3 ways to naturally boost your immune system
Hi, I’m Jo Crovini, a Nutritional Therapist based in Cardiff, and I’ve been a member of Fresh Air Fridays for many years. It’s a huge part of my self-care and has changed the way I approach family life and the way I run my business.
Regularly attending Fresh Air Fridays sessions gives me some headspace and a different perspective on things, even during stressful or busy times. So, I was really pleased when I was asked to share a guest blog with you.
Boosting your immunity
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been sharing my thoughts on immunity with my clients, so today I wanted to share that with you. There’s a lot of that flying around at the moment, so to be clear I’m not going to tell you to start taking vitamin C, to up your Zinc or in fact take any other immune boosting supplement. And I’m definitely not going to tell you to invest in some immune boosting juices or turmeric shots. Why?
Because there’s far more to immunity than taking a supplement. If your diet is poor, and has been for some time, a vitamin C supplement is unlikely to make a big difference. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t make a difference or that the supplements you may have bought are wasted; rather that it’s not quite that simple and a wider approach to improving diet and lifestyle will help.
1. Start with your gut
A great starting place is to look at your gut as that’s where a lot of your immune system is. Your gut loves fibre so plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains will feed the good bacteria that support the system. If you struggle with fibre because it causes bloating and wind, try slow cooked soups, stews and casseroles as a starting point with increasing amounts of vegetables. And if you can’t find exactly what you need in the shops just choose another fibre source – we can only use what we can get. Fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut can also be of benefit here but they need to be fresh, rather than long life, and should be used in small amounts. Remember natural live yogurt is fermented too. It’s fine to keep things simple.
2. Find moments of calm
Lifestyle is also important with stress being the biggest thing that can have a negative impact on our immunity. I’m aware that me telling you to calm down and relax isn’t very helpful. We all have different challenges especially during the Covid-19 pandemic – being a key worker, home schooling whilst working or running a business, losing an income or being in a high risk group. Whatever your situation I’d invite you to find the small moments of calm in your day – a ten minute sit down with a cup of tea, the short time when you’re awake before the kids in the morning, five minutes of breathing before bed or if you have a bit longer a bath or a video chat with friends.
Why not try a FREE Fresh Air Fridays Breathing Space session. These 30 minute virtual drop-in groups will provide you with a safe space to destress and breathe again, leaving you feeling happier and calmer.
3. Get outside
Getting outside is also a huge immune booster, so even though your regular face to face Fresh Air Fridays session may not be running at the moment, try to get fresh air whenever you can. A walk close to home is great if you’re not self-isolating – choose somewhere quiet so you’re not worried about being in contact with other people. If a walk isn’t going to work for you, then sitting in the garden is great, and if you don’t have an accessible garden sit by an open window with a cup of tea and take some time to just breathe.
And if I did have to pick a nutrient that’s important for immunity and that most of us have access to without a supplement, it’d be vitamin D. So in these sunny days, for as long as they last, that bit of fresh air will also be topping up your vitamin D levels. Make sure that you expose as much of your skin as possible to the sun without burning.
Stay safe and shout if I can help in any way.
You can find out more about Jo and how to contact her via her website www.cardiffnutritionist.co.uk