Your immune system is the key framework within your body that enables you to ward off infection, sickness and disease.
The stronger and more robust your immune system is, the less susceptible you will be to discomfort and illness over the short and long term.
However, the problem today, is that too many people do very little to strengthen their immune system. Instead, they go through life "hoping" that over time, their body will stand up and take care of them, no matter what they do in terms of their diet and lifestyle.
Taking care of your immune system is vital if you want to lead a healthy, happy life and avoid chronic dis-ease.
For this reason, it's important to be very conscious of the daily habits that can boost your body's defences.
Here, we reveal five simple practices that can go a long way to naturally strengthening and fortifying your immune system when you follow them consistently.
1. Eat A Whole Food Based Diet
Your immune system needs nourishment to thrive.
And the most nourishing foods are those that are close to nature's table, that have not been processed or refined.
A whole food based diet means that the broad "foundations" of what you eat, should consist of a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, sourced locally and in season.
With the bulk of your diet being dedicated to whole foods, your body receives the micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals and enzymes), macro nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein) and fibres, it needs to perform it's vital functions and to support a healthy immune system.
Of course, this does not mean you can't eat a variety of other foods. However, when you embrace a plant based whole food diet as a foundational principle, you'll go a long way to giving your body what it needs to maintain great health and to avoid dis-ease.
Keep in mind that the strength of your immune system is largely dependent on a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy gut relies on the diversity and balance of good bacteria that are predominately sourced from fermented foods.
Try to incorporate into your diet some type of fermented food at least 2-3 times per week to help fortify your immune system. Easy to source fermented foods include:
- Organic Yogurt and Cheese
2. Get Plenty of Sunshine
Too many people avoid the sunshine because they think it will cause them skin cancer, but the truth is that sunshine is actually very healing and vital to the strength of your immune system.
Not only that, sunshine is one of nature’s greatest gifts and it literally makes you feel happier because of the impact it has on your brain and emotions.
In terms of fortifying your immune system, sunshine cannot be ignored.
It is the most potent source of vitamin D that your liver relies on to support healthy body function and it is a crucial component of building strong immunity.
Your body needs a moderate amount of responsible exposure to sunlight, without the harmful effects of chemical sunscreen, to receive the immune-boosting benefits.
There are many ways you can get your daily dose of sunshine, including exercising outdoors, early morning sun-gazing or meditation on the beach, walking in the park, or enjoying your lunch break outside.
Try to expose as much of your body as possible to natural morning sunlight for a short amount of time to get the most benefit.
The other advantage of spending a little time out in the sun each day, is that you'll receive clean, fresh air into your lungs, which also does wonders for supporting a healthy immune system.
3. Get Daily Exercise
Exercise should be a part of your daily routine for all of its physical, mental and emotional wellness benefits.
How often you move your body, has a big impact on the strength of your immune system and your ability to fight off sickness and dis-ease.
Quality movement, such as a 45 minute brisk walk first thing in the morning, cycling, swimming, pilates, yoga or circuit training, all help to get the blood moving and to allow your body to filter out toxins, which is so vital for strong immunity.
Keep in mind, that daily exercise doesn't mean you have to run a marathon or go crazy in the gym. However, it does mean choosing a level you can stay consistent with and valuing your body enough to move it with purpose and intention, every single day.
Learn more in Top Low-Impact Exercise for Health & Wellness.
4. Take Advantage of Essential Oils
Essential oils can be a great self care addition to your day-to-day life because of their versatility and natural health benefits.
Extracted from plants, pure essential oils can help calm the nervous system, soothe body pain and boost immunity, because of their amazing antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Essential oils are a wonderful natural alternative to synthetic medicines that can actually weaken your immune system if relied on regularly.
Five of the best essential oils to use every day to support immunity include:
- Eucalyptus - For aromatic use, eucalyptus can clear sinuses, decongest, stimulate the immune system and ward off airborne bacteria and viruses
- Frankincense - a well known healing oil with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers, frankincense is the undisputed king of oils. Use it topical, aromatic and internal applications
- Lemon - for aromatic and internal use, lemon is a cleansing, antiseptic, antibacterial oil that helps repel germs, congestion and viruses
- Lavender - one of the most widely used essential oils, lavender is a topical use and aromatic oil that can help calm and relieve stress, as well as fortify the immune system by reducing free radicals due to its rich antioxidant content
- Tea Tree - known for its antimicrobial properties, tea tree is one of the most relied upon essential oils for immunity support. For topical and aromatic use only.
Keep at least 1 or 2 of these essential oils handy on the kitchen bench, bathroom or in your natural medicine cabinet at home and get used to using them every day.
Not only will they help fortify your immune system, but also assist to ease stress, reduce body pain and support better sleep.
When selecting essential oils, it's important to know that you get what you pay for and quality matters. For this reason, we recommend and use only dōTERRA essential oils, which you'll find here in our store at tolmanselcare.com
5. Get Enough Sleep
Speaking of sleep, this is absolutely key when it comes to fortifying your immune system.
If you’re trying to survive on only 4-5 hours of sleep per night, your body won't get the rest and recovery it needs and it will eventually break down.
Irregular or poor sleep is your biggest enemy when it comes to your overall health and wellbeing.
A regular lack of sleep can lead to an increased susceptibility to sickness, as well as anxiety, depression and even weight gain.
Poor sleep patterns can be one of the hardest habits to change, but it's one of the most important.
If you want your body to function at its best physically, mentally and emotionally, it's absolutely vital that you get enough sleep.
If you struggle to get 6-8 quality hours of sleep at night, the best place to start is to spotlight your pre-bedtime routine. Be sure to disconnect from electronic devices at 30 minutes before bedtime as blue light can inhibit the release of the natural sleep chemical, melatonin.
Also, avoid eating at least 1 hour before bed. Be sure to close down your bed room so that light is limited. Eliminate noise and if you need help getting to sleep, place 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow, temples and/or soles of your feet. You can also diffuse lavender next to your bed.
Sleep is absolutely essential for your body to protect itself, reset, and restore. Getting 8 hours a night is so important for your health and immune system, and it’s one of the best overall changes you can make in your day-to-day life.
Learn more in our blog, Natural Ways to Promote Deeper Sleep
Additional Self Care Tips
Other regular self care practices you should consider, that can help strengthen and fortify your immune system include:
- Infra-red and traditional rock saunas
- Earthing - bare foot walking on the beach
- Soaking in hot salt baths
- Deep breathing and meditation
The Main Takeaway
Maintaining a strong immune system is one of the most important aspects for experiencing great healthy, vitality and longevity.
The good news is, you can play a significant role in strengthening your immunity, by embracing the 7 principles of health (Air, Water, Sunshine, Walking, Whole foods, Non-Toxic Relationships and Passion) as a key foundation.
And then by adding some of the tips and suggestions offered here that can really help to fortify your immune system and boost your resistance to discomfort, sickness and dis-ease.
Tolman Self Care.