato.
Manage stress as this depletes your immune cells.
Ensure adequate sleep as this is a time when we restore and repair at a cellular level.
And finally get your Vitamin D levels tested as there is significant research highlighting the key role Vitamin D plays in boosting the whole immune system and if they are low take a supplement which includes Vitamin K to help absorption such as the Designs for Health Emulsi D3 available from the CoActive Health Shop.
Book a FREE discovery call
If you feel that you could benefit from additional support with your immunity or would like to learn more about how I can help, why not book in for a free 15 minute no obligation discovery call using the form below: