TOP 3 TIPS TO BUILD A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM

24 / FEBRUARY / 2021
SHEREE'S HEALTH DIARIES

With health being at the forefront of our attention since the year that was 2020, it is more important now, than ever to be prioritising your well-being and supporting your immune system! 

Which is exactly why I have compiled my top 3 tips to building a healthy, strong immune system! If you want to go deeper than this 5 minute read, I have done an IGTV video expanding on these tips in more detail! 

TOP 3 TIPS

Tip #1: Optimising Your Gut Health

Did you know that over 70% of your immune system is in your gut? 

Let that sink in for a minute, 70% of the immune system… no wonder gut health is such a hot topic and it is rightly so! We need to take care of it! 

Your gut is where your bacteria and immune system meet, it is home to 100 trillion microorganisms, which collectively is known as your gut microbiome or ‘microbiota’. It may sound a bit scary to think that we in fact have more of these microorganisms living in us, than human cells… but not to worry! They are here to help (if you get the balance right!). 

Ultimately, we want as much diversity in the gut as possible, because the more diversity, the more of a chance you have at fighting and removing anything that shouldn’t be in your system. 

This happens naturally, as long as your gut is balanced and not in a state of dysbiosis (more bad guys than good guys). There are a number of things that can cause dysbiosis, and other gut issues such as ‘leaky gut’ which in turn weakens not only your gut health, but overall health because the majority of your immune system is in your gut! 

One of the main issues is STRESS! And I cannot STRESS this enough!! Chronic stress results in elevated cortisol (stress hormone), which equates to a suppressed immune system, leaving you in a position of being more susceptible to falling sick or ill. Have you ever noticed that you’re someone that falls sick often or ill as soon as you get a rest or time off? If you are someone that is constantly under stress, it should be your number one priority to start managing this! 

So how do we minimise the stress? The first step is something really simple that you can do throughout the day, and it’s super simple! Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, by activating the vagus nerve through diaphragmatic breathing (or deep belly breathing as it is more commonly known). Taking six deep diaphragmatic breaths throughout the day, in and out through the nose, is a powerful way of resetting the nervous system! Don’t underestimate its simplicity in helping your immune system build stronger! 

Tip #2: Get Quality Sleep

Ask any one of my clients, and they will all tell you the same thing, I believe that sleep is the foundation of your health!! It impacts every single function in the body, including the effectiveness of your immune system! 

Whilst quantity is important and we want to be getting at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night (don’t skimp on this), you want to make sure those 7 – 9 hours are QUALITY!

Sleep is where we do the majority of our rest, repair and recovery, as well as our growth! It also contributes to strengthening both our innate and adaptive immunity (the two different branches of your immune system). 

It even goes as far as strengthening our immune memory. It’s common knowledge that our sleep helps us retain our memories, but it also has been shown to strengthen the memory of our immune system, and the cells, which in turn helps them know how to fight off viruses or bacterial infections that it has encountered in the past. 

If you are someone that is waking up tired, chances are you aren’t getting the quality sleep! So the first thing you need to focus on is your sleep hygiene (or nighttime routine). As it has been reported repeatedly in the literature that decreased sleep has been linked to more illnesses. 

How do you optimise your sleep hygiene? Try building a healthy night time routine: 

–  Aim to be asleep around 9 – 10pm each night to allow your body time to get into the deep restful and repair sleep phases. 

–  Reduce your exposure to artificial lighting, particularly blue lights from screens, dim your lights and invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses, and try to be off your screens at least an hour before bed

–  Ensure your sleep environment is a relaxing space, keep work, kids and tv’s out of the bedroom! Make it a sleep haven, so that your brain starts to associate your bedroom with rest and sleep so you fall asleep easier.

Tip #3: Fuel Your Body with Quality Nutrients

The quality of the food you eat is essential to building a healthy immune system. The foods we consume literally become a part of you, they get broken down into micro versions and absorbed into the body, where we use them to build, repair and assist in the functioning of our bodies! Think of them as building blocks! So if we aren’t eating well, we can’t expect our immune system to be functioning optimally! 

One tip I can give you right now, is try to eat as many whole real foods (and organic if possible). Whilst organic may be a little more on the pricey side, it generally has a higher nutrient count as it hasn’t been sprayed by nitric oxide which decreases the roots ability to grow deep into the ground to find nutrients by 90%. This means we are only getting 10% of the potential nutrients when we eat non-organic (and don’t even get me started on the quality of soil!). 

If eating organic isn’t an option, I suggest you wash your fruits and veggies in apple cider vinegar and a bit of salt to make sure you are removing as much of the pesticides and sprays that you can which aren’t good for our gut health (and therefore immune system either). 

The next thing to focus on when eating whole real foods, is that the fresher the better! It is rather common knowledge that vitamin C is a great immune system booster! It also halves our cortisol levels, which is great in reducing the impact of stress on the body and the gut of course! 

However, what a lot of people don’t know is that after that orange or kiwifruit that is rich in vitamin C is picked, after 4 days, up to 80% of its vitamin C content is lost! So, if you are eating fruit that has probably been kept in storage for months at a time, chances are you are missing that vitamin C hit you think you’re getting! Which is why I personally take a vitamin C supplement all year round! 

The best advice I can give you is to eat whole real foods, as fresh as possible, and aim to hit your 5 + a day of fruits and veggies (predominantly veggies), this is something a vast majority of adults don’t manage to do daily. So, start with this small but simple goal and notice the difference in how you feel and your immune system will thank you for it!! Aim for half a plate of leafy or non-starchy veggies with your main meals.

There you have it, simple yet super effective ways to build and boost your immune system! Let’s make your health and well-being an integral yet easy part of your lifestyle! 

With love,
Sheree xo

SHEREE BEAUMONT

Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer & Wellness Coach I empower women like you to transform their lives, understand their bodies and feel their best from the inside out!

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