Have you suffered from any of the nasty viruses recently? I have been treating lots of clients recently with sinus problems and other virus related issues, so thought this would be a good time to recommend how you can support your immune system whilst there are so many bugs doing the rounds.
It is important to get out into the daylight to help with your sleep wake cycle. Getting over 8 hours of sleep per night helps the immune system to latch onto bacteria so they can fight infection quicker. If you get less than 7 hours sleep per night studies show you are three times more likely to get a cold that those that get over 8 hours sleep per night.
Are you getting the right amount of exercise? When we exercise and increase blood flow we also increase the flow of immune cells around our body making it more effective at fight off infections. If you can get outside to exercise you expose yourself to daylight which increases your opportunity to absorb vitamin D. This also reduces stress and it helps regulate the circadian rhythm. To much exercise can stress the body, having the opposite effect, so try to get the right balance.
Maintain a healthy diet: Your diet should contain a variety of foods containing vitamins and mineral. Include garlic and vitamin C containing foods such as fruit and green vegetables to support your immune system.
Reduce your consumption of alcohol: Research has found that drinking alcohol (especially binge drinking) suppresses immune cells by 20 to 30%, meaning you are more susceptible to infection. Are you doing dry January? Why not continue into February?
80% of your immune system is in your gut. Support your gut to create a more diverse microbiome which is essential for our health. You can do the by including a variety of fruit and vegetable, and include some fermented foods too. There is more awareness and media attention about gut health, it is great to see it being talked about a lot more.
Reduce your stress: A little bit of stress increases the response of the immune system and in the short term this primes the immune system to respond to any threat from infection. However if we are exposed to too much stress the immune system becomes over active and can leads to damage of healthy cells.
Vitamin D is essential to the immune system and we get Vitamin D from the sun. However during the months from October to April we can not absorb enough vitamin D from the sun. The NHS recommend taking a supplement of 10micrograms or 400iu per day. This is a blanket recommendation however it is important to know what your current blood vitamin D level is. Why not find out by taking a simple finger prick blood test to know what your level is and then take the required amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin K2 helps with the absorption of Vitamin D so a combined supplement is best. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and should be taken with fat. You can buy vitamin D drops which are in oil so well absorbed by the body.