You’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed with all the advice being spread (pardon the pun) since the onset of COVID-19 in Australia. So we are keeping it super basic today and giving you just a few simple areas to focus on.
When exposed to stress, our body produces high levels of our stress hormones – cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. High cortisol in particular, can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels, decrease libido and contribute to obesity. Lifestyle factors are key to regulating immune function and there are many ways to help manage your stress, including:
- Prioritise sleep. Research has shown that every hour of sleep prior to midnight is the equivalent to two hours after. Ensure you turn off all technology in the hour prior to bed and take time to wind down from the day, whether it be incorporating a meditation practice, legs up the wall or a relaxing bath.
- Exercise regularly. Daily movement helps ensure the release of feel good endorphins. Don’t feel that you need to be incorporating an intense exercise regime, but in fact look to incorporate incidental movement and find exercises which you enjoy doing – try yoga, Pilates or even a walk around the block at lunch time.
Eat Real Food
If you’ve been a part of the TNN team for a while, you will know that 70–90% of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract, therefore what you eat affects your immunity. Ensure you:
- Get plenty of Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been extensively studied for its immune supporting properties, as it is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from potentially harmful free radicals. Aim to consume vitamin C-rich foods such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, berries and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts. Please also consider supplementing your dietary intake with a high quality vitamin C powder such as from Melrose.
- Maintain good gut health. Your health starts in the gut. Say no to refined sugar as it can lead to an overabundance of pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Instead, support your digestion and immune system with probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, gelatin gummies and bone broth.
- Incorporate garlic and turmeric regularly. Garlic, and curcumin, the key compound in turmeric, offer amazing anti-inflammatory and immunity benefits. Turmeric is an ancient Ayurvedic spice that offers liver and gall bladder support as it assists the enzymes responsible for flushing out dietary carcinogens. Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate liver enzymes responsible for expelling toxins from the body. It is also known as nature’s antibiotic. Incorporate both where you can, starting with a batch of our Red Chicken Curry with Broccoli Rice.
How are you staying well during this challenging time? Read my Four Ways to Support Your Family’s Immune Health here.