What if you could learn simple, effective strategies to boost your immunity holistically and stay healthy all year round?
In this enlightening episode of the me&my health up podcast, host Anthony Hartcher, a renowned clinical nutritionist, and lifestyle medicine specialist, shares invaluable insights on how to boost immunity holistically, particularly during the cold and flu season.
Discover the profound impact of sleep on your immune system, and learn why a good night's sleep is not a luxury, but a necessity for maintaining robust immunity. Anthony delves into the science of sleep, explaining how our white blood cells, the warriors of our immune system, are most active during our slumber.
Boosting immunity holistically doesn't stop at sleep. Stress management plays a pivotal role too. Learn how to manage stress effectively throughout the day, and understand why trying to reduce it all at once at the end of the day can be counterproductive.
The episode also covers the importance of regular exercise and a balanced diet in supporting immune health. Anthony provides practical tips on choosing an exercise routine that suits your lifestyle and discusses the role of protein, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc in bolstering your immune system.
If you're looking to 'boost immunity holistically', this episode is a must-listen. It's packed with practical tips and strategies that you can start implementing today to fortify your immune system and stay healthy all year round. So, why wait? Tune in to the full episode and start your journey towards a healthier, stronger you.
About me&my health up & Anthony Hartcher
me&my health up seeks to enhance and enlighten the well-being of others. Host Anthony Hartcher is the CEO of me&my health up which provides holistic health solutions using food as medicine, combined with a holistic, balanced, lifestyle approach. Anthony holds three bachelor's degrees in Complementary Medicine; Nutrition and Dietetic Medicine; and Chemical Engineering.
Any information, advice, opinions or statements within it do not constitute medical, health care or other professional advice, and are provided for general information purposes only. All care is taken in the preparation of the information in this Podcast. [Connected Wellness Pty Ltd] operating under the brand of “me&my health up”..click here for more
Welcome back to another insightful and exciting episode of me&my health up. I'm your host, Anthony Hartcher. I'm a clinical nutritionist and lifestyle medicine specialist. And today's podcast is on a holistic approach to boosting your immunities. Yes, our holistic ways to boost your immunity, we're going to be covering sleep, stress, diet, supplementations, and exercise. So it's going to be a holistic approach and how that can boost your immunity. And look after your well being in these colder months. Certainly here in the southern hemisphere, it has got cold and there's more colds and flus circulating, then over the last I guess, three, four years, since pre COVID, we have a lot of people traveling around the world, carrying a lot of bacteria and viruses with them and sharing that with others. And so this generosity of others is implicating our health and well being at this present point in time. And yes, if you're joining me for the first time, the purpose of this podcast is to enhance and enlighten your well being and that's what I'll be doing for you today. So let's get into today's episode. I've just been doing some Google trending research and in that is immune people are looking up immunity how they can booster their immunity. As this week we've going through the into this winter period, right. So we've got the the colder season coming in, it's all those sudden hit us in the southern hemisphere. It's got really cold quickly. And yes, there's a number of people, my kids, their friends, myself, and I know a lot of people that are coming down with the cold and flu and certainly COVID is still circulating. So I really want to share some tips to help you during this period of time. Now let's start with sleep. So why start with sleep? Well, at nighttime, our immune system is most active, okay, our white blood cells, our immunity is most active, they're surveillance in the whole body. And they're checking out for the nastiest viruses or things that shouldn't be the bacteria. And that's declaring war on these nasties. And so it happens whilst we sleep. So if we don't have a good night's sleep, if our sleep is compromised, then that compromises our immunity, and you're probably thinking, why is it happening mainly at nighttime? Well, during the day, our red blood cells are most active delivering oxygen to our muscles to allow us to move and to do things that's when we're most active is during the day, generally speaking, except those that do not shift. And our red blood cells don't have a nucleus. And there's a reason it doesn't have a nucleus because our nucleus contains the DNA material. And the body wants to safeguard that against oxidation wants to safeguard against radiation. And so during the day, that's where we're most exposed to radiation at night, we have less exposure, we're not exposed to ultraviolet radiation, we're less exposed to radiation and oxidative effects. And in terms of damaging our cells, and so how white blood cells are protected during the day and become really active at night. So sleep is really important. So getting a good night's sleep, what can you do to get a good night's sleep? So let me start the most important thing from