Let’s talk about recurrent infections. Have you noticed that you’re experiencing several recurring infections? Colds, flu, and other bugs that keep coming back? Typically, we associate these issues with winter – the season of colds, flu, and respiratory viruses. But once summer arrives, we tend to shed our layers of clothing, embrace the outdoors, and get busy with life again.
Lately, many of the people I’ve been working with have been dealing with recurring infections. It prompted me to discuss how we can strengthen our immune systems as we approach the festive season. With Christmas around the corner, we all want to wind down and start fresh in the New Year. But leading up to it, life can get hectic.
The year has been super busy for many. Many adult clients and even the kids have said how intense and fast it’s been. It shows how packed our lives have been. As we near the year’s end, exhaustion sets in. Kids can’t wait for holidays, and parents need a Christmas and New Year break.
To top it all off, the weather’s been crazy, especially here in southeast Queensland. We’ve had really hot days, then sudden big drops in temperature the next day. This fluctuation can be a bit of a shock to our bodies as our immune systems struggle to adjust to such rapid changes in weather. Summer storms make it even trickier to adjust.
But don’t worry, here are some tips for how you can support your immune system as we approach Christmas and the festive season:
The first tip I’d like to share today revolves around staying hydrated, especially on hot and humid days. Through various tests, many of my clients have shown signs of dehydration. Ensuring you stay hydrated involves more than just drinking water; it’s about replenishing essential electrolytes too.
Consider options like coconut water, incorporating Celtic sea salt into your meals, or infusing your water with refreshing cucumber and mint leaves. These additions not only enhance the taste, but also encourage consistent hydration throughout the day.
Remember, waiting until you feel thirsty indicates partial dehydration, so maintain a consistent hydration routine. Being adequately hydrated not only aids in avoiding brain fog and sustaining energy levels but also supports toxin elimination and fortifies the immune system.
Consider adapting your diet to the changing seasons, especially as summer approaches. Adjusting what you eat to suit this time of year is helpful. This means leaning towards lighter options like salads, fresh fruits, and vegetables instead of root vegetables. Choosing locally sourced produce, particularly from farmer’s markets, has a fascinating effect on our genes.
These foods contain phytochemicals, nutrients plants use to survive. These substances communicate with our genes, giving insights into our environment. Consequently, our genes direct how our immune system works, aids digestion, and supports overall healing, helping us adapt and thrive in our current surroundings.
Choosing local produce is like having a conversation with your genes, making your immune system more resilient. Plus, summer fruits and veggies are packed with essential nutrients like vitamin C and beta-carotene, vital for a strong immune system.
Get enough Vitamin D
The next tip I’d like to share concerns Vitamin D, often known as the sunshine vitamin. It’s produced in our skin when exposed to sunlight and affects around 900 genes in our body. Research indicates optimal Vitamin D levels, about 120 to 150 nanomoles per litre, are linked to preventing respiratory infections. Checking your Vitamin D levels is crucial, and if needed, we can boost it through sunlight, food, or supplements tailored to your needs.
Supporting Vitamin D activation is vital, especially for the immune system, particularly after a winter with limited sun exposure. As research suggests, elevating your Vitamin D levels can reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
Choose healthier food options
Opt for whole, unprocessed foods and reduce your processed or refined sugar intake. Refined sugar can significantly impact immune cell activity, sometimes by up to 8 to 10 hours.
While it’s the festive season with its indulgences, consider choosing treats that don’t rely heavily on processed sugars. Whole and natural foods provide natural sweetness, offering delicious options that nourish you without compromising taste.
Ensure quality sleep
Ensuring restorative sleep is vital, especially during this busy period. With more social engagements and increased activities, it’s easy to lose out on quality sleep. However, maintaining a healthy sleep routine is crucial for your body’s restoration and repair process.
Sleep isn’t merely downtime; it’s when your body heals, repairs, and strengthens your immune system. Prioritising adequate and quality sleep hours tailored to your individual needs can significantly support your immune system and overall well-being.
Utilise medicinal herbs
Finally, I’d like to highlight the incredible impact of medicinal herbs on our immune system. As a naturopath, I regularly incorporate these powerful herbs due to their significant benefits. Some herbs, such as ashwagandha (also known as withania) and medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps, reishi, and shiitake, play a crucial role in supporting our immune system.
Many medicinal herbs traditionally have a reputation in preventing viral replication and supporting the body against bacterial infections. Considering these herbs could be beneficial if you’re experiencing recurrent infections or aiming to boost your immunity leading up to Christmas.
As I’ve observed, many clients tend to push themselves to the limit, only to experience a weakened immune system during the holiday season. Taking time to rest now can be immensely beneficial. By supporting your immune system with medicinal herbs, you pave the way for an enjoyable festive season—dedicated to your well-being and that of your family
You have the power to make your festive season enjoyable, not just for yourself but also for your family. Wishing you ease and grace during this time.
Treat your body as a sanctuary and show it the care and love it deserves. May your days be filled with health, happiness, and an extended joyful festive season.
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This is how gut microbes can influence weight!
Probiotics can help you gain weight or lose weight by interacting with our genetics, food and metabolism.
And yes, I did say lose or gain weight……..
Firstly, let me explain that the trillions of microbes in the gut need to be varied, meaning that there should be a large variety of species. There are many different species (or breeds) of microbes, and they all have their place in aiding health — the more variety and balance, the better health results.
Back to the weight loss or weight gain issue….
Do you eat yogurt and berries for breakfast? Thinking that it’s helping you lose weight?
Well, Lactobacillus acidophilus (like the species found in yoghurt) has been connected to weight gain.
I am not saying throw your yoghurt and berries in the bin. Instead, I am suggesting looking at the overall picture. If Lactobacillus acidophilus is the predominant micro-organism of the gut, then weight gain can result.
It is about the variety of species of gut microbes. Imagine if we only have trained german shepherd guard dogs in the world. It may be a safe world, but I am sure that other breeds may be more suitable as a family pet.
While Lactobacillus acidophilus is associated with weight gain, other Lactobacillus species correlate with weight loss.
Species like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Bifidobacteria animalis have been found to support weight loss.
Want to lose weight?
Look at your gut flora to support your goal.
Tests can be performed to identify the predominant species of the gut, and specific species can be utilised to support weight changes.
Want more information about your gut health?
Or want to look at all the factors contributing to weight gain, I’d love to be able to help.