The key to boosting immunity in times of isolation and changes to routine lies in the gut, according to a Melbourne gastrointestinal surgeon based at Warringal Private Hospital.
Dr Arun Dhir, author of ‘Happy Gut Healthy Weight’, said recalibrating and balancing the immune system could be the body’s best defence whether it’s combating a virus or upping immunity during Winter.
Here are 6 steps to boost your bodies immunity:
Drink 1.5 litres of filtered water every day. Filtered water allows efficient removal of toxins from the body, the build-up of which can have negative impact on your immune system. Besides this, water is a natural immune booster, especially if it is alkaline and warm, like green tea - as it also provides a rich source of antioxidants.
Eat immune boosting foods such as dark berries and nuts. More importantly avoid highly processed and preserved foods like sausages, pizzas and foods laden with sugars. Dark berries such as blackberries, strawberries and blueberries are the richest sources of antioxidants that allow optimal functioning of the immune system.
Load up on vitamin C by squeezing fresh lemon juice wherever possible and consuming citrus fruits like oranges and mandarins. Vitamin C assists in managing blood pressure and protection against the common cold.
Get 6-8 hours of good sleep. Sleep is crucial to reboot your immune system. Sleep time is repair time and Putting in strategies to turn off screens two hours before going to sleep and avoiding caffeinated drinks is crucial.
Manage your stress better. Stress not only affects your gut physiology, but it significantly dampens the efficiency of your immune system. Chronically high levels of stress hormone – Cortisol, can weaken the immune system and its ability to fight infection. Staying in home lock down, with the uncertainty of return to work and having to spend day and night with your partner - can be stressful (for some!).
Alcohol is no stress buster. Alcohol is commonly used as a stress buster, however, the effect of alcohol on the gut microbiota and immune system is significant. Studies have shown that alcohol directly disrupts the communication between gut bacteria and the immune system, by making your gut leaky. This starts to set up inflammation in the body thereby engaging the immune system to become occupied with sorting out internal emergencies, leaving little reserve to fight exogenous toxins, bacteria and viruses.
If you find that your diet is lacking, please chat to your local Ramsay Pharmacist. Find your closest store here.