Our guest blogger today is Sarah Rotheram. Sarah is a qualified Naturopath and Kinesiologist, with a passion for maintaining health and complete wellbeing.
In this blog Sarah shares some great simple tips for how you can strengthen your immune system. Take it away Sarah...
What’s this have to do with my immune system you ask?
Well, fear, stress & worry can have a catastrophic effect on our nervous systems, immune systems and overall health and wellbeing by disrupting our sleep quality, our hormone regulation & gut microbiome just to mention a few. All this along with our modern day excess of refined sugars, alcohol, processed foods, artificial flavours, excessive screen time, exposure to toxins and chemicals, our sedentary lifestyles and lack of time outdoors for many, what chance are we really giving our immune system to be strong and robust to respond to any kind of threat to our health?
This time calls for personal responsibility! Now is the time for you to take your own health and wellbeing into your own hands, one (achievable) piece at a time.
Here are some simple ways to strengthen your immune system through diet, supplementation and lifestyle choices which you can start today:
Stay hydrated and drink 2-3 L of filtered water daily. Our body is
made up of 90 % water and our immune system relies on our blood
stream to transport fluids, nutrients, and communicate to our vital organs to function effectively. Water is also effective in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and harming your immune system.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
(The father of medicine)
Think of food as medicine! A healthy diet is the key to a strong immune system.
Eating a whole food diet (preferably organic) with plenty of fresh
vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Reduce
processed sugary goods as these suppress our immune function.
Having a good balance of GUT microbiome:
Our GUT and immune system are closely linked with about 70-80% of
our immune tissue being situated in the digestive track. Healthy GUT
microbiota helps to regulate immune homeostasis and can help trigger the immune system to eliminate viral infections. This can be done with the supplementation of probiotics along with prebiotic foods such as fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kim chi, coconut water kefir, kombucha), garlic, onion, linseeds, dandelion greens, slippery elm, psyllium husks.
Nutrients to strengthen the immune system:
- Zinc: helps the immune system fight off bacteria and has strong anti-viral properties. Foods that are rich in zinc include: fish (especially oysters), meat, poultry, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, nuts.
- Vitamin C: Is an essential nutrient needed for immune support. Consume vitamin c rich foods such as – paw paw, oranges, lemons, limes, capsicums, rockmelon, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, tomato’s, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, cabbage, berries.
- Vitamin A: reduces viral replication and is needed for a healthy immune response consume carrot, sweet potato, beetgreens, spinach, kale.
- Vitamin D: can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Eat fatty fish, butter, cheese, eggs or safe sun exposure for your vitamin D hit.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Are important modulators of inflammatory and adaptive immune responses. Eat wild caught oily fish; mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, avocado’s, nuts, seeds, hemp oils & seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and tahini.
- Selenium: helps against oxidative stress and immune response ie. Brazil nuts, seafood.
- Medical foods: broths, green tea, mushrooms, herbs- garlic, ginger, turmeric, fresh herbs.
Supplements to help reduce viral load:
(see a qualified naturopath or nutritionist)
- Quercetin: anti-viral properties, anti-oxidant, immune-protective
- Vitamin C: immune modulation, cytokines modulating, anti-inflammatory
- Zinc: Anti-oxidant, anti-viral properties
- Vitamin D: Immune modulator
- N-acetyl cysteine: improves white blood status, anti-oxidant.
Echinacea, mushrooms (turkey tail, reishi, cordyceps, shitake), lemon balm, astragalus, catclaw, elderberry, green tea, St john’s wort.
You can make several lifestyle changes to help strengthen your immune system.
Things like exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, managing your stress levels, meditation, breath-work, cold therapy, infrared saunas, float therapy, spending time out in nature, socialising with those that you love are all small but extremely significant pieces to be a thriving human, boosting endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin & dopamine.
Whilst getting started can seem overwhelming, find an area that you feel is most achievable and seek out expertise from reputable sources if need be. We are blessed to have incredible Naturopaths, Nutritionists, Personal Trainers/Coaches, Yoga Meditation Teachers and world class facilities all around us here in Australia.
You owe it to yourself to have a healthy, happy & wonderful life!