Libby Limon on learnings from a pandemic
5th November 2020 / Health
Libby Limon on learnings from a pandemic
No doubt 2020 has been a challenging year for us all. The covid-19 pandemic was not something we were either expecting or prepared for, and we are not out of the woods yet. From a wellbeing perspective, it has shone a light on how important personal health is, and that prevention is far superior than cure. Whilst science and medicine work in overdrive to find us a vaccine and treatments, it is clear from all research, that apart from age, it’s an individual’s personal health status that is the major factor in combating the disease.
As we head into autumn, with more interactions in schools, transport and offices, we are already seeing cases rise. The severity of how the virus expresses itself is down to your body’s immunity and the level of inflammation. Supporting these via our diet and lifestyle to protect against this, and other infections is within everyone’s reach. Equally, increased levels of inflammation are associated with obesity, pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are in turn the risk factors for severe expression of the virus. Even if you don’t have these conditions yet, but have a pro-inflammatory diet and lifestyle you may be increasing your health risk.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet can be simple. Including plenty of plant -based foods such as:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Herbs and spices
- Healthy fats
Set yourself a challenge to include 30 different types of these foods in a week, as research shows that this is the magic number!
The majority of messenger anti-inflammatory pathways are a balance between omega 6 vs omega 3. Omega 6 tends to drive inflammatory pathways whilst omega 3 are anti-inflammatory. To find a healthy balance include plenty of oily fish each week or if you find that challenging on the palate choose a quality omega 3 supplement, like Link Nutrition’s Omega 3 Fish Oil.
How intermittent fasting can help!
Intermittent fasting, simply taking a break overnight from eating from 13 to 16 hours, has also been shown to help the immune system and reduce inflammatory markers. This is a very simple intervention that is actually easily achievable for most people. Think about eating dinner at 6.30pm and then eating breakfast at 10am, not too difficult. This is actually a 15 hour fast. It also has the added benefit of being a useful tool in healthy weight loss.
Spotlight on Vitamin D
During the winter months, vitamin D in this country commonly deficient, but is rarely diagnosed. Back in April in the earlier stages of the pandemic, government advice via Public Health England advised the nation should all take a regular Vitamin D supplement, to support immunity in the pandemic. This advice becomes even more crucial as we head into autumn. So, if you aren’t already, now is the time to start.
Look after your gut bugs!
Lastly, your gut flora plays a major role in disease defence and how the immune system reacts. Including plenty and a variety of plant foods as mentioned above will give the microbiome the prebiotics it needs to remain healthy. Probiotic foods from yogurt to kefir, kombucha to sauerkraut, are a great daily way to support your gut flora. Taking a quality probiotic capsule with over 10bn microorganisms is also a way to keep your gut flora happy and healthy, like Link Nutrition’s Synbiotic 7.
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