When it comes to battling infections and inflammation, our body relies heavily on the immune system to eradicate unwanted pathogens from our systems. And that’s exactly what our body is: a system. A system only works when it operates with balance and harmony.
Boosting your immune system is not a simple matter of paying attention to and nourishing only one aspect of your body. In order to sustain a healthy immune system, all aspects of your body need to be taken care. Here are some natural ways you can give your body a little love and boost your immune system:
Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System
A Healthy Diet
All good health begins with what we eat. Food fuels our bodies. If we are putting in the right things, then all the parts work optimally to keep us healthy.
When we eat healthy foods high in vitamin C, E, beta carotene and antioxidants, we are providing our system with what it needs to boost our immune systems and protect us against infection. When we consume unnecessary foods such as sugars and carbs, we are hindering our body’s ability to produce immune system cells.
Some of the best foods for a healthy immune system include citrus fruit (high in Vitamin C), garlic (contains immune-boosting sulfurs) and spinach (provides antioxidants and beta carotene). These foods and many others increase the infection-fighting ability of the immune system.
Get Enough Sleep
Easier said than done, but it has been proven that sleep deprivation increases the risk of illness and decreases the effectiveness of the immune system.
When we sleep, our body produces cytokines – proteins that create our immune response (the targeting of infection and inflammation). Not getting enough sleep means that the body is not creating the optimal amount of this protein. The recommended length of sleep per night is 7-8 hours with 20-30 naps as the body requires them.
Research suggests deep sleep strengthens immunological memories of flu and colds. Meaning that a healthy sleep habit helps your body to recognize colds and the flu quicker. While an apple a day might keep the doctor away, quality sleep keeps sickness away. #immunesystem #health pic.twitter.com/8rUmuZntDx
— Sleep On Green (@SleepOnGreen) January 28, 2019
If you have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, try these tips:
- Reduce blue light exposure at least one hour before bedtime. This means no cell phones, television or video games – the blue light emitted from screens tricks the brain and body into believing it is daytime and therefore time to be awake.
- Avoid caffeine late in the day. That after-dinner coffee may be enough to stimulate your body and brain later in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Create an optimal bedroom environment – a dark and quiet space with a moderate or low temperature. A clean and enjoyable space makes it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Join a yoga class or go for a massage (We tried Gua Sha)
Gua Sha massage is based off East Asian medicine and is often used to treat muscle pain and tension by moving Qi (also known as chi or energy) around the body using a special tool to rub the skin. When it comes to boosting your immune system, Gua Sha massage reduces inflammation in the skin by expanding blood vessels and increasing the ratio of immune active cells.
Because the skin acts as an immunological barrier (the first surface to come into contact with bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms that can cause disease), increasing these active cells means that fewer pathogens will enter the body. Through Gua Sha massage, your skin becomes a fortified coat of armour that shields your body from infection. Pick a quiet, zen garden or indoor space to practise yoga in. Or browse online for a yoga class that matches your schedule.
We hope these immune-boosting tips came in handy! Do you know of any other useful ways to prevent getting sick? Or have an immune-boosting recipe you can recommend? Drop us a comment in the box below 💪