With the onslaught of Coronavirus (Covid-19) affecting the globe and the devastation caused by the pandemic, strategies are required to build a healthy strong immune system.
Promote the lymphatic system.
The lymph system primary role is to transport immune cells and dead cellular debris through the body to where it can be removed and recycled.
Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymph system does not have a heart to pump its fluids . The flow of lymph is dictated by the motions of the muscles and joints during exercise.
This is why exercise and movement is essential to get the lymph system in prime condition to support the immune system.
Microbiome (Gut) Health
Three quarters of the immune system resides in the digestive tract.
Three pounds of bacteria (500 species) are found in the gut and form an ecosystem that produces vitamins and other healing compounds. The bacteria helps to digest food, regulate hormones and excrete toxins.
This entire immune system is protected from the rest of the body by a thin, fragile lining only one cell thick. If that lining is damaged and the barrier is penetrated, the immune system becomes hyperactive leading to systematic inflammation. The result is a weakened immune system which can create allergies and auto-immune diseases.
How to support the microbiome?
- Avoid gluten products which cause inflammation and leaky gut from the protein molecule Gliadin
- Reduce FODMAP. FODMAPs are different types of carbohydrates that are found in certain foods like wheat and beans. Studies have shown strong links between FODMAPs and IBS. Low FODMAP diets can provide relief from IBS symptoms. However, these diets are only temporary
- Intermittent Fasting . By restricting feeding hours, stored fat will be used as energy. In addition, IF will improve brain health and function. This is done by intentionally self-destructing ageing neurons to make room for new ones (neuronal autophagy). Restrictive autophagic activity is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
- Frequent feeding, particularly of sugars and proteins causes elevated insulin which reduces neuronal autophagy
- 16 hours of fasting is considered a good time. This is where the point that cellular autophagy increases There is some evidence to suggest that women are better with a 14 hour fast to limit normal imbalances and metabolic dysfunction
- Eat probiotic and fermented foods which help modulate the immune system
- Consume prebiotic foods which feed beneficial gut bacteria
- Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables, preferably organic and pesticide free
- Target high levels of polyphenols, anti-oxidants that fuel heathy gut bacteria. Examples include nuts, seeds, berries, olive oil, brassicas, coffee, dark chocolate and green tea
- Avoid artificial sweeteners
- Eat less sugar
- Avoid anti-biotics if possible
- Eat organic meats
- Eat wild fish
- Avoid excessive exercise which damages gut health
- Reduce stress
- Increase sleep
High levels of constant stress contributes to many health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, ageing, diabetes and anxiety.
Exercise increases endorphins, feel-good neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being and euphoria. With Covid-19 causing fear and anxiety, people feel overwhelmed. Regular physical activity will alleviate symptoms and improve mental and physical health
Exercise strengthens bones, muscles and the immune system. It lowers blood pressure, boost levels of good cholesterol, improves circulation, promotes weight loss, helps sleep, boosts energy levels and improve well-being.
Keeping fit during the Coronavirus pandemic
As the UK edges towards a lock down in public places as seen in China, Italy, France and Spain, structured exercise is difficult.
Cycling, walking, jogging, hill climbing, dancing are all accessible alternatives.
There are many online bodyweight exercise workouts requiring no equipment. And it’s a perfect time to get out into the countryside and away from crowds as spring approaches.
Trainers will encourage clients to continue personal training sessions in the open air. It will help to build a healthy immune system and promote well-being.
Eat well, avoid large gatherings, wash you hands for 20 seconds regularly, keep moving and stay safe.