6 Natural Ways To Boost Your Immunity
A strong immune system means that your body will be better prepared to fend off looming viruses, pathogens, bacteria and parasites.
A healthy body is dependent on a strong immune system and there are plenty of natural ways you can support it.
First and foremost – before we address what you should be doing – here are some generic things you should be avoiding:
- Destructive diet and lifestyle habits e.g. processed, refined and fatty foods and a lack of exercise;
- Toxic medications and synthetic supplements which create chaos and side-effects in the body. Instead, choose only natural products to support your health and wellbeing;
- Excess stress and anxiety by limiting your exposure to toxic environments and by embracing restorative mental and emotional practices like deep breathing, yoga, earthing etc.
Use the above as a base foundation, then step things up with these 6 natural ways to support your body in building and maintaining a strong immune system:
1. Gut Health
The gut is scientifically regarded as the '2nd brain' because of the billions of neurons inside which are instrumental to key bodily functions.
Also, inside your gut are millions of colonies of bacteria, good and bad. If the good bacteria outweigh the bad, your immune system will perform optimally.
But if the bad guys take over, your immune system will weaken, making fending off infections more difficult, as well as restoring your body to homeostasis (balance).
Just about any type of chronic inflammation, autoimmune dysfunction, or viral overwhelm can be traced back to poor gut health and microbiome.
So, what can you do to support a healthy gut?
- Fermented foods - include these in your diet because they contain natural probiotics which support the production of good bacteria e.g. sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, organic yogurt, olives, pickles and kombucha;
- Eat Vegetables - these contain PRE-biotics, which feed the healthy bacteria inside your gut that are created from the PRObiotics;
- More Raw Plants - add more fresh fruits and juices to your diet early in the day to support your body's natural digestive/detox cycle. Later in the day be sure to add raw greens or salads which add crucial water content and fibre to your diet to support the movement of denser foods quickly through your digestive system;
- Fast or Colon Cleanse - Periodically and especially before flu season, you should do a natural colon cleanse and/or fast on fresh juices for a few days to give your digestive system a chance to heal and reset. Remember, a clean well functioning digestive system goes hand in hand with a healthy gut, which in turn is your best defence against foreign invaders and pathogens.
2. Antimicrobial foods
Your immune system stands on the front line when threats of illness are in play, and one of the best things that you can do to support it, is by loading up on the nourishing, whole foods that contain powerful immune-boosting properties.
These foods include:
- Citrus Fruits – Packed full of Vitamin C which is a natural anti-inflammatory nutrient, fruits such as Grapefruit, lemons and oranges are essential for maintaining and improving your body’s defences. Eat 1-2 of these or their juices each day, particularly in times of seasonal threats;
- Garlic – Widely recognised as one of mother nature's most potent natural "antibiotic foods", Garlic is a holy grail food that you should include regularly in your cooking to support strong immunity. Also, Garlic is known for its ability to protect cardiac health, lower blood pressure and reduce infection and viral overwhelm;
- Oregano – Used for centuries in traditional health practices for its ability to cleanse and support the immune system, Oregano contains antioxidant properties that fend off threats of infection and promotes a healthy respiratory system. Include this fresh herb in cooking sauces and soups and/or use Oregano essential oil in your cooking, applied topically to your chest or diffuse it in rooms to purify the air;
- Raw Honey – Raw Honey is one of mother nature's most potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral nutrients. Honey also helps to suppress throat irritations and coughs and inhibit the production of harmful mucous. Add raw honey to fresh fruits, raw nuts, to hot water and lemon juice as a soothing decongestant drink, or simply swallow a teaspoon full with breakfast each day.
For more of the top immunity boosting foods: Immune System: Top Immunity Boosting Foods.
3. Break A Sweat
You don't need to run a marathon, but it is important that you break a light sweat often to support the release of toxins via the skin - one of the key channels of elimination in your body.
The process of sweating helps your skin filter out the toxins from our body. Fewer toxins means a stronger immune system.
We've all heard the term you can starve or 'sweat out a cold or flu', which is actually a truest truth!
- Move your body – Walk briskly first thing in the morning for 30-45 minutes to the point where you break a light sweat. To step things up a notch, choose a low impact exercise to not only boost your mood, but also your metabolism and your body's natural immune response e.g. hot yoga, pilates, swimming, hiking, cycling, circuit training etc.
- Infrared Sauna – The heat that is generated from infrared saunas effectively helps your body systems at a cellular level by boosting white blood cells. What does that mean, you ask? White blood cells make up a component of your blood which also act as the driving force for your immune system when defence is needed. Fewer white blood cells means a weaker defence against any and all threats of illness. Many areas have local clinics and recovery centres who specialise in infra-red sauna sessions. Different to a regular sauna because it gradually heats the body from the inside out to do it's detoxification mastery, you'll find you can sit in an infra red sauna for a 45 min - 1 hour session without too much trouble;
4. Quality Sleep
Even the best diet in the world won’t be able to counteract the effects of irregular or poor sleep patterns.
A regularly disrupted sleep/wake cycle causes the activation of an inflammatory immune response in your body, which will leave you feeling constantly irritated and susceptible to illness, anxiety, obesity and more.
Sleep is essential for the body’s detox and protection processes, since it allows the brain to reorganise itself, purge what it doesn’t need, and remove toxins that have built up over the day.
Your body is meant to get 8 hours rest per day, so aim for this each night wherever possible.
For information, and for tips on how to improve your sleep: Best Natural Ways To Promote Deeper Sleep & Improve Its Quality.
5. Breathe Fresh Air
Clean, moving air is absolutely vital for a healthy immune system.
When you over expose yourself to stale, stagnant air e.g. airplanes, offices, factories, hotel rooms etc, you suppress the flow of healthy oxygen into your cells and your body's immune system.
Electrified, moving air contains negative ions that purify the surrounding environment by attracting the positively charged airborne threats.
Not to mention the emotional benefits, in that exposure to fresh clean air helps to release happy endorphins and suppress anxiety and stress.
At home, ensure that your windows and doors are open to allow the air to flow and/or use a ceiling or box fan to electrify the air where you reside and sleep. If you're locked in an office all day, get outside in your breaks for a few minutes to clear your airways and reset. It's also a great habit to use a diffuser in your home, next to your bed and in your workplace with a few drops of essential oils like Easy Air, Tea Tree or Eucalyptus to support healthy respiratory function and to help repel airborne pathogens.
6. Get Sunshine
The sun has been the very source of life on earth forever, yet agenda-based fear campaigns (designed to sell chemical sunscreen) have told us to avoid the sun.
We need the sun for Vitamin D, which is an extremely important factor in your body’s ability to build up the immune system.
When you have a robust level of Vitamin D flowing through your blood stream, your body is better equipped to survey the rest of your cells. Hence adversely, when your body is deficient is Vitamin D you are more susceptible to infection and auto-immune disease.
Regular sun exposure is the easiest and quickest way to up your Vitamin intake, so take a step outside and bask in the sunlight. Be sensible - there's no need to over do it and burn. Start with 30-45 minutes in the early part of the day and work your way up. Your skin develops a natural resistance over time, particularly if you're avoiding toxic cosmetics, personal care products and petroleum-based suncreams.
Follow these steps, eat plenty of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season and expose as much of your body in all its glory to the sun for short periods of time, and you'll have a big effect on your body's immune system and it's powers to fight off infections and viruses.
Tolman Self Care.