all the research I've done. And it is essentially around this area of consistency. Okay, so doctor, Professor Matthew Walker, in his book on why we sleep our shares that consistency is the most important and it's around this whole thing of circadian night day cycle and getting our body into a rhythm of consistency. And so the body is gets the cues when it's when it starts getting dark that it's time to do nighttime things which is start to rest, rest, relax and to start repairing. And that's what happens at nighttime is we start repairing ourselves, we start to repair our tissues, our organs, and all that regeneration sort of happens at nighttime. And that's when our immune cells are out there knocking out any cells, or any viruses or bacteria that shouldn't be in our system. We want to get that good night's sleep. So we need consistency. So get to bed at the same time every night in order to get the bed at the same time every night. Have a consistent routine at night time to prepare the body to get ready to sleep. And so that's like clearing the mind putting down your to do list on paper getting all those thoughts that are recirculating in your mind. onto your paper really, really important. Okay, so that you can then say, well, yeah, I'm going to deal with them tomorrow, or the next day that they're going to get out of my mind, I'm going to allow my mind to clear going to allow my mind to wind down. Okay, really important during this phase, you want to start reducing lighting. So the lights you don't want a lot of white blue lights around, you don't want to have that exposure because that suppresses melatonin production, melatonin production is activated on our light receptors, seeing darkness. Okay, so our light receptors need to see darkness. And that enables us to start producing melatonin. So really start turning down the lights, Dimming the lights, relaxing, winding down, don't do too much. Anything that's too stimulating. Don't eat too close to bedtime is another key factor. When we eat too close to bedtime, it takes longer for us to fall asleep because we need our heart rate to drop. In order to fall asleep we need our body temperature to drop to fall asleep hands. Whilst we've got food in our stomach, our body's very active, it's pumping. It's pumping, it's pumping the blood it's getting the digestion happening getting the blood to the digestive system. And our body's working it is it's working to break down those foods. And so it's not relaxing. And so that activity is going to slow your progress to falling and getting into that restorative sleep that deeper sleep certainly don't eat too close to bed, eat light at night light at night, don't eat a big meal at night time is really key. Otherwise, if you have a big meal, you're going to need to at least wait three to four hours. And that's a long time particularly if you're eating at 7pm at night, that means going to bed at around 11pm If you need to get up early, then you might not get the amount of sleep that you need. So one down destress at night don't consume alcohol. Alcohol really inhibits deep sleep, you end up surface sleeping, you end up reducing the amount of restorative sleep, which is what we don't want. We want our cells, our immune cells to be very active and working really hard for us to get rid of those nasty cells as well as they're looking for those cancerous cells and looking to destroy them. So we really want our nighttime restorative sleep. So don't drink at night, relax, enjoy a nice winding down calming, relaxing night and so that you can wake up really energized the next day. So that's sleep. The other things that help sleep is activity during the day. So that really helps. So being active during the day really helps with the ability to fall asleep at night. So and also reducing that caffeine consumption is really key. Caffeine has a long half life. So the the time it takes to break down to half the concentration. And it's half life's like five to eight hours depending on the bean depending on how much it's roasted and whatnot. So that five to eight hours, you can have a if you have a coffee at midday to get to half its concentration, it will be between five and 8pm at night half its concentration so you still have caffeine circulating and caffeine will inhibit your ability to fall asleep. Okay, so rest, relax, reduce your caffeine, cut out alcohol, eat light be consistent same time to bed every night. Okay, so that's the sleep side of thing covered, tick. Okay, now let's get into stress. Because as you know, stress affects our ability to sleep, okay, so we need to manage our stress. And the best way to manage our stress is during the day, not allowing it to build up and compounds because if stress is compounding, and it really is really high. At the end of the day, we have high levels of cortisol, cortisol will suppress melatonin production. So we want to bring down our cortisol, which is our stress hormone, we want to bring down those levels. And the best way to do that is controlling it during the day managing it during the day, as opposed to trying to do it all at the end of the day. And we ended up taking a lot of sedatives in order to calm the body and relaxes. And again, we can overdo that and it puts a load on our detoxification pathways. Our body doesn't work optimally if we're just flooding it with sedatives and then flooding it with stimulants. And next day that cycle is a vicious cycle to get into stimulants during the day sedatives at night. And that puts a load on the body, it puts a load on our detoxification pathways and can result in dysfunctional such as dysfunctional blood sugar regulation that can result in some inflammation because toxins are building up. And as you know, with inflammation that leads to disease, eventually some sort of disease that will manifest into so we really want to we want to get on top of our stress. So how do you do it during the day? So exercise as I mentioned, exercise is good for sleep. Exercise is also good for stress management. Okay, so making sure you're doing something every day you're moving your body moving the body as you like to move your body so what works best for you, okay, so don't do what's trending work. Work do what works for you. Okay so move your body and the way you like to move your body do it regularly be consistent with the exercise do at least 30 minutes a day. Okay really doing it consistently regularly making it a thing and ideally during the day at night, not ideal. Some people need to do it at nights the only time they have spare or see anytime they really feel like exercising, they're not morning people they're not they people are too busy during the day. So at nighttime, they exercise if you do nighttime exercise, keep it light, don't high intensity will elevate the blood the heart rate. So elevated heart rate, as I said, it needs to drop in order for us to fall asleep, it needs to be low needs to be resting needs to be, you know, at our resting heart rate and lower. So we've certainly want and we also need to reduce our body temperature, obviously high intensity exercise will elevate our heart rate, elevate our body temperature elevate our cortisol, okay, that's the stress hormone I mentioned before. So high intensity exercise at night is not really advisable. I really suggest you do more lower intensity exercises such as yoga, tai chi, do some walking, some swimming, but non high intensity swimming that will better serve you. So yes, do stress management, but exercise, not at nighttime, okay, other things, just doing regular mindfulness throughout the day. So if you notice tension building up in your body, if you notice, you're getting a bit emotional, right? Emotions can be driven by too much stress, we're not coping, we're overwhelmed. So if you're feeling emotional, then certainly start getting mindful, get present, okay. So you may be carried away with worrying about the future or the past, something has reminded you of something in the past and you become very non present, and you start reliving the past situation or you start acting out a future situation that hasn't happened. So get present, get grounded by doing something mindful, okay. So that can be getting connected with nature, going for a walk, doing some exercise, it can be breathing exercises, it can be what else, what else could you do some yoga, some Tai Chi, really what works for you, I find martial arts really mindful, needing to be very present to stay coordinated, okay, I need to focus in order to have the coordination now not to embarrass myself. So I find the whole martial arts thing very mindful, it's and it's very much a mind body breath connection, same as very similar to yoga and tai chi, except it's probably got more of that high intensity aspect to it. So again, I don't I try to avoid doing that late at night. So doing mindfulness activities. And again, if you're getting stressed during the day, just going to your breath, going to your breath, slowing your breath down, okay, connecting with your breath, that's really helpful. taking your shoes off walking in the park, if you can get down the beach, if you close to the beach, go for a walk at the beach with a friend, call up a friend, watch some comedy, just things that really ground you free up you the lightness, make you feel connected, do these sorts of things to manage your stress throughout the day, don't let it compound. I've given some other tips before in terms of shifting your perspective. So if you're only seeing the negative in something, look for the positive ask yourself, how is that event? How is that behavior towards you? Or whatever someone did towards you? How is it serving you? How is it helping you? How is what's going on in terms of what you're concerned about? How is it helping you? Okay, so again, I've mentioned probably in previous episodes about people are very concerned about the rising costs of living, it's quite a stressful at the moment mortgages, interest rates are rising. Okay, then think about what are the benefits of rising interest rates? What are the benefits, one of the benefits is if you've got savings, your savings, your interest, income goes up, okay, so you're getting more interest income coming in. So more income in relation to interest, your interest bearing accounts will give you more interest. Other aspects is it draws your attention to your finances, and you get better at managing money, you start looking at your budget, you start scrutinizing and questioning what you're spending your money on. And then you start cutting unnecessary things that you're not using such as you might not be using a subscription to a streaming service, you might not be using it as much anymore out of COVID. You might not be watching TV, you might be going out with your friends more. So you think and I could probably do without that. And so your cut the streaming subscription that helps reduce your cost base, then you might start thinking about some creative ideas to making more additional income. You might start a side hustle. And so