There is no question; these are difficult times. And with the pressure mounting for at-home parents, we inevitably put ourselves last.
Mindful Parenting spoke with Larah Loutati and Ilyas Anane, co-founders of health and wellness business, Vitable, who shared their top tips to support and care for your family’s immune system. And with the need for self-care now greater than ever, yours, too.
Love your gut
“A strong immune system is your body’s first line of defence, consisting of immune blood cells which help fight off viruses and bacteria. Foods rich in vitamin C, zinc and 20 minutes of daily sun exposure that fuels vitamin D provides three essential nutrients in the production and efficiency of your immune cells,” says Larah.
“Your gut health is vital to supporting a healthy immune system. The immune system and gut flora regulate and support each other. This interaction is important as 70-80% of the body’s immune cells are found in the gut. To assist your gut microbiome, eat more high-fibre, nutrient-rich, plant-based and fermented foods. Some examples of fermented foods and drinks to consider include kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and probiotic yogurt. Other foods that improve an individual’s immune response include blueberries, turmeric, broccoli, spinach, ginger, almonds and garlic.”
Avoid stimulants and sugar
“Strengthen your immune system and energy levels by avoiding stimulants such as nicotine, energy drinks and anything that is highly caffeinated. Also keep your alcohol consumption to a mindful minimum,” Larah shares.
Get enough rest
Despite parenting tiny, sleep-opposed tyrants who have other ideas, Ilyas suggests that one of the best ways to support your immune system is to try and get enough sleep. “When you sleep, your immune system produces proteins called cytokines and they are needed to fight off infections and inflammation. If you can, aim for 7–9 hours of sleep each night. Establish a nourishing evening routine to get your body ready for sleep.”
And finally, giving yourself a break to stretch and move is great for you in more ways than one. “Exercise helps fight off infections and viruses as well as stimulates blood flow, which circulates white blood cells around your body. White blood cells play a vital role as it is the body’s first line of defence. Find an exercise you love, that works for you, whether that be yoga, walking or dance.”