Build your immune system like Arnold Schwarzenegger

By Sarah Pasco Jones

One thing we have learned is the CoronaVirus plays havoc with those who sadly don’t have strong immune systems.

The impact of the stress caused by the thought of coming into contact with this virus should not be underestimated. Not just those who are immune-compromised, but the mere knowledge we’re all potential carriers and can infect someone without even knowing.

There is a mountain of articles relating to the dreaded “C Virus” with many myths on how to destroy it or how not to get infected. One of the many things the virus has exposed is that our health is everything.

We’ll take a look at why our immune systems are so damned important – Coronavirus or no virus! After all, a strong immune system is key to a better quality healthspan which should see us through to a good old age.

What exactly does our immune system do?

Immune system

This excerpt from livescience.com sums it up nicely. For a more in-depth understanding of how it all works, click here to head over to their website.

Our immune system protects the body against disease or other potentially damaging foreign bodies. 

A properly functioning immune system will identify and attack a variety of threats, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, while distinguishing them from the body’s own healthy tissue

Many of you may be furiously Googling away ‘what foods are good for boosting my immune system?’ Whilst diet is an important contributor to a strong immune system, it shouldn’t be the only area of your health you pay attention to.

In fact, there are 4 pillars to strengthen your immune system. By focusing on only one area, say your diet is merely scratching a very small area of our underlying health.

The notion of adding a few ‘immune-boosting’ foods to your daily diet will strengthen a weak immune system, whilst a great start, it just won’t cut the mustard. When it comes to a strong immune system, we need to take a holistic approach.

Diet is only one-quarter of what keeps your immune system fighting fit.

Keeping stress at bay or at the very least, helping to control it so it doesn’t step up to anxiety is another key pillar to support our immune system. But more on that later.

The 4 pillars to strengthen your immune system 

  1. Nutrition – Gut health, balanced hormones, nutrients, diet
  2. Sleep – 7-9 hours a night please, circadian rhythm, hormone health
  3. Exercise – yoga, walking, HiiT (consult with your GP first), releases ‘good’ hormones, stress reducer
  4. Stress management – breathwork, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, massage, self-love and care, balanced hormones

I am not going to even attempt to cover off each pillar in this one post as it will MAMMOTH! I’ll work my way through each pillar in separate posts. That means, keep visiting the blog section of our website!

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…let’s look at what NOT to do to your immune system and what can compromise it?

What damages our Immune System?

Here are some key perpetrators which will rampage your immune system.

Besides the main culprits, watch out for the following;

  • Workplace or public water coolers – hands up who washes their hands after a loo visit?
  • Avoid gyms as they are havens for germs, outdoors is best.
  • Pessimism – your cup doesn’t overfloweth
  • Not wearing your heart on your sleeve – don’t be bottling up those emotions
  • Pens – invest in a Mont Blanc…or Bic 🖋️
  • Antibiotics 💊 – avoid them unless you have no other options. Think homoeopathy or a holistic approach to addressing your ailment before visiting your GP
  • Lighten up – yes, the current COVID-19 situation is c**p, but please keep laughing🤣. If you’re struggling, opt for a comedy
    • This is 40 – one of my go-to favourite films to bring tears to my eyes.
    • Bad Moms – how life used to be before the CoronaVirus for those ‘juggling everything’ mum’s out there or…whatever activates your funny bone!
  • Inflammation – grabbing a milk chocolate bar or can of coke 🛑. There are many foods and food groups guilty of causing inflammation to our system. And is at the root of pretty much every possible ailment which challenges us.

Stay vigilant on social distancing, hand washing and keeping surfaces (especially handles, light switches and toilet flushes) clean

Now we know what NOT to do, let’s look at what we can and should be doing. How can we support and strengthen our immune system to help us live a long and healthy lifespan?

12 ways to protect your immune system and give it a boost:

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Well balanced and nourishing meals
  3. Maintain a healthy weight
  4. Quit smoking – period! 🚭
  5. Drink alcohol in moderation
  6. Sleep
  7. Minimise Stress – check out our blog on 13 ways to reduce your stress levels
  8. Remain positive
  9. Self-love & care
  10. Socialising – throughout the lockdown we need to rethink the ‘old way’. It’s time to make social networking our new ‘interim’ friend. That and reconnecting with our family.
  11. Sex
  12. Wash your hands – for at least 20 secs and properly

If you’re interested in a session or course for nutrition, sleep or stress management, get in touch – sarah@bodhitreespa.co.uk

Disclaimer: Whilst Sarah, the author, is studying nutrition and health coaching to quash her decade long obsession, she is by no means a qualified practitioner.  The Bodhi Tree Spa has built a great network of contacts over the years who are qualified practitioners in their chosen fields.