How do you feel? No, seriously! Have you taken a moment today to look inward and see how you are actually feeling?
Any aches and pains? What are your energy levels like today? Did you wake up feeling groggy or refreshed and ready to go? The reason I ask is because these symptoms, among many are all signs of how strong your immunity is.
Your general look and feel reflects what is going on inside.
Common signs you’ve got problems:
- joint pain
- bloating, constipation or diarrhoea
So – How do you stop this and boost your immunity?
Need to Know:
In the last few years the role the gut plays in general health (including our immunity) has become one of the most interesting topics in nutrition, food research and science.
Our gut microbiome is a major player in our physical and mental health. Not only does the gut produce almost every hormone, including:
- thyroid hormones
- and cortisol
…but it also signals glands dictating the how much of the hormone it thinks you need. With this in mind, it’s easy to link our gut health to our mental health!
Your gut is the key.
So, here are 5 Ways to Boost Your Immuity:
Factor 1: Improve your gut health
‘’We really do have a second brain that influences our judgment, and much besides. Known as the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) – enteric meaning ‘to do with intestines’ – it’s an extensive network of brain-like neurons and neurotransmitters wrapped in and around our gut.’’
Our lifestyle dictates our gut health. The stress you’re under, the food and drinks you consume, the products you use to wash and moisturise, your sleep patterns and your cleaning products!
Everything in your day-to-day influences who you are – and therefore your gut health and immunity!
One step at a time, you can change your lifestyle. In fact, you can change it completely in 100 Days – however, your diet will have the most significant and immediate impact.
Start eating clean foods that heal rather than harm. As one of our pillars, treat Food as Medicine.
A Plant Based Diet is the most healing and beneficial; cutting out meat derived products/foods means removing any hormone or chemical bi-product that may negatively impact your microbiome.
However, if you’re not ready for that step, a clean Paleo Detox is the best place to start – it’s where our health journey started years ago.
There are thousands of bacteria species in your gut from fungi to flora. Each play a different role in your digestive health and they all need to be fed by different healing foods and live cultures (more on that soon).
Fruit and Veg is full of nutrients that provide you with a healthy microbiota. The different colours often represent a different collection of vitamins and minerals.
They are also high in fibre, which is digested not by the body, but from a bacteria which then, in turn receives the stimulation to grow. It is an important for overall digestive health – this will ensure you excrete any toxins ingested rather than suffer them leaking into the blood stream in the form of Leaky Gut.
A Plant Based Diet is essential for increasing fibre, sustaining a high and diverse range of vitamins and minerals and may just help positively transform your mental health.
Much of the western diet is the same – an estimated 75% of the world’s food is from 12 plants and 5 animal species – it is up to you, with our support of course, to improve this for yourself!
Factor 2: Exercise and Overall Fitness
‘’Moderate and regular exercise benefits your immune system in many ways. It can increase blood flow, help clear bacteria from your airways, cause a brief elevation in body temperature, strengthen antibodies to help fight infection and reduce stress hormones.’’
Even if you don’t have a lot of floor space, like I don’t, improving fitness at home is possible. One benefit of the pandemic lockdowns is the sheer increase in free workout resources for home.
From chair squats to sit ups and jogging on the spot, or star jumps (never underestimate star jumps they are brutal!) raising your heart rate and increasing blood flow, even for 20 minutes a day can stimulate an immune response and improve you overall health and wellbeing. Mind, Body and Soul.
We know our gut is partly responsible for releasing our happy hormones, but exercise is a trigger for that release.
Online there is a multitude of at home workouts, ranging from HIIT workouts to Pilates and Yoga. Also, if you have a dog, or even if you don’t, time for a decent walk that’ll get your blood pumping! Head rural for some fresh air if you can.
‘Regular exercise reduces inflammation, allowing the immune system to perform better. While acute inflammation in response to injury is part of a healthy immune system, chronic inflammation can slow down the immune system…
Many workouts are free online so there is no need to pay for anything to begin your fitness journey and improve your gut health.
A website I particularly like is Muscle Wiki – there you can select a muscle group from a body outline and you will be shown different exercises to target the group with demos and explanations.
Factor 3: Managing Chronic Stress
Stress has an impact on digestion, illness and of course our immune system.
Stress is a natural part of life, and short bursts of acute stress have been shown to have many benefits such as increased productivity, increased blood flow and performance. It is also a deterrent to boredom and depression.
However, chronic stress is a negative force that is extremely damaging to your overall health and wellbeing, especially your immunity.
What is Chromic stress?
Chronic stress: a persistent feeling of pressure and overwhelm. In other words, ‘Fight or Flight’ is often stuck on which causes physical and emotional damage.
Stress reduces the ability for the immune system to fight off pathogens, leaving us more susceptible to illness and infections.
In a pandemic, and due to the high transmission rates of this virus, especially the new variants, it is important to reduce the stress from our lives where we can.
Indirectly, in the form of coping mechanisms such as smoking, drinking and binge eating, stress is also damaging to our immunity; this time, acting as a catalyst for harmful habits.
It is easier said than done of course. But methods like exercise, changing your diet to clean and low-tox and meditation, and other holistic health methods have all been proven to reduce stresses on our gut health and immunity.
Factor 4: Immunity Boosting Foods and Supplements
A high and sustained concentration of vitamins and minerals in your body is important for your overall health and of course your immune function.
A clean, vegetable rich diet will often provide everything you need – but if you’re lacking, finding a good supplement is as important.
Many supplements are full of additional sugars and chemicals.
I recommend looking for vegan and low-tox companies and only take them when you think you need them rather than all the time. As you better your health, you will learn that your body intuitvely asks for what it needs.
The need for supplements is also dependant on your lifestyle. If you run a marathon every other day, your body will use more minerals than if you’re a couch potato.
What doesn’t get used, just gets wasted.
Less Supplement, More Superfood:
Eating the correct foods, in abundance will provide everything your body needs as we discussed, but some foods are able to offer you that extra kick if you feel as though you need it:
Foods such as sauerkraut and fermented vegetables are packed with microbiome that good gut bacteria can feed on. They can help speed up the recovery of your gut and the production of helpful bacteria.
You may have previously heard the terms prebiotics and probiotics, but what’s the difference and how do they influence our gut health and immunity differently?
Prebiotics: Specialised plant fibre that feeds good bacteria. Stimulating growth among the pre-existing good bacteria.
Probiotics: Living bacteria that add to the population of good bacteria in your digestive system. They can provide many benefits including digestion, inflammation, and weight loss.
Together they feed and grow good gut bacteria that is responsible for maintaining a healthy body and immune system.
My favourite Go-Tos:
- Fermented Veg
- Vegetable Stock
- Bone Broth
Factor 5: STOP Eating Damaging Foods
There is minimal benefit to eating gut healing and probiotic foods to strengthen your immunity if you are still consuming damaging foods.
Harmful foods such as dairy, wheat, grains, and sugar are toxic to gut health, and therefore your immune function.
Cutting out foods and products that are triggering frequent negative immune reactions (bloating, eczema, acne, joint pain etc.) is vital for the recovery and growth of healthy gut bacteria that can transform your immunity in the process.
I’ve highlighted some of the main steps you can take NOW to improve your immunity.
It is a process, and there are many factors of your life to improve, but starting the process is the most important part of changing your lifestyle.
If not know, then when?