By Angela MacRitchie
Combat stress and eat strategically to ward off Covid.
70 – 80% of our immune systems are made in the gut, so to ensure optimal immunity; let’s bring our attention to nurturing this system of the body. Acute stress is part of our ‘flight or fight’ response and should be short-lived. When stress becomes chronic for prolonged periods, it is damaging to the gut. Stress affects our digestion and what we absorb from our food. The gut consists of tight junctions and stress may cause this intestinal barrier to weaken and allow gut bacteria and other molecules to enter the body – commonly referred to as ‘leaky gut’. Stress can affect the gut microorganisms by changing their distribution and diversity, allowing in greater numbers of potentially harmful bacteria.
What are the solutions?
Firstly, try to reduce stress:
1. Exercise regularly; one of the best ways to cope with stress
2. Get plenty of sleep – the body heals while we are sleeping
3. Spend time in nature; it makes you feel better emotionally and supports your physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension
4. Practice breathing; in for four, hold for six and breathe out for eight. Simple but powerful
5. Engage in activities that make you happy – painting, reading, knitting, listening to your favorite music, etc
6. Switch off the news
7. Meditation or mindfulness – it brings you into the present moment to spend less time worrying about the future
8. Gratitude journaling. List all you are thankful for in your daily life
Secondly, feed the gut with foods that will support the good bacteria to grow, such as:
1. Whole foods instead of instant high-fat meals or takeaways
2. Fruits and vegetables, fish, organic chicken, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, whole grains, nuts, olive oil and coconut oil
3. Fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, miso soup, kimchi, natto and tempeh
Angela, a Holistic Lifestyle Therapist, is the nutritionist, herbalist, product developer and formulator for Wolfson Brands. Having studied with the College of Naturopathic Medicine for five years she now practices naturopathy, nutrition and herbal medicine in various clinics throughout the UK.
Delve deeper into optimizing your immune system with HOW SLEEP CAN IMPROVE IMMUNITY