It won’t have escaped your notice that everyone is panicking right now, and fear is spreading faster than any virus. I’d love to share some generic opinions on boosting immunity so that we are in optimum health and can protect ourselves as much as possible. There’s a chance to hear my interview with medical doctor Dr Gemma Newman
All of these tips would be relevant during the winter months generally as they are mostly common sense so ask yourself how many you are following through on. (of course we are well aware that the situation is different if your health and immunity is already severely compromised)
Get plenty of fresh fruit and veg in your diet, it sounds SO obvious but most of us aren’t managing even five a day, eat four to five cups worth of veg, dark green leafy veg is crucial but don’t forget to ‘eat a rainbow’ red, yellow orange foods, the brighter the (natural) colour the better.
Photo by Silvarita
Dr Gemma Newman, known as ‘The Plant Power Doctor says
Eat more plants! This will increase your phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and polyphenols. Good gut health means a better functioning immune system. Ensure you have –
Zinc from pumpkin and sesame seeds
selenium from Brazil nuts
vitamin C from berries and citrus fruits
anti-viral foods like garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, elderberry and mushrooms
Listen to my interview with Dr Gemma Newman a medical Doctor who is also known as The Plant Power Doctor.
Remember that vitamins and minerals are important, if you can get a nutritional test, do, as its always better to get a personalised profile, but if not ensure you are getting enough Vitamin C, its essential to fight off viruses, in addition to berries and citrus fruits mentioned above, you will find Vitamin C in Cabbage, parsley, broccoli (especially the stalk) and even in Thyme.
Vitamin D is critical too, most of us in the Northern hemisphere are lacking in it, we simply don’t get enough sunshine then we find we are depleted, so do allow yourself some sunshine, and boost your intake during the winter months. Get tested if possible and if you need to supplement use an Oral Spray such as Better You
Probiotics (multi strain) – 10-50 Billion cells a day (Strong stomach strong = strong immune system!!)
Don’t forget your good health and immunity starts in the gut. If you aren’t already take a good quality probiotic, think about kefir or a liquid bacterial drink, and don’t forget a prebiotic also, Dr Gemma advises that its all about gut diversity and ‘Eating a Rainbow’
Stay hydrated, I talk a lot about drinking copious amounts of water, but often forget to!
Avoid alcohol, it lowers your defences. Check out www.thesoberclub.com for inspiraiton
If you do get cold and flu like symptoms its hard to beat lemon and ginger, just boil up a big pan of hot water with slices of lemon and ginger, strain it off and cool.
Taking a spoonful of wild honey is very soothing for a sore throat and if you can bear it, crush a clove of garlic and have that too, super antibacterial!
Don’t forget the power of steam inhalation, add a few drops of essential oil such as Lavender, Eucalyptus, Lemon or Tea Tree to a bowl of hot water and gently inhale with your head under a towel (be careful not to burn yourself!)
You can of course use essential oils in a burner or put some into a spray bottle with water and a drop of white vinegar to use as a room spray.
One of my favourite soothers for a cough or sore throat is to coat half a peeled onion in brown sugar and leave it overnight. In the morning the ‘syrup’ makes a strong cough syrup!
Obviously hand washing is important; I personally prefer natural soap such as Kentish soap made without the use of harsh chemicals, but still super effective. Dr Gemma agrees that if you have access t o soap and water thats best. For when you are out and about, don’t panic buy! It’s easy to make your own anti-bacterial ‘handwash’ by spritzing some Incognito insect repellent spray onto wet hands.
Get plenty of fresh air and exercise, getting out into nature is fantastic for boosting immunity and if there is any sunshine make sure you soak up the rays for half an hour. In years gone by sun-bathing’ was recommended by naturopathic doctors, ‘Heilotherapy’ Today we cover up, lather on chemical sun creams and wonder why we are lacking in Vitamin D and feel good endorphins!
On that note the final tip is choose happiness, being happy is one of the best defences against illness. Take time for self care, do things that you enjoy, spend time with friends, with animals, find the resources that work for you. For me it’s a walk by the sea, it lifts my spirits. Dr Gemma says getting good sleep and avoiding stress is key, so feeling ultra fearful about this won’t be helping your immunity. I feel a few bars coming on ….’Don’t worry…Be Happy’
(illustration by Rebecca Osborne taken from Goodbye Wine Witch e-booklet by Janey Lee Grace)