Jacqui Lewis - BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine
7 Keys to Healthy Immunity
A healthy immune system is important to protect our body from harmful bacteria and viruses. It’s one of our defenses against serious illness. However, not all people have the same level of immunity, making other people to catch colds easily than the others.
Thankfully, there are ways for you to improve your immune health. Here are a few tips for you to follow.
2. GOOD PERSONAL HYGIENE
3. GUT HEALTH
7. ADEQUATE SUPPLEMENTATION
Sleep reduce inflammation and increase human growth hormone. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep.
Lack of sleep will make you want SUGAR and QUICK HITS OF ENERGY
So you might find yourself reaching for COFFEE, carb-loaded snacks that will further impact your immune system and stress levels overall.
What can you do it sleep isn't good quality.
Getting to sleep should only take about 10-15 min. ANy less and it's a sign you are sleep deprived, any more and you could be ruminating, too stimulated, or nutritional factors could also be at play
If you can't get to sleep - make sure you are
1. Turning off devices at least half an hour before bed.
2. Using a good sleep cue routine to let your body know it bedtime.
Learn more about sleep hygiene here.
3. Turn down the lighting to remind your brain its night time.
4. Check you have healthy iron levels - iron deficiency will present as anxiety, interrupted sleep, restless legs and feeling tired but not being able to sleep. It also impacts Thyroid function which will also disturb your sleep. Healthy Ferritin (stored iron) should be above 70 for healthy blood formation and mental health amongst many other things. If needed, consult your doctor regarding iron supplements to improve your iron levels.
5. Try magnesium supplements to help with sleep.
6. Make sure you are getting enough calcium- also good for heart health and sleep. Taken at bedtime, calcium improves sleep quality.
Overall, in my humble opinion: SLEEP IS THE CURE FOR ALL AILMENTS- immunity, hormonal balance, mood, skin, energy and general zest for life.
You need at least 8 hours every night - regular bedtime, regular waking time for best results AND - sleep uses more energy than watching TV - it's actually good for weight loss.
Stress has a major impact on the body’s ability to fight disease. It increases hormones that reduces immunity. It also gobbles up your B group vitamins, Magnesium and Vitamin C to name a few - all of these are crucial to good immunity.
But stress sometimes is UNAVOIDABLE right?
So - during times of stress you can bet your NUTRITIONAL demands are much higher than normal, so good food, and perhaps some extra supplementation may be called for.
After Weight Loss Surgery - 2 x multivitamin is recommended for life - packed with all the nutrients you are no longer absorbing well, Bariatric specific Multivitamins are YOUR LIFE INSURANCE POLICY!
Preventing nutritional deficiency is quite impossible without support.
Stress influences your digestive processes: your short-term survival is imperative to your nervous system when you experience stress. This means that digesting food becomes a lower priority. Your body will either immediately try to get rid of any undigested food - diarrhea, or your digestive processes start to slow down, causing constipation. Your ability to absorb nutrients may be affected or you will find yourself losing nutrients through waste products such as urine.
Cortisol the stress hormone - will reduce the amount of muscle you have - and will slow your protein absorption - resulting in lower immunity.
Cortisol also increases calcium loss.
Reduce stress by:
1. Not worrying over things you can’t change
2. Expressing your feelings appropriately
3. Learning TIME MANAGEMENT when things get busy
4. Keep your personal space organized and clean
5. Write a list when things are filling up your head
6. LEARN MINDFULNESS and change your mindset
I know - it's a bit of a buzzword and I don't usually suggest we get all “BandWagon” about anything - EXCEPT for GUT HEALTH!!
So what is your GUT and why is it so important for immunity?
Often the word GUT is related to just your stomach/pouch. But when we talk about GUT health we are referring to everything between your lips and your bottom!
This whole system is populated by trillions and trillions of BACTERIA.
I know - EEEEWWWW but these guys are what keep the bad guys from invading.
So - think of it like this: you’re at a party with a bunch of fun-loving, entertaining and happy people - and a group of hoodlums walk in - they stand out like, well you know what they stand out like!.
Everyone else is having fun, enjoying each other's company, and these bad guys start to feel like the odd ones out and they LEAVE.
Same goes for when your gut is set up with colonies and colonies of health giving bacteria - they are like crowd control for the BADDIES - so when you come into contact with a “pathogenic” bacteria / virus - they don't stand a chance to set up camp and form a colony that would impact on your health.
SO - where do we get GOOD bacteria from, and how do we know if we don't have enough?
Burping, gas, indigestion, and discomfort after eating can indicate poor gut health.
Conditions such as CANDIDA, THRUSH, recurrent infections and poor wound healing or recurring urinary tract infections can mean you’ve got too many of certain “unfriendly “ strains allowed to overgrow.
Recurrent cough, sore throat, postnasal drip can also indicate your bacteria could do with a good shuffle.
Where do you begin?
1. Remove all the foods that the bad guys thrive on - WHITE flours, breads and starchy carbs, SUGAR and Alcohol should be reduced dramatically if not eliminated for a good period of time.
2. HEAL and settle the environment with BONE BROTH, slippery elm, and lots of water and fresh food.
3. Repopulating your body with GOOD GUYS by using broad spectrum probiotics is a good idea - not YAKULT - nothing from the supermarket will be strong enough to make the change you are looking for.
It's great you’re adding bacteria - but what does it like to eat?
So, lots of fresh fruit and veg - especially:
Here's a full list.
By regularly adding your PRO biotic and feeding them with PRE biotic, your whole bacterial environment internally and on your skin will change for the better, and you’ll find your vitality increases, your risk of infection is reduced.
Genuine Sauerkraut (not the one on the shelf) Kimchi, yoghurt, kefir, and kombucha are all good examples of foods that will help to change your microbiome for the better They are an easy addition to your everyday meals as well.
Here's an awesome guide with more info to get you started.
So what else have you got to gain out of building a new and Healthy MICROBIOME?
Research is proving the following benefits:
- Leaner body than those with “dysbiosis” or unhealthy overgrowth
- Less infection, colds and flu, cough, UTI and viral infections
- Less skin issues like psoriasis, eczema, candida, thrush
- More energy, less inflammation
- Reduced or eliminated reflux.
- Better absorption of all nutrients
- iron and calcium especially
- Less constipation
- No bad breath
- Better mental health
There's nothing to lose here - Get on to sorting your gut health PRONTO!!
Check out Dr Arun Dhir’s HEALTHY GUT HEALTHY WEIGHT BOOK. You should also add BN Fibre to feed your healthy bacteria. And also heal, soothe and improve immunity with Bone Broth.
If you have any questions or would like more information, join our BN Bariatric community on Facebook. BN Bariatric offers a wealth of knowledge, resources, free support and lively discussion with our Clinical Nutritionists.
BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine