1: Take care of your Gut!
It’s no secret that what we eat has a significant impact on our health and its been shown that gut health can influence other areas of our health, like our immune systems. The gut microbiome basically trains our immune systems by communicating with our cells about how to respond to infection so having a healthy gut is imperative to overall immune system health.
Our digestive system is home to a lot of bacteria – trillions in fact! The bacteria cells in our bodies outnumber human cells 10 to 1!
The digestive system is also home to yeast and it is important to maintain a good balance between the bacteria and the yeast present for our digestive systems to function at their normal level.
So how do you support your body for better gut health? First, check in with me or a Dietician so you can get on a nutrition and lifestyle plan that will support your unique needs – bio-individuality is key and its important to get to the root cause of any health issue, please email me if you are wanting any assistance in improving any area of your health.
Otherwise try incorporating more vegetables into your daily diet and things like bone broth. Try fermented foods like kimchi, kefir and kombucha that may assist in promoting a healthy gut environment. However, keep in mind, if you have any gut issues, or experience symptoms after eating fermented foods your gut will require some extra “repair” work as this can be a sign of leaky gut or other forms of gut dysbiosis.
If you are eating a standard western diet, it’s likely you are not getting enough probiotic rich food to support a healthy gut.
Another option I recommend to my clients – once I have a better understanding of their needs; to support overall gut health is to add in a daily probiotic. Probiotics come in so many different strains and each strain has different benefits relevant to certain conditions, so I do recommend doing this under the assistance of myself or another practitioner. It’s important to look for a company that has clear manufacturing practices, potency, shelf stable, non-GMO, gluten free and strains of bacteria that have been shown vis clinical research to support gut health.
Like gut health, staying hydrated has a huge impact on our overall health, but how does hydration directly impact our immune systems?
For starters, drinking water helps deliver oxygen throughput your entire working body which helps all the systems in the body to function properly.
Water also helps our body do what it already does best, detox, by flushing out unwanted toxins from the body and transports the nutrients (particularly water-soluble vitamins) from our food which keeps our cells healthy. You should aim for 2 litres of pure clean water every day, also incorporate herbal teas and broth, they are comforting and can help you to relax. My absolute fave is fresh ginger in hot water every night before bed. Amazing for immunity!
3: Get Moving
Exercise is both beneficial for your mental health and physical health. In fact, keeping your body moving regularly is an important factor in maintaining a healthy immune system. It’s been shown that one 20-30minute session of moderate exercise can stimulate the immune system, producing an anti-inflammatory cellular response. Not to mention sweating through our skin, which is one of our largest detoxification organs, is also beneficial.
If you are sick or highly stressed, skip your regular workout. Instead, focus on light movement. Gentle yoga stretches or getting up from the couch to keep your lymphatic system moving.
I talk about this often with clients, and basically anyone who will listen! It’s important to know your limits…… if you feel like you need extra rest, then listen to your body and give in to that feeling as much as you need to. Getting the proper amount of sleep (8 hours a night) is vital for the body to rebuild, restore and keep the immune system healthy.
When we sleep at night, we are maintaining our brain health which in turn helps the rest of our bodily functions. The strength of the synapses in the brain are able to restore themselves each night when you sleep which helps them to deal with and process the following day’s activities.
If you’re struggling to get your 8 hours in, please reach out so I can help break this down for you and give you tips and tricks to establishing an evening routine and improving your sleep.
5: Focus on Stress Management
When we neglect our mental health, our immune systems take a hit. This is because both our mental and emotional health play a key role in our physical health and immune systems.
What exactly is stress? Stress is our brain’s reaction to any changes in our lives that demand our physical, mental, or emotional energy.
When experiencing stress, our brains release stress hormones called cortisol that puts us into fight or flight mode. When cortisol is released, our bodies essentially stop functioning normally and we go into survival mode.
The energy that our bodies would typically use to keep all our bodily systems functioning properly is instead used to fight those stress hormones, this is incredibly taxing on our bodies. The release of those stress hormones can be beneficial when we are in danger, but when we live in a constant state of stress, our bodies produce far more cortisol than they actually need.
So, how do we manage stress? Stress to some degree is unavoidable. It affects us all and sometimes a small amount of stress can be beneficial. The real problems associated with stress are often a result of how we deal with and manage stressors.
To make sure stress isn’t negatively impacting us, it’s important to have stress management techniques in place for when it inevitably pops up. These techniques will vary from person to person but focus on taking time for yourself and implementing techniques that help proactively manage stress such as meditation, deep breathing, journaling, taking an Epsom salt bath, going for a walk in nature and grounding (earthing).
The big takeaway here is to find whatever it is that helps you to relax, recharge, and manage stress and implement that daily. Meditation is proven to be effective and a resource I can recommend is an app called Headspace, a guided meditation for those of you new to meditation.
Sending love and wellness.