Your immune system is vital in keeping you healthy. As your body’s own built-in defence mechanism, it works tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that any coughs, colds and infections are kept at bay by fighting against any viruses or bacteria that you may come into contact with.
As the weather gets a little bit colder through the autumn and winter months, our immune system can sometimes need a helping hand in keeping you healthy. The colder months are notoriously difficult times for your immune system as they have more germs, viruses and bacteria to contend with, not to mention less sunlight so less vitamin D to protect our immune system.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can ensure your immune system is ready to take on any unwelcome bugs, viruses and other nasties this autumn.
It should come as no surprise that your diet can have a massive impact on your health and wellbeing. However, there are certain changes that you can make to what you eat that can be especially beneficial throughout the autumn and winter months. Your immune system is affected by what you eat, so making sure that you have a balanced, nutritional diet is key.
Vitamins are a fantastic way of boosting your immune system. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, can be found in a variety of different foods. These are really beneficial as they protect cells from free radical damage, which helps the body to absorb iron better.
Vitamins A, B6, C, D and E, as well as minerals such as zinc and copper all work in collaboration to help keep your immune system in balance.
Fill your plate with leafy greens such as spinach which contain a myriad of vitamins, as well as calcium and potassium. Other vegetables such as peppers are also beneficial, especially when eaten raw, as well as sweet potatoes that offer vitamins B6 and C. Eating a wide variety of vegetables is a great way of boosting your gut microbiome which, in turn, will help give you a more resilient immune system.
Throughout the year you should do your best to set time apart to engage in some light exercise. However, as it gets colder this can be especially useful. When it comes to your immune system, frequent, short bouts of exercise seem to work best for your immune system.
One of the most important pieces of advice around exercise is to listen to your body. If you’re feeling particularly drained, cut down for the rest of the week to allow yourself to recover otherwise it could be detrimental to how you’re feeling. In fact, too much exercise can cause your immune system to become suppressed, which means that you’re putting yourself at risk of catching a nasty illness.
Soak up the sunshine
In autumn, we are blessed (most days) with clear sunny skies so make the most of those days and spend at least 15 minutes in the sun – every day. Our body synthesises vitamin D, which has a marked role in immunity, from sunlight exposure.
Food sources of vitamin D include oily fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel), eggs and mushrooms. Apart from vitamin D synthesis, sunlight boosts your mood and stimulates the pineal gland to produce melatonin (our ‘sleep hormone’), helping to regulate our sleep and wake cycle. Some people have trouble converting vitamin D in their body. Blood tests can be done to determine your levels of this crucial nutrient. If you are low, good quality vitamin D supplements are readily available.
It’s no longer a secret that our gut microbiome (that’s all the bacteria in our gut) affects every aspect of our health. Around 80% of our immune system is housed throughout our gut. From mental health to immune health, having a healthy microbiome is essential to overall health. To optimise gut health, include food sources of probiotic bacteria to your diet. These include fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi, kombucha and good quality fermented dairy products such as yoghurt or kefir. If you don’t enjoy eating such foods, or can’t consume them frequently enough, the simplest answer comes in the form of supplementation. Take one of my Live Bacteria probiotic capsules daily, with a small glass of water (cold, not hot).
Do a charcoal cleanse
You may have heard some of the recent buzz around activated charcoal. Charcoal, however, isn’t really new – it’s been around since long before the 19th century, when both the ancient Egyptians and Greeks used it as a multi-purpose poison and disease antidote.
Activated charcoal acts as a sponge by absorbing unwanted toxins, chemicals, and other debris such as overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast, parasites, and other ‘unwanted friends.’ In short, think of activated charcoal as a magnet for all things bad.
My activated Charcoal capsules are ideal for seasonal digestive cleanses, as well as a treatment for gas and bloating. The charcoal helps to absorb any ingested toxins and flush them out of the body. You can find out more about how to carry out my 5-day Charcoal cleanse here.
Once you detox your gut, you are also likely to notice an improvement in your mood, as was the case for Rhonnie:
My activated Charcoal is a family and customer favourite as a quick and easy way to reset the gut, alleviate gas and bloating, and enter the autumnal months with an uplifted mood.