Summer is in full swing and I’m loving it! As soon as the temperature started to climb, my days and weeks have been filled with laughs, smiles, insightful conversations and amazing celebrations of Pride. As much as this summer has been one to remember, the last couple of weeks have reminded me that even though the world continues to open up again, we aren’t out of the woods yet.
Over the last couple of weeks, I'm sure you've heard of people coming down with cold’s and flu’s left right and centre. With COVID-19 cases beginning to rise again, I can't help but remember when I caught COVID in the August of 2021, after about 6 weeks of burning the candle at both ends. Training four times a week, catching up with loved ones in my down time and working ungodly hours six days a week! As healthy as I like to believe my lifestyle is, I definitely pushed my immune system to its limit and it was only a matter of time before the ‘VID’ got me.
The importance of putting health first is something that I take very seriously.
However, when work gets hectic, it’s something that can fall by the wayside at the most crucial moments.
YOU CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH!
Your body and mind can only take so much.
As we are approaching the peak of summertime goodness - with festivals, vacations and major sporting events happening every other week, I thought it would be useful to share 3 very important things that will support optimal immune function; setting you up to make the most out of #summer2022.
They aren’t going to seem like rocket science but they are well researched and widely trusted. In our current, “boss mode” culture, we seldom take these 3 components of our life seriously enough.
Firstly, we need to understand that our immunity has two types:
Innate Immunity - First line of defence from pathogens that try to enter our bodies, achieved through protective barriers e.g. skin, mucous, stomach acid, enzymes in our sweat and tears and immune system cells.
Adaptive or Acquired Immunity - Learns to recognise a pathogen and is regulated by our cells and organs in the body; creating antibodies that lead to multiplication of immune cells that are specific to the harmful substance and attack and destroy it. Our immune system remember the foreign substances so that if it enters again, the cells and antibodies can respond quickly to destroy it.
Now for the recipe that will help keep you on top form throughout the summer and beyond!
1. Sleep - Research shows us that sleep strengthens the immune systems memory. The components of the immune system interact during sleep to reinforce the immune systems ability to remember how to recognise and react to dangerous antigens.
2. Food - In almost all cases, eating enough nutrients as part of a varied diet ensures the health and function of cells in the body. But don’t be fooled, there isn’t one specific food that offers extra protection but rather, many micro nutrients
that play a role in each stage of the body’s immune response.
Nutrients that have been identified as critical for the growth and function of immune cells include: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium, Iron and Protein (including amino acid Glutamine). These are found in a variety of plant and animal based foods such as: - Oily Fish - Egg Yolks - Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Lime, Grapefruit) - Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower) - Beans - Nuts (Particularly Brazil nuts) - Poultry
3. Hydration - Immune systems are dependant on nutrients carried in the blood stream and our blood streams are made up of mostly water. If we don’t have enough, we can’t properly transport nutrients to each organ system. Being well hydrated is very important for detoxification pathways, clearing out any foreign invaders and other waste materials
The following formula will calculate an estimate of your minimum recommended daily water intake:
You body weight in pounds divide by 2 multiply by 30ml of water.
Example: 150lb person / 2 = 75lbs 75lbs x 30ml water = 2250ml (2.25L) Recommended Minimum Daily Water Intake Additional intake on top of the minimum: If you’re active: 510ml-600ml of water 2-3 hours before exercise and 240ml of water just before and just after a workout. Consuming alcohol: 480ml of water for every 360ml of beer or 120ml of spirits.
In the summer months when socials are in abundance, it’s very easy for these 3 key elements to slip through the cracks and like me, many of us realise too late, when illness has well and truly set in.
Even though we can’t be on top form everyday, what I’ve broken down in this post will definitely give your body the best shot at staying on top form when you’ve got your foot fully on the gas pedal.