There is so much to feel overwhelmed with right now. As humans we typically tend to over or under function in times of crisis. As it stands right now, we do not know much about this new strain of Covid-19 or how we can protect ourselves from the virus. Through the midst of this unknown, we all have an ability to focus on what we do know.

There certainly is a lot we can do in order to harness the power of our immune defences naturally, through nutrition & lifestyle interventions & I am keen to empower you with some knowledge & simple practices to implement.

Firstly I would like to say that now really isn’t the time to start a new fad diet. It is however a great time to focus on nourishing our bodies and to be aware & mindful of what we are consuming.
I have put together some simple tips we can all incorporate into our ongoing daily practices.

 

Nourish ​your body with essential nutrients by consuming a wide variety of brightly coloured vegetables & fruit. Opt for leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower), peppers, sweet potatoes, squashes & colourful berries. Aim for 8 portions of vegetables & 2 fruit per day as a minimum. 1 serving = half a cup. Fermented foods will help support the microbiome & immunity. These include sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, or kefir.

Garlic ​has long been used as a medicine aswell as a food. It contains compounds that hold an ability to improve the germ fighting ability of immune cells, and may potentially help prevent infection from occurring in the first place. Top tip: Crush fresh garlic & allow it to stand before cooking. This will allow the enzymatic conversion of alliin to benefit allicin – this is the main active ingredient within garlic. Be sure to add garlic, onions, ginger, spices: turmeric, oregano, rosemary & ginger to your soups, vegetable dishes, dips & sauces.

 

Stay hydrated​. Drink plenty of water in order to support bodily functions.
Try herbal teas, fresh ginger, lemon, turmeric, mint.
As a guideline I would suggest 2-3 litres a day, but address this sensibly; your urine should be a pale yellow tone.

 

Enjoy regular exercise.​ This will also work to boost glutathione which is our master antioxidant & as we all know, more often than not it will boost our mood. Do listen to your body, note how you feel & avoid over exerting. Training when we are run down will have a negative impact on immune defences.

 

Yoga​& Pilates are shown to reduce levels of stress that are linked with increased susceptibility to viral infections. Get booked in for one of the UNIT 22 online classes and keep an eye out for the new Unwind class too. 

 

Sleep​ is an opportunity for our bodies to heal, restore & repair. I see now as a perfect opportunity to prioritise sleep & relaxation. Sleep is actually considered to be as important as nutrition when we are looking to support our immune systems. Inadequate sleep can negatively impact immune function. 

Aim for 8 hours per night, go to bed nice and early, and try not to consume the current news right before bed – this can fill our heads with anxiety & stress filled emotions leaving a struggle to switch off with a detrimental effect on sleep quality. An eye mask, ear plugs, calming nutrients such as magnesium can be beneficial, and meditation or simple breathing techniques prior to bed will also facilitate the protective effect of sleep on our immune defences – Listen to the UNIT 22 Unwind Podcast coming soon!

If you are interested to read more about the wonderful dreamy world of sleep, I recently wrote a blog on the subject, so pop over & take a read – http://35.197.244.85/sleep-trumps-everything/

 

Processed,​ fried foods & sugar can decrease nutrients that are vital in supporting immunity. An aim to reduce or limit these will aid the maintenance of antioxidant levels, allowing the immune system to function better. Where possible, try to consume homemade foods. For those of us with a sweet tooth, try choosing more healthful alternatives such as dark chocolate & berries.

 

Adequate protein​ intake is crucial for immune function, so be sure to include lean protein sources with every meal. Some great sources include eggs, white & red meats, oily & white fish & even organ meats. Some great plant based proteins including: legumes, tempeh, nuts & seeds.

 

The midday sun is a perfect opportunity to naturally boost vitamin D levels. If you are able to & are in line with the government’s guidelines at the moment; go outside & enjoy these beautiful spring days.

 

Reduce stress & remember what is important right now. A hot bath with magnesium will help to calm stress levels. Laughter!! I have to say that in our house we have many moments in the day when we just laugh at the silliest of things.. this can be a wonderful medicine in testing times. Check out the UNIT 22 blog about stress that was recently released too. 

 

Isolation & loneliness​ is not beneficial to our health or immune system.
Make the effort to check in with those in your world.. facetime, whatsapp.. get involved in the ever growing field of online events & activities that are now emerging – all without leaving the comfort zone of your home!!

The bottom line is that there is no hierarchy to a good or a bad immune system. No matter how healthy we are, we all get sick in some form at some point. Immunity is a system & not a single entity. To function optimally, balance is required & not boosting.

 

Doing all or some of the things I have discussed here, the majority of the time will give our bodies the best chance of allowing our immune system to best do what it does.

If you would like to learn more about immunity & how you can best support your individual needs right now & at any point, please do get in touch: laura@laurahollynutrition.co.uk

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