Three different ways to keep super healthy this winter
Keep stress down –
too much stress (of any type) will produce an excess of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands and they rely on a lot of B vitamins and vitamin C for optimal function. These vitamins are also essential for your energy and immunity. Therefore if you are highly stressed, sleep deprived are over exercising or eating crappy food then you will be depleting these essential vitamins at a rapid rate. You will also be producing cortisol frequently and heading for the feeling of being run down, tired and prone to illness.
Tip: Eat fewer processed foods, especially the processed and sugary ones. Top up with a high quality multi-vitamin and mineral if you are already feeling that stress is taking hold.
Manage your gut health –
the health of your immune system stems from the health of your gut and more precisely your gut flora. By ensuring this stays in tip top condition you’ll be setting yourself up for a much better level of health. Things that damage the gut flora are poor food choices, excessive sugar, excessive processed carbohydrates, too much alcohol, medication and gluten. If you suffer with bloating, wind, regular occurrences of thrush, skin problems, digestive problems like diarrhoea or constipation then chances are you have a damaged gut.
You can start to repair it by cutting out all processed foods especially the cheaper carbohydrates like cereals, cakes, biscuits, pastas, sweets, jams and puddings. Removing or substantially reducing sugar and alcohol will make a big difference too. If you can establish whether you have allergies or intolerances to foods will also help. When you cut these out you give your body the chance to repair the gut flora naturally.
Sometimes though that’s not enough, if you are on the constant roundabout of illness ? antibiotics ? more illness ? more antibiotics then your gut flora will be really struggling as the antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in your system.
The best and simplest way to maintain good bacterial health is by ensuring you eat a good supply of foods as close to their natural state as possible. In addition to this by selecting to eat a small amount of fermented food each day you will be promoting your gut health even more. This is foods like sauerkraut, kimchi or live natural yoghurt consumed each day.
If you are in need of major gut health repair after illness or a prolonged period of a poor diet you may want to take a pro-biotic supplement which will also help to replenish the good bacteria and start to rebuild your immunity.
Tip: When you are on antibiotics take a pro-biotic 2 hours after your medication and with a small amount of food. Never take antibiotics and pro-biotics at the same time, the pro-biotics will be killed off.
Cut out the bad fats – but boost the good (and it’s not what you think)
fat gets a lot of bad press and also gets a lot of conflicting information reported about it. It is however very simple, eating natural fats is beneficial and necessary. It is unfortunately the over consumption of cheap, processed oils and vegetable fats that have been shown to be the cause of inflammatory conditions like heart disease, clogged arteries and cancer.
Choose animal fats, coconut oil, butter and lard for cooking. Use cold pressed extra-virgin olive, seed or nut oils as dressings or supplements. These oils will be in dark, glass bottles and harder to find. The oil found in clear, plastic bottles is of a poor quality and damaging to our cells, so ultimately damaging to our health. They should be avoided.
Do eat butter, lard, dripping or duck and goose fats. These fats are not at all bad for us and our body needs them and uses them well. Saturated fat improves and enhances our immune system so we become more protected from infections. It is also the preferential energy source for the heart. Think of it as heart friendly, not heart damaging despite what you read in the papers.
Finally, and this is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but during the summer do make sure that you get sunlight on your unprotected skin. I am not suggesting burning in the sun, that is damaging. But the action of sun on the skin will produce vitamin D which has been shown to be especially important in immune health. Every time you cover up or slap on the sun cream you stop that effect and stop all chances of this perfectly natural process.
If you are lucky enough, have time enough or are inclined enough do take winter holidays in a sunny climate. Think of it for medicinal purposes!
Get yourself healthy with these few simple changes and you’ll be well on the road to a healthier, happier winter this year.
And not one mention of eating oranges or taking a daily Berocca.