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How to support expecting mothers' immune health

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How to support expecting mothers' immune health

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The way we live, is typically busy our everyday often influences us the most. And we become what we live or do everyday. Even just in our normal daily tasks, we can feel exhausted and overwhelmed by all that is required and needs our energy or focus.

Meeting our nutritional needs is hard enough when we are just looking after ourselves, and it can feel like a struggle at times, so when we are trying to meet additional immune needs, we may find more support is needed.

The everyday immune support options

There are many choices in boosting our daily immune health from herbal and nutritional ingredients to the plethora of super-food options. We now know that super-foods include the humble apple or greens like spinach and kale, even our most seemly ordinary pantry staples like red onions and carrots or pumpkin and kumara all pack a super-nutrient boost effect. From vitamin A, beta carotene and quercetin, all these type of nutrients help us with immune and an quick vitamin uplift.

How can we keep up immune health while pregnant?

Using suitable additional ingredients for immune support can help in keeping us well. Including safe and traditionally used ingredients helps us in staying well and maintain optimal health. Alongside helping support healthy energy levels and nutrition both support our inner and outer health, helping us in being well from the inside out.

Why its important to prioritise immunity while expecting?

Just like our gut which contains up to 70 percent of immune cells, so therefore affects our daily immune health and response. The human endometrium within the uterus contains an array of immune cells too, mainly Natural Killers (NK) cells. The NK cells are like our immune warriors of our immune system, they help us keep well by disposing of unwanted bugs and invaders.  

The endometrium and its immune cells, just like the gut can be impacted by the health of our inner microbiota, our uterus can too. We are typically more bacteria than cells, so essentially our entire human system and microbiome influences our whole well-being.  The immune cells are quite clever, and they can sense the presence of microbes (so our immune cells can recognise the health of our friendly bacteria or microbes that are present and then communicate with them), this ultimately impacts whether we have a healthy immune response when unwell, or in times of extra need).

So, looking after our gut and general microbe health is an optimal way to stay well and provide some additional immune support during time where your nutritional and immune needs may be heightened.  There is often communication between different body systems such as the gut and the brain, so immunity is part of that in pregnancy too and is reliant on healthy cell communication.

The top tips for immunity

There are certain aspects of your immune response that actually become more active when you’re pregnant. This is a common reason as to why you may get more ills and chills when pregnant, your immune system is working that little bit harder and can be a powerful aid during this time, but over activity can occur, making you more vulnerable in some ways to those circulating winter-time bugs.

See the below five top tips for staying well over the winter-time months while expecting:

  1. Sleep – always an essential immune boosting ingredient while we are pregnant this is even more vital in helping us in staying well. At least 8- 9 hours is the recommended sleep time needed to help boost immune recovery and restore optimal energy levels.
  2. Diet - our everyday diet helps us feel energised or flat, keeping up unprocessed fats, protein and complex carbohydrates can help here in naturally boosting us. Think olive oil, nuts and seeds, alongside moderate intake of fresh fish, for omega 3s or seaweeds for an iodine boost. Protein such as full Greek yoghurt or almonds, walnuts, tempeh or sunflower and pumpkin seeds to help satiety and an easy sprinkle on for an additional protein boost onto salads for lunchtime, dinner or breakfast or even in fruit smoothies.
  3. Hydration - an oldie recommendation but a goodie, staying hydrated helps energy and healthy blood flow. So, aiming for at least a 1 litre daily, think herbal teas, water rich vegetables like zucchini, lettuce, cumber, celery and fruits like strawberries and melons all help us in obtaining that optimal hydration point.
  4. Pregnancy supplements - In time of need, additional nutritional supplements can help us. A good multi-vitamin, or folate supplement alongside your health care professional’s advice on what you may need is an easy way to make sure you are getting enough to help support a healthy pregnancy and often is a vital need during this time.
  5. Exercise - Finding out what suits you and works well for this time is most important.  Yoga, walking and swimming are some common favourites. Exercise helps support healthy endorphin release so helps to boost mood and energy and keeps us fit both emotionally and physically. It acts a natural wellness boost for keeping us healthy and happy.

Keeping ourselves well requires some work and input, helping us from the inside out with vitality and wellness. When we nourish ourselves with the right balance of nutrition and boosted immune support, this helps us to maintain our mind and body well-being. Helping us not only with daily energy and wellness, but for long-term wellness. Setting ourselves up for total body well-being, for immune health and more.