10 diet and lifestyle tips to keep you well
Keeping yourself well and supporting your immune system is essential right now.
Today we’ll be discussing the terrain theory and the importance of gut health for your immune system. Learn how to boost your immune system naturally by optimising your diet with immune-supporting foods and lifestyle changes.
The terrain theory was the brainchild of French scientist, Antoine Béchamp. His philosophy was that disease occurs from within the body as a result of an acidic and poorly oxygenated ‘terrain’ (the body’s internal environment), not from external factors. Béchamp suggests that bacteria and viruses are simply ‘after-effects’, rather than the cause of disease.
Béchamp believed that a healthy terrain is a result of a nutritious diet, healthy lifestyle practices, hygiene, fresh air, clean water and exercise. With a healthy terrain, pathogenic germs cannot flourish and manifest into disease states. An unhealthy terrain, on the other hand, makes a person prone to infections and disease.
These are the same principles we teach today as part of our naturopathic nutrition diploma. Naturopathy is a system of healthcare which encourages and promotes the body’s own self-healing mechanisms. The body is able to heal itself given the right conditions and treatment.
The Importance of Gut Health
Believe it or not, 70% of your Immune System resides in the gut as lymphoid tissue. This specialised lymph tissue houses your Immune cells (leucocytes, macrophages and lymphocytes) whose job is to identify
The large intestine hosts a community of around 100 trillion microbes. The main function of our microflora is to help us digest food (by fermenting carbohydrates), extracting the nutrients for our body to use. These beneficial microorganisms help our Immune System work efficiently as they protect us against pathogens.
Any imbalance in your gastrointestinal system or with your gut microflora could lead to Immune System issues, including inflammation and autoimmune conditions. You may also become more susceptible to viruses and bacteria.
10 tips to boost your Immune System naturally
- Cut out coffee as it’s very acidic and inflammatory. It also aggravates the gut and reduces nutrient absorption which may compromise your Immune System. Instead drink a delicious coffee alternative.
- Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption as these toxins have a negative effect on your Immune System and make you prone to infection.
- Avoid soft drinks and junk food including chocolate, takeaways and convenience foods as they are high in sugar and processed fats, disabling the Immune System and contributing to toxicity.
- Eat a healthy diet full of fresh organic vegetables and fruit, good quality proteins (legumes, beans, sardines, mackerel, eggs) and healthy fats (avocados, nuts, seeds). We’ve listed some Immune-boosting foods below.
- Reduce sugar intake including sweeteners (even the natural ones) and refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and pastries. Sugar negatively affects the Immune System and prevents your phagocytes (the Immune cells which eat up the pathogenic germs) from working efficiently.
- Limit pasteurised dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt) as dairy is very mucus-forming and can aggravate the gut.
- Reduce your toxic load by using natural cleaning products, cosmetics and beauty products. The average home contains over 62 harmful environmental toxins which we absorb through the air we breathe and the products we put on our skin. Avoid spray products, use gloves where possible, keep the house well ventilated and only use products with natural ingredients.
- Detox your body:
- Cleanse your liver and kidneys by drinking lemon or organic, unpasteurised (raw), apple cider vinegar in warm water.
- Do a colonic to clear out toxin build-up in the gut.
- Take liver and kidney cleansing herbs and nutrients.
- Have an Epsom salt bath which helps draw out toxins from the body.
- Practise dry skin brushing to eliminate toxins, improve circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system.
- Use a sauna to gently sweat out harmful toxins through the skin.
- Engage in regular movement and exercise to get your body moving; movement promotes circulation and stimulates your Immune System.
- Stay hydrated by drinking filtered water and herbal teas.
- Garlic, ginger and turmeric
- Sweet red peppers
- Kiwi fruit, oranges, lemons, grapefruit
- Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries
- Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard
- All brassicas – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts
- Mushrooms, especially shiitake and oyster mushrooms
- Sunflower seeds and almonds
- Green tea and matcha
Health starts from within
The best way to keep yourself well is to boost your immune system by adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. Reduce your toxic load, cut out junk and sugar, eat immune-boosting foods and detox your body. In our next blog, we’ll be discussing the herbs, nutritional supplements and homeopathic remedies you can take for immune health.