If you’re entering summer in the northern hemisphere, or winter down south, there are pesky seasonal bugs that can really slow you down if you’ve got a weakened immune system. Following these five steps will help strengthen and restore imbalanced gut flora which we now know is the key to good health. So whether you’re battling off flu or hay fever, or just feeling generally run-down, take a read and see what may be missing in your well-being regime!
1) TAKE AWAY THE STRESS
Stress is the number one factor that depletes our immune system. If we could combat stress we could combat some of the biggest killers on our planet including cancer and heart disease. STOP THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY! – it’s time to evolve, take the challenge and work to live – not the reverse.
- reduce the amount of time you spend with people who drain your energy and bring you down – some people can be pretty damn toxic!
- reduce the amount of hours you work by working more efficiently – taking time off is one the best ways to increase productivity
- get out in nature – time in the sun and fresh air does wonders for the body and mind… see more on this in step 4
- make decisions based on what will make you feel happy rather than what you ‘think’ is the right thing to do
2) SWAP PROCESSED SUGAR FOR FRUIT, DRIED FRUIT & LOCAL HONEY
Processed sugar is the number one consumable that depletes your immune system. Cane sugar, table sugar, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, glucose syrup, fructose, agave, bad quality honey and maple syrup win hands down at sucking the life out of your body. Not only do they send you on an emotional and addictive roller coaster but they also cause premature aging, deplete bone mass, cellulite, urinary tract issues, candida, poor oral health… I could go on, and on.
- swap sugar in your tea with local or good quality honey. This is especially a great option if you suffer from hay fever – taking 1-2 teaspoons of local honey a day (best to start a couple of months before it normally hits) will help ‘desensitise’ you from the specific pollen type in your local area.
- swap milk chocolate for the darkest organic chocolate you can tolerate (it def gets easier so hang in there!); or eat dark choc with fruit
- swap processed shop cookies for homemade cookies
- swap processed muesli/granola bars for dried fruit and nuts OR get to a good quality health store and buy bars like loveraw or nakd
- swap the absolutely hideous canned fizzy drinks and pasteurised fruit juices for freshly made cold pressed vegetable juices or …WATER!
- swap heavy processed muffins for delicious homemade loaves and muffins
If you only take one supplement, make it a probiotic. Unfortunately yoghurt alone doesn’t have near enough of the good bacteria that our gut needs to help restore and rebalance our immune systems – and please, do not even go near Yakult! Go to your local health store and buy probiotics that are kept in the fridge, they can be expensive but absolutely worth every penny – they’ll save you taking sick days or save your soul from enduring days of work when all you want is bed. Highly recommended after a course of antibiotics and if you suffer from yeast infections, IBS and eczema.
These are some of my favourite brands:
4) GET OUTSIDE!!!
Whatever the weather, get outside and take a good long walk – ideally barefoot!
- Vitamin D is absolutely essential for every cellular function of the body – it’s what brings life to every living thing on the planet.
- Movement is fundamental to our well-being, so wherever possible take a good long walk / run / cycle outside every day.
- ‘Earthing’ or ‘grounding’ by walking barefoot allows you to literally recharge yourself with negative electrons from the ground. Walking barefoot or lying in the grass or on the beach doesn’t just feel good because we are often on holiday when doing so, we will be feeling the stabilising effects on our internal bioelectrical environment. Plugging into the earth’s energy, as we have done for thousands of years, is one of the most potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories we know, and it’s free!
I will dedicate a whole post to sleep soon – it is a big topic and deserves real attention. I know just how difficult it can be to prioritise getting to bed early and am really trying hard myself to become more disciplined! Good quality sleep is absolutely integral to our immune systems and thus our physical, mental and emotional well-being – we would, after all, die from madness due to lack of sleep before we would die of lack of water or food!
- Get into bed around 10 and 11pm – between the hours of 10pm and 1am is when your adrenals are recharging and recovering so you should definitely aim to be sleeping during these hours.
- Sleep for 7-8 hours – no more, no less.
- Stop eating, watching TV, being at your computer or on your phone at least two hours before bed.
- Wind down with a bath, dim the lights, read, meditate, stretch.