Strengthen your immunity and take care of yourself in the fall

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Autumn has arrived - a season that is traditionally associated with active preparation for the holidays, attending events and celebrations, and returning to the busy rhythm of work and school after the summer holidays. This year, however, we will spend a lot more time at home, with our family, avoiding public events, and in a way, this is the perfect opportunity for us to slow down from our daily rush and the endless series of events that normally accompany autumn and winter. Let's use this time to relax the mind, find new passions and hobbies with our family, and reconnect with nature, by the sea, in the garden or anywhere else, where the fresh and crisp autumn air dispels the constant flow of information from news portals, social networks and chat groups. Being out in fresh air is one of the key ingredients to strengthening your immunity and your body's ability to protect itself against various viruses. But what exactly is immunity? And how do you strengthen it without disturbing the body and its natural balance?

Immunity is a complex biological system in the body and its task is to recognize unwanted microorganisms and protect the body against them. Many organs and organ systems in our body perform tasks in this system, they are all important and play an equal role in keeping you healthy - the lymphatic system (lymph nodes), tonsils, spleen, appendix, thyroid gland, bone marrow, Peyer's patches in the intestine. "Coordinated" functioning of all these organs and systems is essential for strong immunity and together they provide many opportunities for our bodies to fight unwanted viruses. Medicine distinguishes between innate and acquired immunity, and it is up to us to strengthen acquired immunity on a daily basis and to protect ourselves.

There are many different studies on strengthening immunity – either with food or with the use of vitamins and food supplements. Physicians and nutritionists recommend relying only on scientifically recognized and validated data obtained in a methodologically appropriate manner and critically evaluating products advertised by the pharmaceutical or food industry. It is no secret that periodically a "miracle cure" appears in the public sphere, especially on social networks. These “miracle cures” often claim that they can solve all of your health and immunity problems.

By knowing how complex immunity is as a system in our body, medical experts agree that it is impossible to rapidly improve immunity and gain protection against all viruses and other pathogens with a single product or dietary supplement. The immune system’s ability to protect against unwanted pathogens depend largely on our lifestyle choices.

Nutritionist Lizete Puga emphasizes the importance of a complex approach to strengthening immunity. “A balanced diet, regular physical activity, undisturbed sleep, enough time for body and mind to rest –the basis of a strong immunity is the balance of all these factors in the body. Meals should be regular and as colorful as possible, as varied as possible, including a large number of vegetables, grains and products high in Omega 3 and Omega 9, or so-called “good fat” (avocado, quality olive oil, salmon, cashews). In the autumn season, it is important to include fermented products (a glass of kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi cabbage or kombucha drinks) at least once a day. These products are natural probiotics that improve the functioning of the intestinal tract and have a beneficial effect on the body as a whole. When choosing a probiotic to buy at the pharmacy, it is important to make sure that it does not contain acetic acid or preservatives that reduce their effect.”

Several clinical studies have confirmed that vitamins have a positive effect on our immune system as well, especially when recovering from an infectious diseases. However, before taking any vitamin supplements, you should have a blood test done to determine which vitamins, at what dose, and for how long you should use them. Without this information, there is a risk of developing hypervitaminosis, which is when your body accumulates too much of a vitamin, and can affect the liver and kidneys. Also, be aware that individual vitamins can eliminate each other's effects or are not absorbed by the body when misused.

Lizete Puga recommends "Before taking any vitamins, consult your general practitioner (family doctor) and do the necessary tests. Only a doctor can evaluate the results of the tests and apply an appropriate vitamin course. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in Latvia therefore it would be advisable to check the level of this vitamin in the body regularly, at least once a year. It should be remembered that vitamin D is also in the foods that are recommended as part of a healthy balanced daily diet; animal products, egg yolks, whole milk products, and fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, trout, eel, butter fish).”

Unhealthy, “fast food” can also impact our health, “By reviewing our daily menu, we can see how often unhealthy food choices are associated with lack of time and stress. By changing your eating habits and understanding the basic principles of a balanced diet, it is much easier to exclude wheat flour products, sugar, fast food and sweetened drinks from your daily routine. This is also part of a complex approach to strengthening the immune system - to relieve stress in your body, improve your sleep quality and general body well-being,” says Lizete Puga.

Relaxing your body and mind is an important factor in the overall strength of your immunity as well. We regularly plan our daily to-do list but often forget to schedule time just for ourselves and our well-being. Even one hour of undisturbed rest can provide additional energy and help you embrace the joy of life!

To help you relax your body and mind, ESPA Riga invites you to enjoy a peaceful swim in the pool and a rest in the sauna during the autumn season. By supplementing this rest with one of ESPA's special procedures for the face or body, you will have the opportunity to fully relax and regain emotional balance and energy. ESPA Riga has several treatments for total relaxation; we invite you to book a deeply relaxing body treatment with warm seashells and aromatic oils. We care about your health, so in November, ESPA Riga is offering a special price for this relaxing procedure, and the opportunity to receive an ESPA cosmetic kit as a gift when booking this procedure.

Article written with nutritionist Lizete Puga.