5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity, Naturally
How often do you think about your immune system? Chances are, you only give it a second thought when you’re feeling under the weather. But this clever inbuilt defence system is actually working hard on the daily and certainly deserves our attention.
When you’re bouncing out of bed in the morning and you’re feeling on top of the world, you probably wouldn’t even know it’s there, but once flu season kicks in, or you start to feel less than tip-top, we soon start to pay attention to our trusty immune system as we reach for a good dose of vitamin C.
Now, more than ever, we need to be taking extra care of our bodies, making sure we have the basics right and are doing all we can to protect our natural defence.
So, How Does it Work?
Designed to fight germs and diseases and protect the body from substances that can be harmful or make us ill, our immune system is like our very own personal army, trained to swoop in and flush out any nasties that can make us unwell.
Your immune system is made up of lots of different components, from your skin and mucus to your lymph system (notice how your glands raise when you’re feeling under the weather?) to your gut. In fact, over 70% of your immune cells are found in your gut!
And whilst we can’t wrap ourselves up in cotton wool and stave off every germ, bug, or harmful thing that comes our way, there are ways we can take better care of ourselves and give our immune systems a natural boost.
It may sound so simple, but ensuring that we’re getting the basics right is key to a good functioning immune system. How easy is it to push the simplest of things to the side when life gets busy?
A quick check on the basics such as ‘Are you getting enough sleep?’, ‘Are you drinking enough water?’ and ‘Are you getting enough exercise?’ is always a good place to start. Our bodies will soon tell us when we’re not!
1) Sleep Well
We said we would start with the basics, and it doesn’t get more basic than a good night’s sleep. And there is so much more to a decent sleep than just helping you feel less tired and grumpy the next day. Sleep and immunity are so interlinked, and many studies have been conducted to prove precisely this. Sleep is a billion-dollar industry for a reason!
Research shows that throughout the night, certain parts of our immune system actually fire up. So if you consistently miss out on good sleep, your immune system isn’t able to release enough of the protective proteins (cytokines) that help to fight infection. Poor sleep and lack of sleep can contribute to lowering our immune system, but a good night’s sleep can actually put a pep in it, so to speak!
So, make sure you focus on your sleep hygiene by
- Sticking to a routine.
- Keeping your room calm and cool - 18 degrees is the optimal temperature.
- Trying a herbal sleep tea.
- Relaxing with a sleep time meditation to help you drift.
2) A Gut Feeling
With over 70% of your immune cells found in your gut, it’s so important to take good care of it. We’ve all heard the term good gut health, but a healthy digestive system means a healthier immune system.
Fermented foods are a great way to ensure that your gut is getting just what it needs. Probiotics such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are packed full of the good bacteria that our tummies need to stay happy and healthy. Try and add a little fermented food into your diet daily for a good gut feeling and an immune boost.
3) Balanced Diet
It’s not always easy to make sure you’re eating the right things all the time, especially when you’re unwell. But limiting the number of processed foods you eat and ensuring you’re getting plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is key.
Our bodies are finely tuned machines, and they need the right balance of everything to maintain, well, balance. Our food should be helping to nourish us and fill us with all the vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy and to arm us in fighting off infection. Try and include things like citrus fruits, which are high in vitamin C, garlic, ginger, and even green tea, into your diet - as these are all great for helping give your immune system the boost it needs.
And, if you want to add a little more goodness into your daily diet, try one of our superblends with added vitamins and minerals.
4) Keep On Moving
From sitting at desks and computers all day to driving and watching TV, so much of our lives is pretty sedentary these days. But to make sure we have enough energy and are ready for whatever comes our way, we need to be active and to move our bodies on the daily. That doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym several times a week for a gruelling workout but walking, a little yoga, or even having a dance around the kitchen, are great ways to keep active! And, if you can, try and get moving outdoors; why not try our mindful walking exercise?
Easier said than done, but stress triggers our body’s sympathetic nervous system (our natural response to stress known as the fight or flight response), which drains us of energy and can lower our immune system. In addition, stress can work to suppress our immune system and cause inflammation in the body. So why not try adding some anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, dark chocolate, green tea, avocados, and turmeric to your diet?
And, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or a little stressed try some mindfulness exercises such as meditation, mindful walking (and getting out in nature for a double dose!), or even a soothing tea meditation to help lower your stress levels and give you a moment of calm? It’s not always easy to keep our stress levels low but finding ways to manage them that you can easily incorporate into your day will be of huge benefit to your body and mind in both the short and long term.
Our bodies are pretty clever and work hard to keep us balanced, fit, and healthy, but there are plenty of ways we can help it on its way. Keep your immune system healthy and strong by getting back to basics and giving it a natural boost.