there's benefits in terms of the rising cost of living and getting it to focus on your finances getting you better at managing money. You might do a course and educating and empowering itself and how to better manage money. You might listen to podcasts around financial management, who will empower you and serve you for life, you'll start saving more as a result of this because you're cutting your costs, you might be getting some extra income, or you might negotiate a pay rise as a result of this, it might force you thinking, Well, I'm due for a pay rise, I haven't had a pay rise for years, I'm working really well. I'm hitting all my targets. It's a tight job market, I'm going to ask my boss for a pay rise again, it starts getting you to focus on it to start taking action. And if you take action, you're gonna get results long term, it's going to result in long term benefits. And so it's not all negative about rising costs of living or rising interest rates. Okay, so I just wanted to share that's another way of balance balancing your perspective, reducing the emotion reducing the stress is by looking at what you're not seeing. If you're seeing all positive, then what's the drawbacks? Well, how's the DIS serving you and then you'll start to balance it you'll balance your emotions, so you don't get blinded to not seeing a potential risk. And if you saw it all positive, such as cryptocurrency some people saw cryptocurrency as all positive and then realize in hindsight now that it wasn't all positive because it does crash it just like any other money market or investment scheme, it has cycles. It has ups and downs, so it's not all up.Advertisement:
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not all up all the time. A lot of people learnt that with cryptocurrency and so if if you saw only positive with crypto then you would have asked yourself what are the drawback? So what am I not seeing? How is this of disservice to me maybe I don't know much about how it works. Maybe I need to investigate maybe I need to seek expert financial advice or someone that knows what they're talking about, get their input and I get their advice. And if you had a sword that advice, then you probably wouldn't have put so much and lost so much in the crypto. Okay, so again, everything has a counterbalance to it. And we just need to ask ourselves, what is that counterbalance and that will calm us and that will help us see more objectively help us make more rational decisions. Okay, so that will also help managing your emotions, managing your stress, what else can you do to manage your stress, stay connected with friends, reach out, catch up with friends, invest time into being with your friends, getting building a deeper relationship with your friends, because having that companion having that someone you can talk to and just share how you're feeling and just knowing that they're listening and that they're there for you helps lighten your load, okay, and helps feel makes you feel more connected makes you feel that you still belong makes you still feel worthy, helps prop you up when you're feeling down. Okay, so all these things can really help you manage stress. Now, the reason why I'm talking about stress not only it implicates your sleep, which will implicate your immune system, stress in itself will implicate your immune health, right. So when we're stressed, our immune system is downregulated it is less resources and energy go through running the immune system, it's more about trying to keep you alive in that fight flight or freeze survival mode. Okay, so we want to manage our stress so we got to balance so we have our active immune system working we can still hit our goals by having manage stress as opposed to out of control stress and the other thing I want to mention around stress is when you might take on too much and so when you take on too much challenge you feel overwhelmed and so then you want to increase the support to match the challenge Okay, so then if you're feeling over challenged, then reach out for support get help to balance it so so you've got a nice thing of growth so you've got a bit of a challenge but you're able to meet the challenge and you're able to grow with it as opposed to feeling overwhelmed and feeling that it's too much and you actually pull away you actually withdraw you actually run away okay, that's not healthy okay? Because that can lead to depression when we've when we perceive way too much challenge than the amount of support we've got. We want to get a balance there between challenge and support and then we will grow we will thrive in that instance. So if you're feeling overwhelmed over challenge then reach out for help to loved ones ask your boss say look, I've got too much on you know, what can you help me prioritize I need to reprioritize it's just overwhelming. I'm not going to hit any of the deadlines. Please help me I need some resources. So talk up, you know, speak out, talk up, get help, and help you not feel overwhelmed and not feel overburdened and not feel that sense that you're not coping because that's when you get to that not coping, it can cascade in terms of, then you start questioning your self worth, and you start thinking, Ah, you know, I can't manage, I can't cope, I'm hopeless, then you know, you start putting yourself down and then that cascades down and down and down and you start getting quite depressed and so that is certainly it is when you're very susceptible of getting overwhelmed with infection and whatnot, because we have a quite