Is your immune health in it for the long haul?
I hope you’re doing well mentally and physically during this odd time. I’m sending you lots of love and a big virtual hug :-) So it looks like we’re not going to be getting out and and about again anytime soon here in the UK and I’m sure, like me and most other people, you’d love to see (in person) certain friends and family members sooner rather than later and give them a big squeeze. In my practice with clients over these last 6 weeks we have been very much focused on healthy habits whilst at home, immune support, stress and anxiety management, and increasing energy and focus, and that’s not changing this week either. Supporting our immunity and health in general is our number one priority right now (at least it should be), especially if the reports of a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 later in the year are accurate, either way, this disease isn’t going away anytime soon. We should be focusing on improving our overall health right now and on making sure our immune systems are operating as best they can. The biggest challenges I’m hearing from clients right now is lack of social connection, missing loved ones, worries and anxieties about their own resilience to the virus and well about high risk family members, lack of time outside, lack of movement, non-stop eating and cravings, over indulgence on sweets and alcohol, not sleeping well, and lack of a proper routine. Do you resonate this any or all of the above?! It’s so natural to have these challenges at a time like this but the trouble is these are the very issues that will weaken our immune resilience and leave us more open to viruses. I’ve written about foods and lifestyle factors that help to strengthen our immunity including foods to support stronger immune health, to support your body to fight off the virus and or reduce its severity, and or support a strong recovery should you get the virus. In my house I make sure myself and my partner have the best supplements, nutrition, hydration, sleep, and movement to support our immune health - and I want the very same for all of you too! Your nutrition choices of course form the foundation of good or not so good health BUT there are other big pieces of the puzzle too and today I’m focusing on 3 of them: 1.SLEEP For a lot of us our routines are totally out of whack at the moment and with that comes disrupted bedtimes. Our bodies follow a specific sleep-wake cycle/rhythm and if that gets disrupted it can affect us quite significantly, both mentally and physically. The number one habit we can adopt right now is to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, 7 days a week. Figure out the best time for you to go to bed and fall asleep at night that suits you best and then be consistent with that every night and aim for a good 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. Adequate sleep EVERY NIGHT allows your immune system (and all your organs) to restore and repair and fight off invaders as best it can. Sleep (or lack of) also has a significant impact on our energy, mood, focus, and food choices the next day, so it really is a key one to work on. My top tips for getting a better night sleep include:
Keeping the lights dim all around the house from early evening to help encourage the wake hormone cortisol to die down and your sleep hormone melatonin to increase
Switching your phone onto flight mode for at least one hour before you plan to go to bed
Doing some deep breathing or meditation
Doing some gentle yoga stretches, restorative yoga or yin yoga
Reading an uplifting but not too stimulating fiction book
2. MOVEMENT Regular exercise promotes good circulation around the body and our immune systems have no pump and so it relies on us moving to circulate immune cells and substances through the body so they can do their job efficiently. Aim to do at least one 1 hour movement practice per day whether it’s an online yoga class, a walk in the park, a jog or a cycle, or a full workout at home. Then build movement into your day, all day. Set a timer to go off every hour to tell you to move! Do any of the following or some up with your own ideas:
10 push ups
run up and down the stairs x 5
30 seconds of running on the spot and 30 seconds of squats x 3 rounds
10 jumping jacks
5 yoga sun salutations
Place a kettlebell, dumbbell or resistance band right by your feet at your desk, outside the bathroom door or by the kettle to trigger you to do 10 reps of something with the weight to band!
3. GUT HEALTH Did you know that your gut has over 100 trillion bacteria living in it? This is referred to as your ‘gut microbiome’. This number is significant because that’s more than the total number of cells in our whole body! Scientists have found that 80% of your immune system is in your gut and these bacteria influence your immune system, provide protective barriers around your body (gut, skin, lungs), and impact how we feel from day to day. It’s important that we nourish the trillions of bacteria living in our gut to ensure it can continue to grow, thrive, and do it’s protective work each day. How do you feed them? Vegetables and fruits from a rainbow of colours is the first thing to ensure you’re doing on a daily basis! Your gut lining and bacteria LOVE the fibre found in vegetables and fruits like berries, apples and pears. They also love omega 3 fats found in oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon), walnuts and flaxseed, collagen from bone broth (cooked for 24 hours), glutamine from cabbage, zinc from nuts, seeds, and good quality red meat, Vitamin A from chicken liver, ghee, green leafy veg, and orange and yellow vegetables, and ‘probiotics’ found in fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir. If you have any questions at all about any of this, and/or you’d like my help on a personalised level I would love to hear from you! Drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to book an informal exploratory call with me to talk it through. Here’s to your optimum health and happiness and a strong immune system! Lots of love Francesca PS if you are interested in booking a standalone Health Optimisation Power Hour consultation (via Zoom) hit reply and let me know, and I am also offering my usual more in-depth longer term packages as well. Click here to book an informal exploratory call with me to talk it through.