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Immune System Health and what you can do to improve

It’s never been more important to look after our immune system health. All of us are naturally concerned and worried about the threat of the Coronavirus and the impact and the aftermath. We are all in this together, but it couldn’t feel more isolating. Apart from following Public Health England rules or volunteering to support the NHS, there is little else we can do.

Here at FitFab50plus, we had the privilege of interviewing Dan Trussler the Founder of Ancestral Health based in Tiptree, where we talked about the importance of having a healthy immune system. Dan has a personal drive to help people understand and control their health and says “Health begins at home”. Dan was our very first Interview the Expert!

If you’d like to be our next Expert, please get in touch: hello@fitfab50plus.com

During the Interview the Expert with Dan, we talked about the many factors that can affect our immune system health and the good news is we do have control over many.

Childhood

The first few years of our lives are the most precious and will determine the blue print for our immune system. What contributes to this blueprint? Whether you were breast fed, or delivered by C-section or the relationship you had with your parents. Does this mean that there is no hope if we didn’t get the best start in life? Absolutely not and there are lots of choices within our control that have a positive impact on our immune systems.

Diet and nutrition

There is so much conflicting information out there, it is easy to become overwhelmed and confused about healthy eating. There is one resounding fact that dominates the research and literature and that’s eating too much sugar is not good for you. Shame! Eating or drinking too much sugar seriously affects the immune system’s ability to attack bacteria. The affects can last a few hours after eating or drinking sugary foods or drinks.

NHS guidelines: the Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day (see 5 A Day)
  • Base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
  • Drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)

There isn’t any food or supplement that can protect you from getting the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Nevertheless, having a healthy diet is important and can positively influence supporting your immune health and your body’s ability to fight infections.

Watch the full Interview the Expert with Dan Trussler Founder of Ancestral Health based in Tiptree below: 

Sleep

When it comes to your immune health, sleep plays an important role. Although, more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from being ill, lack of sleep may adversely affect your immune system. The adverse affects could leave you susceptible to a bad cold or case of the flu. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep during the night.

According to the Sleep Foundation, it’s okay to take a nap or two! If your sleep has been disturbed, then it’s okay to top up your sleep in the morning or afternoon. Or if that’s not practical because you work, try to grab 20 minutes over your lunch break.

Relationships

There are a couple of aspects to consider when we link relationships and the immune system. The quality of your relationships and the joint habits and behaviours a couple may adopt and their environment.

The quality of your relationships is just one of the factors that impact your immune system. Anxiety can trigger the flight-or-fight stress response and release a flood of chemicals and hormones, like adrenaline, into your system.

It makes sense that when you are in a couple, you may well share sleeping habits, diet and exercise schedules. Now it seems your immune systems also converge when you live together. Everybody’s immune system is unique of course. However, a couple will be experiencing and sharing the factors influencing an immune system.

Stress and anxiety

There are many possible triggers of stress or anxiety relating to our jobs, relationships, having children, moving house or a change in financial situation. Some amount of stress in our lives is important for lots of different reasons. It gives us drive, purpose and protects us from danger. However, if we experience too much stress at one time, the hormone corticosteroid is released and can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.  Finding strategies and coping mechanisms to reduce stress will contribute to a healthy immune system.