a depressed immune system because of the overwhelmed with the stress. Okay, so we want to manage our stress, we want manageable stress. And in order to manage that stress, sometimes we need to ask for support and get help so that we can cope and we can thrive ultimately, we can grow with the stress as opposed to shrinking from the stress. Okay, so that's the stress side of things. I've covered the sleep side of things, what am I going to go to now I've mentioned exercise before when I was talking about ways to come in ways to help with sleep ways to help with stress, I mentioned exercise, they help both areas but they help you sleep they help you with your stress management and also exercise in itself helps bolster your immune health. Now I need to put a caveat to this is that over exercise doesn't over exercise creates too much stress on the body, it overwhelms the body, it suppresses immune health. So those professional athletes are constantly getting challenged with colds and flus and illnesses because they exercise a lot and, and, and not enough recovery. There's not enough rejuvenation, it's just too much oxidation, too much stress on the body, they get their immune system gets overwhelmed. So you want to find that balance between enough exercise, but not too much. Too much exercise will lower your immune health, okay, so you don't want to over exercise you want to find the Goldilocks that just right, not too much, not too light just right around the exercise. And as I said, Do exercise that works for you that you like that works for your body and you like doing it because that's why you'll do it every day, you'll be consistent with it. And what they've found through studies is that through exercise, it increases natural killer cells surveillance, natural killer cells are part of our immune system. There are surveillance system, they're they're going out there looking they're detecting for abnormal cells, things that could be potentially cancerous, destroying them, okay, they're looking for viruses, destroying them. And so exercise boosts our natural killer cells, such as laughter actually. So there's been studies to show that laughter regular laughter So, obviously, that lighter side turning on that parasympathetic system, which is that rest and digest, which is what we do at nighttime parasympathetic system is very active at night. It can, it can be activated through through exercise, again, not over exercise, but enough exercise, it can be activated through laughter and so that parasympathetic nervous system is really supportive of immune health and we need to balance it we need to balance the doing with the sitting still, and, and being relaxed. Essentially, we need to balance doing and being relaxed and being comfortable with stillness and not doing not achieving, again, we have this society that's very focused on achieving and over achieving, but ultimately, that's detrimental to our health, we need to find the balance and it's it's a balancing act. And this is what I'm helping you with, okay, helping you find the balance. So in terms of exercise, do what works for you. I mentioned various types of exercise if you're doing high intensity exercise, and make sure you do that during the day at night. Not ideal. I mentioned that do more restorative exercises at night during the day more cardio high intensity, and so I wouldn't be doing high intensity after 5pm Ideally, because it can take up to three hours to wind down, okay? It's a bit like overeating, it can take that three to four hours heart rate to drop the cortisol levels to drop the body temperature to drop off, okay? And that's what we need to happen in order to fall asleep but not doing it again. Eat light at night, exercise light at night. Okay, that's probably the key. Doing it light at night in terms of getting a good night's sleep and that serving your immune healthy and exercise. What else can you do? There's obviously nutrition, let's talk nutrition, nutrition and supplementation. They go together to talk about food as medicine first and then we'll get into some supplementation. So what helps our immune system what does our immune system need? It needs protein it is the backbone of our immunoglobulins is protein. So we need to have adequate protein in our diet to make sure you're having protein throughout the day, three meals a day or if you're having two meals a day, make sure you have adequate protein. If you're having two meals and there's a snack in there, make sure it's a protein By snack, so make sure you're getting protein. Again, with anything I say not too much, not too little, just right. Okay, on average, generally speaking, one gram per kilogram of body weight of pure protein. So if you weigh 70 kilos, 70 grams of pure protein per day, generally speaking, again, it's if you're not doing much weight bearing exercise, then it's around point eight 5.85 grams per kilogram of body weight. If you're doing a fair bit of weight bearing exercises, a lot of resistance training, then it's up to anywhere between 1.2 and 1.4 grams of pure protein per kilogram of body weight. Okay, so making sure you get your protein from good sources of protein. So you want lean cuts of meat, you want Whole Foods. So if you're a vegetarian or vegan, then making sure you're getting it from whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, making sure you're having a mix of those as a vegetarian or vegan, because you need that mix that combination in order to get all the essential amino acids, those that have meat meats