Stretch The Science of Inner Strength As a community doctor with a specialist interest in lifestyle medicine – a specialty focussing on prevention of disease through lifestyle interventions – my advice to people pre-lockdown was to slow the pace of life right down for better health and wellbeing. By Wanderlust Journal Over the last decade, we have been witnessing how busy our lives have become. We have become products of a paced society where we have had to connect so much with the outside world that we have compromised the health of our internal systems. Lifestyle-related diseases make up 70-80% of the chronic health problems we see today. Common conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, mental health issues and even some cancers, are reversible and preventable to a significant degree. This should be an empowering realisation. When life is fast, the choices we make tend to become poorer where we start opting for quick fixes instead of investing in our long term health goals. When we trace back to the root causes of the many lifestyle-related diseases, we find that what we consume affects us on every level from a macro to a micro-cellular level impacting our immunity and weakening our inner strength to be able to fight off disease. Never has it been more important to review and protect our defence mechanisms than now and the good news is that it is simple, inexpensive and most importantly backed by scientific evidence. To ensure our immune system functions at its best, a good place to start is by reviewing stress levels and finding ways to reduce and where possible avoid stress. During the unprecedented times, this is more challenging than ever before but never has the will to strengthen our inner systems been higher. Stress weakens our immunity and makes us more susceptible to the illness so it is essential to carve out time daily to implement practices such as meditation, yoga or tai-chi as well as daily exercise. The gut microbiome, especially, thrives on a healthy, calm mind so bringing both into alignment carries significant health benefits. Diet and nutrition – Let food be thy medicine! Having a predominantly plant-based diet – including plenty of rainbow foods – supplies all the powerful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system to eliminate pathogens. Feed your gut bacteria (microbiome) which begins in the mouth. Whilst food plays an important role in this, how you maintain oral hygiene plays just as significant a role. Right from the toothpaste you use to the way you clean your mouth, the oral microbiome is diverse and its health is fundamental to the strengthening and functioning of the wider immune system. Zendium toothpaste contains natural antibacterial enzymes and proteins to boost mouth defences. It also supports the oral microbiome with its prebiotic benefit, promoting the growth of good bacteria whilst reducing the bad bacteria that could also cause dental problems. So choose your oral products wisely, ensuring that the ingredients are kind and effective in nourishing the oral microbiome which is where the key to good gut health lies. Happy microbes in the gut also require to be fed with fibre as well as foods containing live cultures such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and live yoghurts. Stay in sync with your circadian rhythm Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to the development of long-term chronic illnesses. It has a significant impact on immunity making you more susceptible to catch whatever bug is circulating. During a global pandemic, anxiety levels are high for obvious reasons which may be negatively impacting the choices you make however trying to remain in sync with your circadian rhythm and maintaining a routine will give your body the time it needs to restore itself at night. At this present moment in time, as we spend most of our time indoors and in relative isolation, it is important to use this time wisely and connect with yourself. The pace of life outside has slowed down and it is allowing us all to reflect, spend time with nature and take stock of all that matters. Health is at the core of the wellness sphere and equipping your body, with all that it requires to protect itself, is vital. — Dr Punam Krishan is a practising family doctor in Glasgow with a specialist interest in Public health, preventative and lifestyle Medicine. Also a certified mindset coach, an honorary senior clinical lecturer at the University of Glasgow, a freelance writer and most importantly, a mum. Follow Dr Krishan on Instagram, Facebook and her website. — IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ZENDIUM Zendium toothpaste protects your mouth in a kinder way and is designed to strengthen your mouth – not fight against it. Its pioneering formula contains natural antibacterial enzymes and proteins to boost your mouth’s most powerful defence system: the oral microbiome. Zendium is kind by design. Instead of using harsh chemicals, Zendium uses ingredients that have a prebiotic benefit and is free from SLS foaming agent making it suitable for even the most delicate mouths.