These chaotic and uncertain times act as a reminder of the many things in life we cannot control. While we may not be able to control what's going on in the world, we can control what foods we put into our bodies and the preventative measures we take to protect ourselves as well as others. We can take this time to learn how to support our immune systems, cook healthy homemade meals and make self-care a priority. The one good thing about this situation is the fact that we are being forced to slow down, to put our health first and to really see the bigger picture of what life is all about. When it comes down to it, life is about the simple things. It's about learning to be better humans and learning to love unconditionally. It's about accepting ourselves and each other as we are. It's about enjoying the simple pleasures like getting our hands soiled with dirt while digging in the garden, eating fresh food picked right off the plant or enjoying a meal made with love. It's about spending time with each other, with ourselves and with nature. Life is about singing, dancing, laughing, communicating, feeling and just being. We have to take the good with bad. Become aware of all sides, remain calm, open and let our intuition guide us.
Now more than ever, we are being forced to take our health into our own hands. Many healthcare systems are becoming overwhelmed and having to pick and choose who gets care, leaving many untreated. We cannot control what's happening out there, but we can control what we consume and the actions we take to either perpetuate our fear and anxiety or dissipate it. One thing that gives me peace of mind is knowing how to support my immune system naturally. Many factors come into play to keep our immune systems functioning at full capacity. So, here I'm discussing some simple ways to boost and support the immune system naturally.
TEN WAYS TO NATURALLY BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
1. GET PLENTY OF VITAMIN C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is essential for immune function. Vitamin C is also needed for proper adrenal function and gets depleted during times of stress. I think we all could use a little extra vitamin C right about now!
Some Vitamin C Rich foods include:
Citrus Fruits (lemon, grapefruit, orange, lime)
2. UTILIZE ANTI-VIRAL AND ANTI-BACTERIAL BOTANICALS
Many herbs and spices contain anti-microbial properties, along with immune-boosting nutrients. Cooking with herbs and spices or making botanical elixirs, teas and remedies is a great way to combat and prevent many pathogens.
Some Anti-Microbial Herbs Include:
3. LOAD UP ON NUTRIENT-DENSE & ANTIOXIDANT-RICH FOODS
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens is one of the best ways to fuel the body with antioxidants and vital nutrients that contribute to keeping the body strong and healthy.
4. EAT GUT-LOVING FOODS
When it comes to immunity, gut health is so important. About 80% of our immune systems are made up of our microbiota (the bacteria that live on the inside and outside of our bodies). Eating a variety of fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, tempeh, yogurt, etc.) is one of the best ways to ensure a healthy microbiota as these foods provide a diverse range of good bacteria.
Another no brainer. As we all know, hydrating is one of the best ways to help flush the body of many pathogens and toxins.
6. REDUCE ALCOHOL & REFINED FOODS
Refined sugars, refined grains and alcohol are all known to weaken the immune system for several hours after consumption, leaving the body more susceptible to infection. Sticking to whole foods is a great way to ensure no added sugars are sneaking their way into your diet!
7. KEEP STRESS LEVELS LOW
Stress is another way to weaken the immune system. When the body becomes stressed, cortisol is released (which prepares the body to either fight or flee), this hinders and shuts down many functions in the body, including the immune system. I know just as well as the next, it's easier said than done to reduce stress, especially in times like these. Taking long deep breaths is one the easiest and most effective ways to calm the body down. Click here, to check out a few more simple and effective ways of reducing stress.
8. KEEP MOVING
Even though we're on lockdown doesn't mean our bodies need to be. Staying active provides support to the immune system as it can also help to flush toxins and harmful bacteria out of the body. Exercise also increases circulation, which is said to increase white blood cell and antibody activity, potentially helping to prevent and detect infections. That being said, over-exercising can put too much stress on the body. Which, as we learned above, stress suppresses the immune system.
9. CATCH SOME RAYS
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for immune health, not mention getting outside (especially into nature) can help reduce stress and anxiety. Connecting with nature is a great way to feel more grounded and centred. If you're unable to get outside, and even for us folks in the northern hemisphere, it's a good idea to supplement with vitamin D3. A little Vitamin D could help boost all our moods while we're cooped up for the next little while!
10. MAKE SLEEP & REST A PRIORITY
This is probably one of the most underrated yet crucial aspects of immune health. Rest allows the body to repair itself and work on ridding toxins. Proteins called cytokines are also released during sleep, which are needed when the body is under stress and when fighting inflammation or infection. On the flip-side, when we don't get enough sleep, the amount of antibodies in the body reduces, leaving us more susceptible to infection.
Above all it’s important to remain calm and level-headed, get in tough with our intuition and higher selves to guide us through these times of uncertainty. We need to spread love, send love and be love. For that is what we are at our core. We are all in this together, even if apart. Remaining in a state of fear and panic only brings more harm and more devastation. If you can’t do anything else, show your body some love by practicing these simple immune boosting tips. The love you give to yourself and your body will send a larger ripple through humanity than you could ever imagine.
Stay healthy and remain calm, Wild Ones!