Supporting your Immune System
Friday, 13th March 2020
Staying well and supporting a healthy immune system is one our our best defences against viruses. We want to do all we can to help our communities keep healthy, so we’ve put together a short guide on how to support overall health and our immune systems, in addition to government health advice. Although particularly relevant now, this is our long-term advice for overall health and wellbeing.
Diet is hugely important, so ensure you’re getting enough nutrients from a diverse range of food sources including vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, proteins, nuts and seeds with a focus on plants and eating the rainbow. Eat organic fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes as they contain higher levels of antioxidants compared to conventionally grown crops and are more nutrient-dense, plus they have lower concentrations of pesticides, which can have a negative impact on gut health. Organic meat and dairy products contain around 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic, and organic milk and dairy contains higher concentrations of iron and Vitamin E. All of the food at our mix and match counter and our fresh juices, smoothies and coffees and certified organic.
Support Gut Health
The gut houses over 70% of our immune system cells - more than anywhere else in the body - which protect us from external disruptors like pollution and chemicals, and internal disruptors like pathogens, emotions and stress. The microbiota interacts with immune cells and stimulates our immune system as needed but this communication can be damaged by disruptors such as stress, poor diet and overuse of antibiotics. In order to support gut function, include prebiotic foods and spices in our everyday diet. These include kefir, inulin, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes and high beta-carotene foods like carrots, sweet potatoes and leafy greens. Bone broths can help to repair the gut and multiple-strain probiotics can help to improve the variety of microbes in the gut.
Sleep Well and Rest Up
During sleep, our immune system secretes cytokines, a group of proteins that regulate immunity and inflammation. Adequate sleep also supports T cells, a type of immune cell that fights against pathogens. Going to bed early enough, creating a calming sleep environment and preparing your body to sleep can all help to improve the quality of your rest and in turn, support your immune system. Read up on our sleep tips and recommendations here. If you feel exhausted or run down, listen to your body and rest up, rather than pushing yourself with a jam-packed schedule or intense exercise, as this will only prolong recovery time.
A stressed body and mind is also more vulnerable to illness due to increased cortisol levels - the hormone that puts out body on high alert. Try meditation, breathing exercises or taking a long bath to lower cortisol production and supplement with apoptogenic Reishi mushroom that work as a natural stress modulator and immune booster.
Supplementing our diets we have enough vitamins and minerals to support bodily function and boost the immune system.
We recommend everyone takes Vitamin C as it helps to boost the immune system by encouraging the production of white blood cells, and it has been shown to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. Liposomal Vitamin C is particularly effective as it is fat-based rather than water based, like regular Vitamin C supplements, and because the liposome’s membrane is made of the same fat found in the cell membranes throughout the body, this allows the liposomal Vitamin C to pass into cells easily and be delivered directly into the cells.
Additionally, we recommend taking an immune supporting multi-vitamin like Wild Nutrition’s which delivers food-grown vitamins and minerals, amino acids, biomass mycelial mushrooms and Elderberry.
Take lauric acid, found in human breast milk and coconut oil, in the form of Monolaurin to support immune health without adverse effects on beneficial intestinal flora. Designs for Health’s Monolaurin Avail contains Vitamin C for added immune benefit, and sunflower lecithin to enhance absorption of the monolaurin.
The same advice - eat well, support gut health, get enough sleep and supplement – is true for children too. Feed them foods high in Vitamin C such as oranges, kiwis and tangerines and B6 rich foods such as leafy greens and chickpeas, and supplement with elderberry syrup, Manuka honey and a probiotic.
Written By Planet Organic