Keeping well – what we can do without taking supplements
Although it can be easier to take a tablet or a supplement, there are some lifestyle habits we can adopt to manage our own health. This is all the more important in our current environment when we are more aware of maintaining strong immunity, and when some of us have either lost jobs or have had to take a pay cut and have to watch our finances more carefully.
- Sugar and carbs. Although sugary things are often cheap, they also cheapen our health. One thing they do is block absorption of vitamin C.
- Sleep – poor or broken sleep erodes immunity. Managing our time wisely so that we are not compromising our available time to sleep is also important – being tired versus being exhausted are two different things, and exhaustion is more depleting especially if it is on-going. Scheduling me-time can be very restorative (yes, I know, far more easily said than done for those new parents out there, or for those with several young children!)
- Dehydration – this can lead to headaches, pain, constipation, allergies and other health conditions. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt & some drugs can be dehydrating. Water cleanses waste from the body, and allows red blood cells to carry oxygen more efficiently, resulting in better muscular function and mental sharpness. If you don’t like plain water, you can make it more interesting by using a squeeze of lemon (now in season) or a sprig of mint, or if you like, cold water fruit infusions, which have no sugar added. Taking water internally also helps the appearance of nice skin!
- Too much time indoors – this results in less exposure to sunlight for vitamin D and more to the indoor environment, including invisible indoor toxins such as mould or chemicals that can be harmful for immunity. Wrap up in suitable clothing for winter and go for a short walk, preferably not along busy city streets but getting out in nature, beach or bush.
Foods for immune health
Lemons – for vitamin C
Bone broth – this is rich in minerals & vitamins which may boost immunity. Some of the benefits of bone broth (when it is made from split cannon bones, for example) come from the bone marrow, which helps provide the raw materials for healthy blood cells & immune development. Making your own is fantastic, but if you are short on time there are some good ones available in the shops.
Mushrooms – all mushrooms have minerals, vitamins and as vegetarians know, protein. They are high in beta glucans, which supports immunity and gut health.
Garlic and onions – these are anti-inflammatory and also excellent for keeping the liver and gut environment healthy.
Olive oil – this is well-known as a healthy fat. It is rich in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory.
Apple cider vinegar – this is excellent for digestion, and helps to signal the stomach to secrete digestive enzymes to digest food better.
Ginger – ginger is anti-inflammatory, may improve a sore throat, reduce pain and improve digestion.
Berries – even eating a small handful of berries a day can improve your antioxidant status and may help reduce inflammation.