Since they are stuck in your home, their well-being depends on you. The same is true for your immune system. Now that you are in lockdown, its well-being depends on you. Here are five basic needs your immune system has that you can easily take care of, and ONE habit that can address four out of five of those basic needs in one shot!
In the absence of direct sunlight (the kind that you get when you are closer to the equator), it’s important to supplement your vitamin D. But Vitamin D is not the only benefit you miss out on when you don’t spend time in the sun. The sun also helps regulate your circadian rhythm and your production of cortisol (stress hormones). Getting enough sunlight during the day can actually help you enter a deeper sleep at night. A deeper sleep allows your body to produce cytokines which are protective proteins that your immune system releases at night.
Make sure you let fresh air into your home, bring in a variety of plants and flowers, and don’t hesitate to take a stroll to the nearby park while taking in some deep breaths (and maintaining 2 meters of distance from others, of course).
Refined sugars and vegetable oils are some of the main ingredients in processed foods which are known to wreak havoc with your gut bacteria and your overall immune system.
The more you feel connected the better you can recover from stress, and the better you manage your stress, the better your immune system is able to function.
That’s right! Just a little physical movement every day goes a long way. Dancing in your kitchen for 10 minutes will do the trick. But going out for a daily brisk walk is a habit that helps you address #1, #2 and #5 all in one shot! And if you want to address #4 as well, just invite a friend to come along.
Taking care of houseplants is a real skill, and taking care of this body we live in is no different. Thank you for taking the time to learn and improve your self-care.
Love, from your future self
Disclaimer: The content contained in this blog is for educational and inspirational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice because of something you may have read on this blog.
Dr. Anke Verlinden is an award-winning clinical haematologist at the University Hospital of Antwerp in Belgium. As a senior staff member, she specializes in treating patients with acute leukemia, guiding them through the process of stem cell transplantation. She initiated a project on the effects of mindfulness meditation on the immune system function and quality of life of cancer patients in 2019 while also deepening her understanding of the role that food plays in our health and wellbeing.
Anke is the mother of three kids, one of whom was born with severe heart disease. This, combined with the increasing number of questions from patients on the possible effects of nutrition and lifestyle on their healing process, gave rise to several years of study and experimentation in areas that are not covered in medical school, plus a nutrition science degree from Stanford Medical School and a certification in Functional Medicine. She is now also a WILDFIT certified coach as part of her effort to help patients recover better and more quickly from cancer treatment.