Let’s use this time to focus on wellness and build healthy communities.

So let’s talk about immunity… hot topic at the moment!
With Covid-19 rampant globally, we are fortunate to live in Aotearoa and work with our government which is working to allay fear and slow the spread of this nasty viral disease. Washing hands, staying home and keeping your distance are all essential immunity defence mechanisms.

We also have internal defense mechanisms that are important to remember and optimise. Your body has an incredibly sophisticated defence system with an innate ability to protect you from illness and fight off sickness. It also has the capability of learning to identify previously unknown attackers, such as the Coronavirus Covid-19, to target them for destruction. This is called acquired immunity, making antibodies is part of acquired immunity.
Both types of immunity work together for your overall protection.
Both types of immunity need specific ‘tools and conditions’ to do their job effectively.

With the current Covid-19 threat, I believe it is important to focus on your immunity, we can do this as whanau and communities, supporting each other. In modern culture we’re not taught to know and understand our immune defence system, but becoming familiar with how your defence system works and working with your body’s natural processes for health is important action that you can take. Building immunity will help lessen the ability of the virus to multiply, and will make a difference if/when you are exposed to the virus.

There are many things you can do to ensure the ‘tools’ are available for your cells and microbiome to strengthen your immunity, and allow a balanced immune response. These generally come under two headings…
1. Not stressing or overburdening your cells too much, and
2. Supplying what your cells need.

Keep in mind that if your cells are stretched to capacity they will be using up all their resources just to keep you functioning, and they won’t have extra to give when under siege. Fortunately with lock down, many people in New Zealand will be able to catch up on some r&r which will fortify their immunity.
With this in mind, here is a checklist for not stressing or taxing your cells too much…
Stressors to avoid or minimise:
Sleep deprivation
Anxiety – don’t spread fear it’s unhealthy!
Processed grocery products (low in nutrients, plus your digestive tract and detoxification system will be taxed – it’s like your body is being underpaid and overworked! ).
Over training
Badly managed work life balance
Dehydration (remember coffee and fizzy drinks deplete your cells of much needed fluid)
Excess alcohol (after all – it is a toxin and poisons your microbiome!)

Supplying what your cells need:
To get the best protection from your cells you need to arm them well with all the nutrient resources for optimal function.
Fresh wholefood to provide all the nutrients you need.
Peaceful eating, this is proven to improve absorption of nutrients (2).
Pure water
Bright coloured fruit and vegetables providing phytonutrients with healing properties (a little foraging on your daily walk!)
Plenty of wholegrains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds to feed your microbiome to increase butyrate production, which is hugely important for gut health and immunity (2).
Vitamin D – get some sunshine daily (but put long sleeves and hat on before you burn)
Fresh air and exercise
Plenty of sleep

Giving your body what it needs, and monitoring your expectations of the load you can sustain, will generally go a long way to keep you healthy. If you have become depleted and your body is out of balance, there are many things you can do for some extra protection and back up support…

Helpful Supplements:
Good old Vitamin C supplementation
Specific strains of probiotics (Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, L. reuteri)
Plant remedies are also very helpful to boost immunity, check those out with your Rongoa practitioner or herbalist.

Remember fear and panic are counterproductive as they stress and tax your cells.
Start by protecting and strengthening your natural immunity.
Help those who are immunocompromised, take extra care to support their safety.

Let’s use this time to focus on wellness and build healthy communities.

And do support and be thankful to all the people who are too busy to read posts like this because they are on the frontline in dealing with this pandemic!

Cherpak, C.E., Van Lare, S. (Aug/Sep 2019) Mindful Eating: A Review Of How The Stress-Digestion-Mindfulness Triad May Modulate And Improve Gastrointestinal And Digestive Function. Integrative Medicine Vol. 18, Iss. 4: (48-53).

Alena P. (26.03.2020). Does the gut microbiome impact viral diseases like influenza?
Retrieved from https://www.microba.com