Wellness in general is always key, right? Because what I like to talk about in the clinic is, if we do nothing we’re actually trending towards disease. We’re trending towards ill health. We’re trending towards symptoms. So we always want to be moving towards better health. The world that we live in today means we are being bombarded with toxins, pollutants, and all sorts of things that are going to move us away from perfect health. In fact, if you are like me, you weren’t born with great health. We are seeing that more and more now. So there’s nothing like winter (influenza season) to really motivate us to pay attention to what is happening in our bodies. We know the key nutrients to focus on when we do get sick. When we get that cold, when the kids get a sniffly nose, we’re turning to vitamin A, we’re turning to zinc, we are turning to vitamin C to help flush out our bodies, and a good probiotic. You already know those things.
You also know, because I talk about it all the time, how central your gut health is to your immune system. 70% of our immune system is in our guts, right? So that is why we focus on your gut health so much. With anybody that comes into clinic telling me that they often get coughs and colds we are always going to start with your gut because we want to strengthen your immune system so you can fight off these bugs when they come.
To support your immune system as much as possible with your diet we focus on probiotic rich foods, or probiotic supplements, bone broth, and collagen, because we want to give you the best gut possible. Oh, also with our immune nutrients, vitamin D is very important of course. Remember, a lot of New Zealanders are deficient in vitamin D, so I always want you to test it with a blood lab. We want to know the numbers so we can make a protocol specific to you and your body. We don’t want to guess. We don’t want you taking supplements unnecessarily, but we want you to get all the benefits.
When it comes to our immune system and winter wellness, how many of you have experienced this or seen it with a colleague? You’re working really hard, and then you take your break to Fiji (which we won’t be doing this year) Suddenly you’re sick, and you’re like, “What? I finally slowed down. Why am I sick now?” Well, if you have been in a stressed-out state with deadlines and running on empty for a long time, you cannot live 24 hours, seven days a week in this stressed-out response without there being consequences on your body. When we’re in a stressed-out response, we’re producing a whole bunch of cortisol. When we keep producing cortisol more and more, we lower our immune system. We cannot fight bugs and bacteria, and we’re weakening our immune system. So it gets depleted. So guess what? If you’re stressed out, working really hard, lots of things going on, money worries, emotional worries, whatever it is, stress on your body, in terms of eating foods causing you inflammation and all sorts of different stresses, you’re lowering your immune system, which means when you do slow down and something is going around in the air, you are going to be more likely to pick these things up. I have struggled with this in the past (and I’ve shared my struggles), and I know a lot of clients struggle with this too, but you have got to look after yourself!!
Please don’t see self-care as selfish. You need to see it as a priority. I never understood the saying “Take your own oxygen mask before helping your children” (if you’re a mum), but now I see that it’s actually more selfish not doing that, because if you get knocked down you can’t help anybody, and you really can’t do the things that you love and that support your family, or do your careers, whatever it is.
In my industry we help people, but I still saw it as being selfish for so long, not looking after myself in terms of the hours that I was working, because it meant that I couldn’t see everyone that was asking for my help, and I felt really bad. But the thing is, it’s actually selfish doing that, because if I don’t look after myself, I can’t look after anybody else.
A couple of other things I want you to think about is eating anti-inflammatory foods. We want to feed your prostaglandins, which are your anti-inflammatory hormones. Now they need dietary fat, especially omega threes, from your diet. So you want to get salmon, but you don’t want farmed salmon. So as much as you can get ocean-caught salmon that hasn’t been farmed. It’s kind of free range. Sardines are another good option. I know fish is really hard to get without mercury, and so it is a bit of a tough one, but omega threes are essential. A range of good dietary fats are really essential because they are going to be anti-inflammatory. We’ve also got a few other key foods, like your broccoli because that pulls out your toxins, and we’ve talked about that over on our hormonal series on Instagram and Facebook.
Ginger and turmeric are great (if you can handle them, and they don’t personally cause you inflammation). Red onion is really important, and onion in general. Green tea is absolutely fantastic. Berries. Cacao. Cacao is a game changer. That’s why it’s in my immune-boosting smoothie, along with coconut, which was also fantastic. Your mushrooms are another good one. I talk about mushrooms all the time, whether it’s drinks or eating it, mushroom soup. And Brazil nuts, because they’re a great source of selenium, and we need that. Often you just need about three a day. I’ll sometimes muscle test them in clinic to find out how much your body actually needs. The other thing is we obviously need great melatonin, so that’s your sleep. We need to be prioritizing that. When cortisol is high, melatonin is always low. You drive it down. So if you’re in that stressed-out state, you’re not going to be sleeping well and you’re going to be running down your melatonin.
Some sort of intermittent fasting can be really useful because it creates cell autophagy which is why I did the IGTV interview with Cynthia on this. So if you want to learn more about that, she really goes into that in detail. Another little trick I use in clinic, especially if a client comes in coughing, is silver spray. I have it on my desk and can spray that directly onto my throat, or I’ll sometimes gargle it in my mouth or drop it in my nose. I’ll also use salt. And I also use the red light therapy, because that really gets into your bones and joints and just flushes out any bugs that are in there. So there’s a whole heap of things that we can be doing for our immune system. That’s a lot more than vitamin D, vitamin A, Zinc, vitamin C.
These are all common things that you’ve heard of and are great if you have an acute cold going on, but we also want to get you into the best health possible during other times. We do not want you just responding, responding, responding. We actually want you building really great health all year round. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why we use testing and not guessing in clinic. We want to see you up for the best health possible. We want you to have not only amazing winter wellness, but just amazing health, no symptoms forever more. So pay attention to your body. Come in, let’s get you tested. Let’s see what’s happening in your body, so you can save time and money and get the best results possible.