How to Strengthen Your Immune System, According to a Medicine Practitioner

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, we have all embraced several weeks of self-isolation to better protect both ourselves and those around us. However, whilst the country unites in its effort to contain COVID-19, demonstrating an inspiring sense of positivity, we cannot ignore the stress and worry which many of us are feeling. We are surrounded by uncertainty and, understandably, want to do all that we can to remain healthy and strengthen our immune systems.

Although, protecting our health doesn’t always feel like a simple task. As we’re surrounded by conflicting messages and different advice, we’re left wondering ‘What do I really need to do?’.

It is incredibly important to put misconceptions aside, focusing on realistic steps which you can take to become the healthiest version of yourself.

Fortunately, experts are on hand to debunk the myths which flood our screens, offering genuine insight into the realities of your immune system – including Functional Medicine Practitioner Dan Trussler.

As a Qualified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Osteopath, Dan Trussler is passionate about health and wellbeing. To share his support as we navigate these uncertain waters, offering clarity into how we can improve our health at home, Dan has outlined a series of easy tips to switch up your daily habits, remaining safe and strong in isolation:

‘How are you choosing to help your body express its best health? Are you supporting your immune system in a mindful and proactive way? Managing our fear of the Coronavirus pandemic is paramount to our emotional wellbeing and that of our families. This is where it all begins; by managing your fear, your physical health will be enriched. As a result, you will feel healthier as your stronger immune system will keep parasites, bacteria and other viral infections at bay.’

With a positive mind set, you can then take the following steps to boost your immune system:

1. Get a good night’s sleep

A good night’s sleep is probably the best medicine for the immune system! Sleep deprivation actually depresses our immune systems, which is why it’s so important to get at least 8 hours of quality sleep per night.  

It’s best to fall asleep by 10pm, since your body makes most of its melatonin between 10pm and 2am. Meanwhile, Dan recommends avoiding blue light from screens. This will optimise melatonin production which is required for healthy immune system function. Dan also recommends wearing blue light blocking glasses when the sun goes down.

2. Make the most of natural sunlight

Getting outside in the sunshine is vital for efficient immune system function. The sun is the best source of vitamin D, which helps to strengthen the immune system naturally. So, leave your phone indoors and try to get outside for your daily exercise each day, your body will certainly thank you for it!

3. Practice an anti-inflammatory, whole food diet

An anti-inflammatory diet helps to strengthen the immune system in several ways, including helping to balance the gut microbiomeWhen we consume a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, we ensure that our gut bacteria are well balanced, which balances our immune system in turn. 

Eighty percent of our immune system actually lies in our digestive tract, so it’s super important to eat a healthy diet. This maintains healthy levels of good gut bacteria, promoting proper immune system function. 

An anti-inflammatory, whole food diet is also high in phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, which support the functioning of a healthy immune system, whilst diets high in sugar, gluten and dairy can deplete important immune-supportive nutrients such as vitamin C and zinc.

Alcohol consumption can also suppress the immune system. Focus on what you know is good for you.

4. Do some meditation and relax

Meditation and mindfulness helps to reduce cortisol levels, making us more resilient to stress. When we lower cortisol in the body, our immune system functions better. According to functional medicine professionals, increased stress has been shown to decrease immune system function so it’s crucial for our health to become more resilient – meditation can be a great way of achieving this.

5. Try extended overnight fasting

Intermittent fasting helps to induce a process in the body known as ‘autophagy’. Autophagy is the process by which the body eliminates dead and damaged cells. Fasting induced autophagy also helps to get rid of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. 

One effective and sustainable way of fasting is by following the 16/8 regimen. During this type of intermittent fasting, you can eat during an 8 hour period of time every day and fast for the following 16. It’s actually easier than you might think and the health benefits are profound! 

6. Stay hydrated   

This step is really simple but super powerful. Sometimes, when we’ve become dehydrated, it’s best to use a rehydration solution (look up the recipe online using sugar and sea salt). This allows our cells to become better hydrated than drinking plain water alone, directly benefiting our immune systems.

7. Minimise EMF exposure

EMFs are Electro Magnetic Frequencies. These are emitted from all electrical points in our homes, as well as through our WiFi and mobiles. Research suggests that EMF exposure actually causes viruses to replicate, damaging our immune systems. 

You can easily minimise your EMF exposure by turning off your WiFi router before going to bed and reducing mobile phone use as much as possible.

To find out more about Dan and his services, join Ancestral Health’s Facebook group:

Eve Crabtree

Eve Crabtree is a journalist with a passion for interior design. She keeps up to date with the latest trends in the interior industry and regularly tests her hand at crafting and redecorating during her spare time.