contain all the essential amino acids again, eat lean meats and have a high fish consumption that to complement it don't have more other meats, actually, you probably want more weighted towards seafood, because you're also getting your good fats as well. Now the other thing so you got your protein as the backbone of your immunoglobulins then you want to make sure you're having like your vitamin C, which you've probably heard about is really helpful in winter. The fruits are rich in vitamin C such as oranges, right, oranges, lemons, what else is available, we have kale available, we have the broccolis we have what else do I know apples for example, so apples have vitamin C they also have quercetin and helps with immune regulation so that is also beneficial particularly those that suffer any allergies Apple have an Apple have a bit of vitamin C a bit of quercetin so that's really beneficial having those fruits which are available seasonally available in winter oranges, mandarins, lemons, Okay, what else could you have? Vitamin D is really important to immune health so vitamin D we can we can get some from some foods so dairy foods have vitamin D in them fish as oily fishes. So your mackerel sardines, Herrings what else there's the tuna, salmon, salmon, tuna, those oily oily fishes contain the Vitamin D, Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so you'll find it in fat. So you want to make sure you're having full cream milk because it has the fat component, right and that's where the vitamin D is you want to make sure you're eating the oily fishes because it's in the fats. So making sure you're consuming those foods and then on top of that, getting some sunlight during the winter months and if you can't achieve any of that or any can get a bit of that then a bit of supplementation vitamin D supplementation 1000 IUs per day one to 2000 IUs per day but it really is person to person dependent depending on what you're getting through your diet, how much sun exposure you're getting, or not getting. So certainly supplementation about 1000 2000 I use per day. Now vitamin C if you want to supplement that if you might, you know think that you're not getting enough through your diet then making sure you're having around 500 500 milligrams per day up to 1500 to 1000 Depending on your immune strength. Okay, you will understand your immune strength if you're constantly getting colds throughout the winter months then you probably want to be having up to 1000 milligrams per day if you're sort of rarely get a cold then you know anywhere between 250 milligrams to 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day if you get a cold then you can up that to 1000 to 3000 milligrams per day okay if you're not sure then consult a clinical nutritionist and the host Anthony Hartcher Is your man they're healthy man. So certainly come and see me if you want some further guidance around the supplementation side of things. What else can help help you beyond vitamin C and vitamin D is zinc ik zinc so where do you find zinc you find zinc in nuts, seeds, whole grains. Zinc is in meat. Okay, so meat nuts, seeds, whole grains. Legumes contain zinc, okay, so make sure you're having good amounts of those protein sources. So zinc is bound to protein so making sure you're having those those various protein sources to get your zinc. So in terms of zinc and around supplementation if you're not eating much protein, which I said issue you do you need it's the building block of life you need to be eating protein. But if you're worried about the amount of protein there may be have a protein shake, have a protein shake each day that will up your protein. Also, if you want to supplement you're looking at 25 milligrams to 50 milligrams per day. 50 is on the higher side. That more sort of maintenance side is around anywhere between 15 and 25 milligrams per day. If you're not sure, see a clinical nutritionist, okay? Yes, they're probably the main vitamins, minerals and macro nutrients that really helped around immune health. Ideally, get it from food and supplement where necessary beyond that, and if you're needing further support around a particular immune health issue or concern, then certainly reach out to me I'd be happy to help you out happy to serve you and help you along your health journey in a personalized way. So please reach out to Anthony@meandmywellness.com.au and I'll be here to serve you and your immune health needs. And please share your insights as to what you'd like to learn about more in the me&my health up podcast also email me your thoughts, your feedback, what you're liking what you're not liking any particular guests you'd like me to get on the show, or any particular topics you'd like talked about discussed on the show. Please give me feedback. Feedback is the breakfast of champions and I'm seeking feedback and hope you really enjoyed today's episode, please like and share it with others get it out to as many people as possible. My mission is to enhance and enlighten the well being of others. And this is one of the mediums I use to do that and I want to get to many people and help as many people as I can. So please share this episode with others or other episodes that you find that would be of interest to your family or friends please share them with them and have a great rest of your day, evening week, season and year and until the next episode, which will be next week. Take care and living good health I found outPodcast Disclaimer:
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