With the coronavirus still top of our concerns, one thing we can do as individuals for prevention is to make sure we support our immune system.
Pilates teacher, Wellness coach and nutritional therapist Isa Welly shares 4 steps we can take:
Sleep plays an important role in our health by impacting our immune system a great deal. Cytokines are a group of proteins produced by our immune cells. They target inflammation, infections and regulate our immune response. These proteins are made during our sleep. So, when we sleep poorly or very little, we make less of these cytokines and therefore are less armed to fight pathogenic bacteria. Aim for seven to nine hours.
2.Improve our diet
- Increase to 2 portions of fruits and 8 of vegetables a day. 1 portion is a handful.
- Avoid refined sugars and overly processed foods as they deplete your immune system
- Eat some immune boosting foods like mushrooms, garlic, ginger, oregano, oily fish, walnuts, good quality raw honey
- Up your vitamin C rich foods: Broccoli, kale, oranges, lemons, mangoes, parsley
- Invest in supplements. Vitamin C and/or multi-vitamins containing antioxidants such as selenium, zinc and immunomodulator vitamin D. Great brands include Terra Nova, Pure encapsulations, Biocare, Wild nutrition. You can find these and many more at Planet organic, Wholefoods and most health stores.
**Do always check with your natural practitioner or GP before supplementing, especially if you have underlying health issues or currently taking medications
3.Drink more water
Aim for 2 litres a day. Water is an essential nutrient for our body. It nourishes our cells, helps clear toxins and ultimately support the immune system.
Reduce your alcohol intake. If there is a time to do a #drymonth, it's now. While I know some of us can find comfort in a cheeky glass of red or a pint after a stressful day, sadly it depletes our immune system. So if you can reduce it or cut it down totally for the next few weeks to boost your immunity, go for it.
4. Reduce stress and anxiety
This is probably the most challenging out of the four because we are currently living in very uncertain and fragile times and insecurity causes fear and panic.
But what to do?
- Meditate, do some breathing exercises and take time to relax in silence away from digital devices and the news. Create a moment of peace. I personally find the best time to do this being the morning as it sets me up for the day.
- I find writing my thoughts, fears, challenges, and anything that is worrying me very helpful. It's almost like I need to let it out of my head and it brings me such relief when I do so.
- Lean into each other, chat with your friends about how you are feeling. Chances are, they're also feeling the same and keeping it to themselves. Let's support each other.
- Last but definitely not least do EXERCISE. Exercise is such a powerful tool to reduce stress and boost your immune system. Don't neglect it. If you have a little space in your home, grab your mat and check out my YouTube channel. Tons of free workouts! Dance, HIIT, Yoga, Pilates.... go out for a run in a non crowded park. Just move your body and get a little sweat on ;-)
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Isa- Welly is a Pilates teacher, Wellness coach and nutritional therapist living and working in London. When it comes to health and wellness her ethos is, know what works for you and keep it simple. You can find more wellness articles and recipes on her blog here.