If you haven’t started already, now is time to get your immune system ready for Autumn/ Winter, and I don’t mean just digging out your vitamin D from the back of the drawer. One of the most important things you can do is tackle any inflammation in your body. Inflammation is our body’s natural response to injury, allergy and infection, it’s like your internal body guard. You catch a cold or accidentally scrape your arm, the immune system activates an inflammatory response to protect you, white blood cells neutralise the threat, then the inflammatory response is switched off and repair begins.
However, as we age, this normal response can become over-reactive, putting us in a state of chronic, low-level inflammation, turning what should be a natural healing response into something more negative. In other words, it’s like your internal body guard has become paranoid and won’t switch off, so your body stays inflamed. Your immune cells are on red alert and your body has become a police state. Everything going on in the body that perhaps would have previously been dealt with in a calm manner, it now perceived as a possible threat.
Stress? Threat. Household chemicals? Threat. Food additives? Threat. That food you have always eaten everyday? Threat. Your beloved pet’s fur? Threat. Those emotions you aren’t expressing? Threat. All these perceived ‘threats’ can begin to trigger excessive inflammatory responses leading to allergies, food intolerances, hives, wrinkles, sagging skin, joint pain, headaches, congestion and of course an imbalanced immune system and lowered immunity. Once the immune cells do reach DEFCON 5*, they basically aren’t seeing straight at this point and can start attacking the healthy tissues causing autoimmune diseases.
So what can you do? Start with the basics. The immune system starts in the gut, so it’s an easy place to start and prevent inflammation. Signs of chronic, low grade inflammation can manifest as indigestion, bloating, any tenderness, loose stools or mucus on stools, excessive wind, (apparently 15 windy pops a day is normal, I would love to know who researches these things!).
Other signs are food intolerances, allergies, rashes, hives, dry eyes, fatigue, joint pain/ stiffness, swelling or bloating (especially hands and fett), headaches, congestion, mucus, frequent colds, infections, fine lines to name a few.
Simple actions to take would be stay away from inflammatory foods like sugar, trans-fats (margarine, lard, deep frying oil) white flour (all gluten for some), dairy, especially from cows and avoid alcohol. Stay away from foods that make your nose run, eyes water or cause you to bloat, they are signs of an inflammatory response. (If everything you eat makes you bloat, they there is some overall gut dysbiosis that needs to be dealt with.)
Eat organic whenever possible, or at least buy organic when consuming the dirty dozen**. When you can’t buy organic, wash your fruit and vegetables, I use Veggie-Wash, find it HERE
Keep your stress levels down and find ways to express your feelings or safe ways to be heard instead of swallowing them. Stop consistently putting others before your own needs, especially women (one study estimated that about 80% of all patients diagnosed with autoimmune diseases are women.)
Other than eating a balanced diet (protein, carbs, good fats), drinking plenty of filtered water, start eating a rainbow of vegetables. Take vitamin D3 or vitamin D3/ k2 supplements, (I take this one, see below ***), as low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a significantly increased risk of pneumonia and viral upper respiratory tract infections. Read more HERE (There have also been studies that vitamin D could reduce the severity of COVID-19.)
Add the following to your diet; lemon (alkaliser), garlic (overall superhero), turmeric (anti-inflammatory), beetroot (great detoxifier/ eliminator), variety of beans (antioxidant), good fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil). Get out in the fresh air, rest, make time for relaxation and most importantly laugh! Laughter is one of the best things for the immune system!
*(DEFCON is a defense alert state (numbered 1–5) used by the United States Armed Forces.)
** This Dirty Dozen refers to PAN UK’s analysis of three years’ worth of data that provides consumers with information of UK produce that is the most likely to contain the highest levels of pesticide residues. These include: Grapefruit, Soft citrus, such as mandarins, Strawberries, Oranges, Dried grapes, such as raisins, Herbs, Pre-packed salads, Grapes, Lemons, Pears, Peaches and nectarines, Spinach. The Environmental Working list is HERE
*** Metabolics Vitamin D3/ K2 oil, buy it HERE (use reference 162876 for 10% off)