In part 1 of this series I wrote about wheatgrass, probiotics and keeping stress levels low to improve immune function. How many of you have succumbed so far this winter to the bugs that have been going around? My guess is quite a lot of people, even if you’re generally healthy.
Let’s get going with the next instalment, and what better time to advise that you…
Ditch the sugar!
At this time of year practically all of us have overindulged; even those on a strict raw diet (such as myself) will maybe have noticed that the raw treats increased in number as yet another high-sugar raw cake was passed around. Sugar consumption spikes cortisol levels (I wrote about cortisol in the last but one blog, which you can access here). Cortisol is harmful to immune function because it reduces the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. In addition to depressing immune function, sugar adversely affects mood, increases wrinkling of the skin, reduces secretion of HGH (human growth hormone, a powerful anti-ageing ally) and generally makes people feel rubbish after an initial high. Definitely best avoided for so many reasons.
Get sufficient vitamin D. Most widely known for its benefits for bone health, this powerful nutrient/hormone influences over 2000 genes and low levels are associated with poor immunity. Top up your Vitamin D levels by getting out in the sun between late March and early October (in the UK – check your recommendations for the latitude where you live) and taking a winter sun holiday or taking a vitamin D3 supplement in the winter, ideally balanced out with vitamin K2. See my book Love Your Bones for more information about the D3/K2 balance, and The Fatigue Solution for more information on how vitamin D3 influences immunity and energy levels.
If you are taking antioxidants as a supplement (and I do), they must be whole-food based and full-spectrum, not individual, isolated and chemically-derived. There are probably about 25,000 antioxidants in the plant kingdom and we need all of them, not just vitamin C. Realistically you can’t get them all from the food that you eat, no matter how good your diet is. This isn’t just my opinion, it’s that of a large number of health experts. This supplement is the one I use – clinically proven to boost immunity and increase blood antioxidant levels in both healthy and unhealthy adults, as well as reducing winter illness in another study. One very exciting benefit is that it slashes lipid peroxide levels; lipid peroxides are a very damaging type of free radical, so it gives great protection against oxidative stress (one of the major causes of ageing). I have personally used this product since 1995. Where else can you get the benefits of 30 different nutrient dense fruit and veg in capsule form, minimally processed with all nutrients intact? Order here and feel the difference!
Part 3 of this blog will cover alcohol, exercise and the benefits of other things you can do outside the home and workplace. Coming up in late January/early February….